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A little less conversation: After Sex @Arcolatheatre

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According to research, millennials in rich countries are having sex less these days. But they were prepared to talk more about it. So, it is no surprise to see a story about what happens when a series of no-strings-attached encounters start to become attachments. And the conversations arising from it. Such is the premise of After Sex, Siofra Dromgoole’s two-hander of the conversations afterwards. It’s not particularly sexy or erotic, and the snappy pacing and short scenes sometimes make you wish they stayed longer to finish the conversation. Nevertheless, it is still a funny and, at times, bittersweet picture of single lives in the big city. It’s currently playing at the Arcola Theatre .  He is bi and works for her in an office job. She is neither ready for a commitment nor to let the office know what’s happening. He isn’t prepared to tell his mum there’s someone special in his life. He doesn’t speak to his dad, so his mum is his world. It’s a perfect relationship/arrangement. Or so it

Big Business: How to succeed in business without really trying @swkplay

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This revival of the Frank Loesser musical is as much about climbing the corporate ladder as it is about giving a fresh take on the absurdity of the office and gender roles.  However, there's also a firm appreciation that this is a musical comedy.  And with an energetic cast with an impeccable sense of comic timing, it's a hilarious and thought-provoking evening.  It's currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse. The show comes from a parody of a self-help business book.  The premise is that a lowly window washer becomes board chairman in a few weeks and gets the girl.  Along the way, there are stupid bosses, sexist colleagues and nepotism.  Only this time, J Pierpoint Finch is played by Gabrielle Friedman.  Depending on your perspective, Finch is either the hero or the antihero of the piece, stopping at nothing in their ambition to reach the top.  Here Finch is more sympathetic as the underappreciated service worker getting a lucky break and a chance to climb the corporate

Pig In A Poke: Betty Blue Eyes @TheUnionTheatre

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Twelve years after its West End premiere, Betty Blue Eyes seems topical. Back then, the parallels were only about a Royal Wedding, with William and Kate's marriage filling the headlines. Now a musical about conniving members of the establishment , illegal meat trades and shortages of decent food could be set in the present day. Even the Horse meat scandal would follow a few years after its closure. Now in a smaller-scale version at the Union Theatre, it's still funny and silly. And the illegal pigsty is right up close and under your nose in the smaller space of the Union Theatre .  Based on the Alan Bennet movie A Private Function, the story is set just after the Second World War when rationing and shortages meant times were tough. Gilbert and Joyce Chilvers (Sam Kipling and Amelia Atherton) move to a small Yorkshire Town and struggle to make ends meet and gain acceptance. Gilbert has to make do as a chiropodist making house calls to lonely housewives (in 1947, they were all

Racing with the clock: Tick, Tick... Boom! @BHTse20

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Watching Tick, Tick... Boom at the Bridge House Theatre , a play about young thirty-somethings in 1990 makes you realise that if they were alive today, they would be becoming sexagenarians. The passing of time and the struggles of being creative in New York are at the heart of this piece. Now it's over to a new generation to sing about about Jonathan Larson's anxieties about creativity, composition and getting older. It's made all the more bittersweet given the composer (and lead character Jon), Jonathan Larson died in 1996, six years after this piece is set. His death was also just before his show, Rent would open and become a big success. Tick, Tick... Boom!  was initially conceived as a solo work for Larson after his struggles to mount a show he was developing. After his death, it was reworked into a three-hander which is the version that we see today. While there are many musical theatre references, particularly to Sondheim, what’s interesting about the show

Little rocks: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes @TheUnionTheatre

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Two ladies looking for wealthy men to marry might seem like an unusual musical for revival in this #metoo era. But with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the Union Theatre transforms into a bubbling 1920s escapist fantasy. Amongst the froth, there are also some shrewd observations about harassment and survival in a man’s world. And with a terrific cast, exhilarating dance numbers and a fabulous set and costumes, it has to be one of the best things to see on the fringe right now. The tale of blonde gold-digger from Little Rock may be forever associated with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Walking into the Union Theatre with its red stage feels like a reminder this is the show where Marilyn performs Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend. But the musical, which dates from an earlier, more risque time has a lot more to say than the film. Unwanted advances, criminal charges and a revolutionary device that will change the face of fashion. It’s all here among some exuberant musical numbers. The

Making it grate: Strike Up The Band @GatehouseLondon

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For many people, Gershwin songs conjure up sultry jazz singers in smokey basements singing in hushed deep tones about “the man I love”. So it might come as a surprise it’s sung by a soprano in a musical about a cheese war between the United States and Switzerland. But that’s not the only thing that jars in Strike Up The Band, currently playing at Upstairs At The Gatehouse . The show is full of classic Gershwin songs such as The Man I Love and I’ve Got A Crush On You. Set to a bizarre book that’s intended to satirise the military industrial complex of the United States. But a plot featuring tariff wars, trade wars and real wars seem uncomfortably relevant today. After all we're in the era of slowbalisation , where nationalistic rhetoric and economic self-harm is the order of the day. To emphasise this point, there are some nice touches throughout the show, such as the “Make America Grate” caps enlisted to buy American cheese. So, on one hand, this revival is a stroke of genius.

Oughta be in pictures: The Biograph Girl @Finborough

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Musicals are usually about a love story. In The Biograph Girl, the love story is about the love of going to the flickers and the people who made them. The flickers were what people called the short silent movies. Before they started treating the medium as a form of art. And a source of serious money making. The show is having its first professional production in nearly forty years at the Finborough Theatre . While there’s much love for the subject, a musical covering the early years of film is a tad ambitious. Covering the stories of Lilian Gish, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith doesn’t allow much time to explore them in any detail. Or any of the peripheral characters that surround them. People come and go. Only by reading the programme notes do you get a sense of who they were. And while the musical numbers are fun, they also tend to slow down rather than advance their stories.  It’s a minimalist production too with its plain white walls, a few chairs and an electric piano. It’s a pity

Wicked men with beards: The Woman In White @charingcrossthr

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What makes The Woman In White interesting is the cast assembled for this tale about imprisonment, nasty men and poor artists. Even if this story makes no sense, it's a chance to be amazed by performers who hopefully will get to go onto bigger (and better) things. It’s having its first revival at Charing Cross Theatre . Pared back from its original production which premiered in the West End over ten years ago, here there are less effects and a bigger focus on the story. But the story doesn’t make much sense. Two young bored women Laura (Anna O'Byrne) and Marian (Carolyn Maitland) trapped in the country enlist the services of an artist, Walter (Ashley Stillburn), to help them draw. The artist sees a ghostly woman dressed in white on the way to their house. Walter falls in love with Laura. But Laura’s engaged to marry Sir Percival Glyde (Chris Peluso) as it was her father’s dying wish. Her father mustn't have liked Laura much as you just know by Sir Percival's facia