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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

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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

Chasing stars: Chasing Bono @Sohotheatre

You’re never left doubting why Neil McCormick didn’t reach the mega stardom of his mate Bono from U2 in Chasing Bono. Bad luck and an endless search for that hit sound (rather than a unique one) seemed to mark his career. But in this contrived play you never really get the sense of his talent as a writer either. It’s current playing at Soho Theatre.

The premise is that Neil (played by Niall McNamee) is kidnapped by a ganster Danny Machin (Denis Conway). Ganster Danny wants him to write some favourable stories, while being held on some remote Irish farm. While doing so he recounts in flashback his short life and how his quest for stardom led to failure.

There’s not much insight into what makes a hit band here. Instead Neil comes across as a man obsessed by fame over anything else, including writing a decent song. Which makes it a bit difficult to care about the him or the story. And afterall if failure means you’re destined to become the chief music critic for a major national newspaper, life can’t be that bad.

The best parts are when the Conway and his muscle, Plugger (Ciarán Dowd), are on stage. They’re hilarious as they sit down Neil for the flashbacks as if they’re running a therapy session. But you also get the sense that they’re superfluous to the story that’s trying to be told.

There’s many characters here in this piece, including Bono (played uncannily by Shane O’Regan). But they only serve to confuse the focus of the piece.

Still it’s nicely acted. And there’s some great live music (including U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For). Max Dorey’s set is a delight doubling for a hideout and various flashback locations.

Directed by Gordon Anderson, Chasing Bono is at the Soho Theatre 19 January


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Photos by Helen Maybanks

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