Showing posts from November, 2021

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Christmas Mysteries: A Sherlock Carol @MaryleboneTHLDN

A mash-up of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes would seem an unlikely pairing. Yet it provides a surprisingly fun Christmas-themed adventure. These two Victorian tales (albeit separated by about 40 years) provide the basis for an inspired adventure at Christmastime that just also happens to turn out to be a murder mystery as well. With lavish costumes, a few spooky set pieces and some good old-fashioned stage trickery with lights and a lot of smoke machines, it is hard to resist. It returns to the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas after a run there last year.  The premise is that after Holmes sees off the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, he is left adrift in London. People thought he was dead, and he might as well be. Disinterested in the misdeeds of other Londoners, Holmes has even given up on his friend Dr Watson. It's almost as if he has become a Scrooge. Or half a Scrooge, moping about shouting, "bah" in respon

Just giving and taking away: Charity Case @draytonarmsSW5

I've often wondered if when someone dies after undertaking some impossible feat for a charity (like running the London Marathon), the charity exclaims, "Yes! We're going to make payroll!" Well, going by Charity Case, Jeff Page's look at the sector, they might do. Nobody dies in this brief look at the charity sector, but it's a hard graft constantly looking for money to survive while providing an essential service outsourced by the government. It's currently playing at Drayton Arms Theatre for this week.  The focus here is on a fictitious charity called Number 93. Funds are down, and expenses are up. The race is on to find some emergency funding. But is it an expensive overhead with high paying charity executives draining the money, or is it impossible demands by the government to deliver essential services for vulnerable children and adults?  Ahead of a deadline to confirm funds as a going concern, there are meetings with ministers, rock stars, cold-calli

The sweet smell of progress: The Sugar House @finborough

Watching The Sugar House at the Finborough Theatre reminded me of the comment made by journalist  Evan Whitton that Sydney was the most corrupt city in the world. Except, of course, after Newark, New Jersey and Brisbane Queensland. But corrupt cops and underworld figures of the Sydney scene are only part of this epic family story that spans three generations of a working-class Sydney family. It's currently playing at the Finborough  Theatre. The story opens with Narelle (Jessica Zerlina Leafe) looking over a new conversion property on the former site of a sugar refinery in Sydney. It was near where she grew up. She's a lawyer now and could afford to buy one of these bland modern conversions. But all she can see are memories of the place where she grew up with her mother and grandparents.  What unfolds next focuses on the harsher side of the lucky country. Where jobs were precarious and poverty, poor health and crime were not too far away. The police were a force to be feared.

Short silences: Footfalls & Rockaby @JSTheatre

Going to the theatre is just one of the things we can do to pass the time by as we slowly die, so here you can make an evening of it. Two short works by Samuel Beckett make a haunting and reflective double bill at the Jermyn Street Theatre and give you enough time to have dinner after. Alone with your thoughts (and surrounded by mostly masked theatregoers), mortality, regrets and endless pondering may not be everyone’s idea of a night out at the theatre. But it’s certainly provocative.  Theatre doesn’t have to be three hours long to linger with you. The themes about age, the passing of time, and death seem apt after the last two years. The pieces stir up memories of those who have left us or who remained close to those that did. First up is Footfalls. A woman paces up and down a small stage. Her footsteps are audible at every step on the wooden platform, which is like a platform. There’s a bell that tolls too as she walks and reacts to her mother’s voice. Motherhood, religious isolati