Showing posts from February, 2021

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Bear with me: Stitches @TheHopeTheatre

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

It's a kind of magic: The Sorcerer's Apprentice @tsamusical

  The story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice is updated to modern tastes in this funny and engaging new family musical. Here a father and his rebellious daughter discover their magic and save their town from a bunch of brooms while making a few observations about parenting, science and the environment.  Filmed at the Southwark Playhouse in February, it's also a reminder about what we're still missing from live theatre. While it's great to see a new show streamed online, you also have to let your imagination remind you where there would be applause and laughter from this energetic and thoughtful production. Hopefully, we will get the chance to see this show live someday.  Written by Richard Hough and Ben Morales Frost, the story takes place in a small northern town called Midgard. It's on the brink of environmental destruction due to the endless search for prosperity. Eva, played by Mary Moore (making her professional stage/streaming debut), is a school dropout. But she

Summer streams: West End Musical Drive-In #Westendmusicaldrivein

West End Musical Drive-in was an ingenious way to combat social distancing regulations over the past summer and give performers the chance to be on stage during the pandemic.  Now, if you missed the excitement and enthusiasm of the 2020 concerts, Stream Theatre is giving you a chance over the next month to re-live the experience from home. The streamed shows feel like they capture the relief, the raw energy and the occasional rain shower that made up the summer of 2020. The shows were staged at a drive-in venue off the London north circular, with various West End performers. Part show, part drive-in and part immersive experience. Car horns and headlights replace applause. Mobile phones are encouraged to live tweet and mood lighting. It’s a great concept that hopefully will extend beyond the pandemic as an alternative way to see West End performers. Layton Williams (from Everyone’s Talking About Jamie), Shan Ako (Les Miserables), Maiya Quansah Breed (Six) and Shanay Holmes (Rent) were

A matter of laughs and death: Good Grief

Another week in lockdown passes. The chances of theatres reopening anytime soon still seem remote. And so experiments with the possibilities for theatrical streams continues with Good Grief .  Theatre streams have been filmed plays, staged readings or even staged like a zoom meeting. Good Grief plays with the feeling of a staged production. Scene changes and props are moved around on camera and titles pop up on screen to set the scene.  It opens at the end of a party. It looks like it's been a big night of drinking and going on. But it turns out that it was after a wake. In between sorting out the mess from the party Cat (Sian Clifford) and Adam (Nikesh Patel) stumble around the topic of losing someone they both loved to cancer. The piece tracks Cat and Adam coming to terms with their loss, their feelings of guilt about leaving things not the way they had hoped. And they're trying to navigate the niceties and expected behaviours following a death in modern Britain. What's t

Streaming Through: Little Wars (A reading)

Is it week six or seven in this national lockdown? Lockdowns have been a chance to go on long walks through central London. It's fascinating to go through the West End and see theatres advertising shows that would have been there for a fraction of the time they’ve now been. Jennifer Saunders mugging it in Blythe Spirit comes to mind. It's as if time has stopped and it's still March 2020. But going on long walks has led to missing some online theatrical events. And so it's great to see that Little Wars has returned for another two weeks on Stream Theatre.  Set in the French Alps at the home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (her lover). They're hosting a party that also happens to be on the evening of the German invasion. It's a fantasy party that imagines the guests being Agatha Christie, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker. There's another mysterious guest who goes by the name of Mary. As the night wears on and the drink continues to flow, sparring abou