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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

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

Repurposed: Owners @JSTheatre

Laura Doddington

Caryl Churchill's Owners is an excellent example of how you can feel nostalgic for an unpleasant time in history. After all fifty years since its premiere, the property market has gone from bad to worse. And despite the seventies look and feel, it feels as if it still has something to say about property, ownership, and the transactional relationships that make up life in the country. Not to mention the relentless pursuit of Victorian terrace houses that most parts of the world wouldn't touch, it is currently playing at the Jermyn Street Theatre

The revival brings out the oddities of the piece. The freewheeling sexual politics and the changing legal environment allowing property to be bought and sold with less regulation seem like they are from a different time and place. And they are. It's almost as if we need a history lesson to understand the time and place. The programme notes that market rates for tenancies were only allowed in 1989. Since then, we have been through boom and bust cycles and new trends, such as the rise of property as an investment. Something to keep dark most of the year and only to park your money. Or launder it. 

Mark Huckett, Laura Doddington & Tom Morley

The premise opens with Clegg, the butcher (Mark Huckett), shutting his butcher shop. The neighbourhood isn't what it used to be, with people preferring to go to the nearby supermarket. But things aren't too dire for him. His wife, Marion (Laura Doddington), has a thriving business of buying up properties. She is good at it, too. With her assistant and part-time lover Worsely (Tom Morley), he makes deals to clear out tenants and take over the property. However, one property she has her eyes on is the one rented by a former lover, Alec (Ryan Donaldson) and his heavily pregnant wife, Lisa (Boadicea Ricketts). 

While the arguments and the characterisations are sometimes bizarre, if you succumb to the wackiness of the piece and go along for the ride, it's still a provocative and entertaining night of theatre, especially with the performances of the ensemble and the fabulously economical set design of doors of drab English homes by Cat Fuller. The smaller space of Jermyn Street may mean that the ambition and scale of the piece are difficult to appreciate. Still, instead, we have a detailed and evocative recreation of a time and place that seems almost palatable. And a series of observations about the random transactional nature of life in London.

Stella Powell-Jones directs Caryl Churchill's Owners at Jermyn Street Theatre until 11 November.

Boadicea Ricketts and Ryan Donaldson


Photos by Steve Gregson

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