Featured Post

Christmas Mysteries: A Sherlock Carol @MaryleboneTHLDN

A mash-up of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes would seem an unlikely pairing. Yet it provides a surprisingly fun Christmas-themed adventure. These two Victorian tales (albeit separated by about 40 years) provide the basis for an inspired adventure at Christmastime that just also happens to turn out to be a murder mystery as well. With lavish costumes, a few spooky set pieces and some good old-fashioned stage trickery with lights and a lot of smoke machines, it is hard to resist. It returns to the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas after a run there last year.  The premise is that after Holmes sees off the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, he is left adrift in London. People thought he was dead, and he might as well be. Disinterested in the misdeeds of other Londoners, Holmes has even given up on his friend Dr Watson. It's almost as if he has become a Scrooge. Or half a Scrooge, moping about shouting, "bah" in respon

Dangerous liaisons: The Wasp

The Wasp is the perfect antidote to all that Christmas cheer. A tense, psychological thriller with a story that keeps you guessing where it is going to head to next.

It is playing downstairs at the Trafalgar Studios for those who dare to see it.

Written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, the story is about two women who were once school friends, but drifted apart. For good reason. Twenty years on Carla is living hand to mouth, raising four children with a fifth on its way. Heather has a successful career, a husband and a beautiful home. Heather has got in touch with Carla through social media, and with a wad of cash asks her to kill her husband.

And there begins the tale of schoolyard bullying, betrayal and revenge. What is fascinating about the piece is how your sympathies shift as each new piece of information is revealed. Humour also helps to release the tension.

The production gives subtle clues about where things are heading. At one point I found myself thinking that knife is way too big to be just cutting that madeira cake…

The performances by the two leads also add a touch of credibility (and a lot of class) to this piece. MyAnna Burning is Carla. She is a rough, chain smoking pregnant woman with a brutal past. Burning delivers a sympathetic performance of a woman who seems to have moved on from her darker days.

Laura Donnelly is Heather. She is the cold and unfeeling woman, bullied at school to the point of cruelty and delivers a mesmerising portrayal of  a person trapped in the past.

To give anything further away would be cruel. The intimate space of Trafalgar Studios downstairs, the subject matter, and an awful lot of chain smoking (this piece along with Hangmen must hold the current record for the most amount of onstage smoking), adds to the tension.

Social media also plays a key part in the story. As a tool to to stalk former classmates online, it may make you want to check just who you are friends with online when you get home from the theatre. Just in case…

The Wasp is playing at Trafalgar Studios through to 16 January. The production is part of the Hampstead Theatre at the Trafalgar Studios alongside Four Minutes Twelve Seconds by James Fritz. Don’t miss it.


Photo credits: Production photos by Ikin Yum

Popular posts from this blog

Opera and full frontal nudity: Rigoletto

Fantasies: Afterglow @Swkplay

Play ball: Damn Yankees @LandorTheatre