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Travelin' Through: Broken Toys @CervantesTheatr

Things are a bit different at the Cervantes Theatre when you see Broken Toys. You enter through the upstairs dressing rooms and go down to the theatre. It is a circuitous route, much like the story of Marion. You end up in the same place but have taken a different journey. And like what the old prostitute said. It's not the work but the stairs. And there before you is the theatre, but not entirely as I recall it. It feels like an intimate cabaret venue with tables and a shiny stage. And there we are introduced to Marion. Marion grew up in a small town during the Franco regime. A place where looking a bit different could make you the subject of gossip and a threat to your life. And despite being assigned male at birth and the attempts of family and father figures, she was an outsider in her town.  And so Marion sets off on a journey to the city. And in the shadows, she finds a place to hide. But with guidance from drag performer Dorian Delacroix begins to find her voice. Her journe

1975 and all that: Kieran Hodgson’s ‘75 @Sohotheatre

Actor, comedian, storyteller Kieran Hodgson has picked a topic for his latest show that should serve him well for the rest of his life. '75 at the Soho Theatre covers Britain’s on-again off-again affair with the European Union. You’re left without a doubt that since Britain has been arguing over the past fifty years about its place in Europe. It’s fairly likely that we’re going to continue to argue about it for the next fifty years. It’s not so much that leave means leave but that leave means nothing of any consequence. It’s either an enduring relationship or one to be endured.

This is not a rehash of the Brexit referendum. Even the chaos in parliament following last week’s votes gets little mention. But it doesn’t have to. Hodgson has his eye on the history books. How we got into Europe and how a referendum in 1975 was the way for a divided Labour Party to settle the issue. The referendum of 2016 wasn’t just history repeating itself. But it was a poor cover for the original with fake news and electoral fraud substituted for genuine argument. 

Using his leave-voting mother as the backdrop for exploring Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe, he explores the early arguments for joining Europe. Retracing Britain’s emergence from war rations to sexual liberation and Twiggy in the sixties. Then to economic stagnation in the seventies. Hodgson explains the towering figures of the time. In his own way. Charles De Gaulle becomes Ru Paul. Enoch Powell and Tony Benn are all given equal time. But it’s clear his fascination with two men and their role in bringing the UK closer to Europe: Edward Heath and Roy Jenkins. 

It’s funny and some of his impressions are uncanny. But it’s also a great story told by a great storyteller. And it’s at the Soho Theatre downstairs until 2 February for now.


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