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Showing posts from November, 2020

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Bear with me: Stitches @TheHopeTheatre

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What if your teddy bear could talk? My ten-year-old self would think that to be excellent. My more recent self would think it was a high-concept buddy movie with Mark Wahlberg. But in Stictches, Jonathan Blakeley's monologue, which he has written and performed, traces the life of his beloved Chloe, from when she was first given to him by her grandmother, wrapped with a red ribbon. It becomes a story not just about a cute bear (or maybe that should be rough, shaggy-looking bear given the performer’s appearance) observing life but an exploration of life and all of its stages. It's currently playing at the Hope Theatre .  The bear is not warm and fuzzy; he is a bit of a character and tough-talking, but also a bit anxious about being accepted and then discarded as nothing. But he is there to bear witness as she navigates the complicated facets of growing up and having a life. Ultimately, the bear has to deal with being consigned to a box with her other memories until circumstances

Come inside and take a seat: Unfamiliar at home

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Continuing the online theatrical experiences is Unfamiliar at Home . Streamed online using the all-too-familiar office video conferencing facilities of Zoom, it brings to life the trials of domestic life, being queer and the desire for a family. It's part performance, mixed media and office meeting. But it captures the ordinary and extraordinary lives of creative people living in improvised and unexpected domestic arrangements. The piece introduces us to Victor and Yorgos. They want to have children. Or at least that's what they think. But past run-ins with parents, the economic uncertainty of being artists and the struggle of finding a surrogate are barriers. And there's plenty of unsolicited advice about what makes a family and how to become queer parents. I was surprised none of the advice was about making childproof their home, but maybe nobody had seen their overstuffed bookcases until now. The story is autobiographical and at times intimate as it goes into the detail

Manhunt: In Search of a White Identity @TheActorsCentre

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After a summer of protests and counter-protests, In Search of a White Identity looks at what happens next. Patrick and Mickey are in a cell. Both were arrested at the same protest but from opposite sides. Mickey and his like-minded people have a beef with immigrants who have out-priced him at work or on the property ladder. So he hit some guy. And Patrick’s been arrested for threatening behaviour after getting caught up with a group who were trying to take down statues.  While sizing each other up, they realise they’d grown up in the same neighbourhood. Back then, everyone got on. Or so it seemed. Nostalgia gives way to darker, harsher memories of abuse, fear and poverty. And the search for a single cause of their grievances finds that it is the conversation rather than the rhetoric that  makes all the difference. Initially presented in 2019, it has been reimagined after the events of 2020. After all, there was a time over the summer that Saturday afternoon around Trafalgar Square was

Goodbye to London: Falling Stars @Gingerqmedia @TheUnionTheatre @stream_theatre

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A lost songbook in an antique shop on East Finchley High Road in London could be a metaphor for a lost London. Peter Polycarpou’s discovery of a songbook full of songs from the 1920s is the basis of a song cycle that pays homage to the composers and creators of some of the most memorable and influential songs of the time. But they also capture the escapist mood sought during a different time and place.  Watching  Falling Stars online  at the end of 2020 during a second lockdown feels like reminiscing over a lost London and what it was like before March when you could pop out for an evening at a small theatre and get lost in some terrific storytelling or music-making. It’s a part education of the early twentieth-century songbook, and part entertainment as Peter Polycarpou and Sally Ann Triplett interpret the songs and music of Chaplin, Irving Berlin, Buddy De-Silva, Arthur Freed and Meredith Wilson. The songs about better days, loss and reflection hark back to a different time and p

Missing live theatre or The Death of England: Delroy

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Seeing the first instalment of Death of England at the National Theatre by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams seems like a lifetime ago. But it was only February. There in the smaller Dorfman Theatre 450 of use crammed into the intimate space to watch a piece about identity, race and class in Britain. Fast forward nine months of the pandemic, with lockdowns, excess deaths, Black Lives Matter, and "clapping for carers" we're back at the National. But this time around it's a black man who is talking about identity, race and class. And this time everyone is sitting apart wearing masks.  Even watching in the socially distanced space of the Olivier, it did not diminish the power of what the show has to say. The Olivier has been reconfigured to a theatre in the round seating up to 500. But with signs throughout the theatre reminding everyone to keep their “social-racial-distance”, you were never far away from being reminded that all is not well either in the state of the theatre