Featured Post

Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

Life upon the wicked stage: The Wild Party @theotherpalace

The St James Theatre gets a new name and a hot new show that never lets up with The Wild Party. They dance, they sing, they party as if it were 1928.

Based on a notorious poem by Joseph Moncure March, Michael John LaChiusa with George C. Woolfe turn it into a sung through musical vaudeville.  Kander and Ebb did something similar with Chicago, but it always felt tongue in cheek. Here it's as if the tongue is planted in some other filthier crevice. It's darker. And dirtier. And sometimes horrific.

Set over the course of a party hosted by two vaudville performers, it revels in sex and sleaze among their show-biz friends. People arrive. They drink. They do drugs. They fight. They have sex.

And with director choreographer Drew McOnie's dance and movement, the piece feels provocative, relentless and breathtaking. Perhaps it isn't a party to suit all tastes. But its frenzied pace, complex score and terrific lineup of talent make it hard to ignore, even if you feel like you need to shower after seeing it.

Frances Ruffelle is intriguing as the tired and vulnerable Queenie, who likes her men to give her a hard time. Opposite her is John Owen Jones as her violent partner Burrs. At first he seems an odd choice to play Burrs. Too likeable and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Ed Balls. But over the course of the evening Jones twists the role into something quite demented.

The format of the show gives the large cast plenty of time to fill out their characters. This includes Kate the star, played by Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, looking creepily gothic and offering up her gigolo partner to Queenie. The Lesbian stripper Madeline (Tiffany Graves) and her ambivalent performance artist girlfriend. And veteran performer Delores (Donna McKechnie) using her seemingly well-worn powers of seduction to stay in business.

Newcomers Gloria Obianyo and Genesis Lynea playing the androgynous D’armano Broswho are mesmerising as the double act that comment on the action. And then get corrupted by it.

The piece, which was a Broadway flop in 2000 is not without its flaws. It helps to understand the prohibition and vaudeville era as there is much assumed knowledge in presenting this cavalcade of characters. The complexity of the music at times drowns out the singers and the lyrics. And often the piece lacks subtlety. But it is an explosive start to a new series of rarely seen shows and new works that will be coming to the Other Palace.

Directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, The Wild Party is at The Other Palace until 1 April.


Popular posts from this blog

Opera and full frontal nudity: Rigoletto

Fantasies: Afterglow @Swkplay

Play ball: Damn Yankees @LandorTheatre