Theatre, Issue 638

67 articles

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Stuck in a rut

17 Sep 20092 stars

Utter nonsense

For many of those students graduating in the centre of recession, the prospect of unemployment and mountains of debt to repay is a very real and current problem. This show is very loosely based on the dire situation much of the class of '09 are facing…

Russell Kane: ‘Fakespeare: The Tragicall Saveings of King Nigel’

27 Aug 20094 stars

More bard theory than he's letting on?

Russell Kane’s second ‘Fakespeare’ play tells the story of Nigel, a vile Essex banker torn between his fat orange wife – ‘the Gorgon’ – and his ‘semi-chav’ secretary, Donna. Nigel also has to choose between suicide and the nefarious investment in Sudan…

Moscow State Circus

27 Aug 20092 stars

Backbends aplenty; smiles and spontaneity in short supply

The Moscow State Circus is full of extremely talented performers. High above the audience, Alexander Doktorov stands on his head, his hands and legs spread wide into the open air. Lots of people can do headstands, but I haven’t seen many executed on a…

The Bone House

27 Aug 20094 stars

No sleep tonight

The cult celebrity of serial killers and the average person’s ability to become one is the subject of this new horror play by Marty Chan that questions our fascination with the macabre. Beginning as an informal lecture by self professed ‘Mind Hunter…

Chess in Concert

27 Aug 2009

Video footage of the Abba/Tim Rice musical

Filmed performance of the blokes from Abba and Tim Rice’s musical about the sex lives of chess players. (It’s actually slightly more complicated than that, but who cares really?) Filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008 with a full orchestra and chorus…

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I'll Be Bert

27 Aug 20093 stars

Funny and touching one man show

Hero worship and unwavering loyalty are faithfully remembered in this funny and touching one man show by Bill Cronshaw. Charting his lifelong devotion to Manchester City FC, this piece recalls life in 50s Manchester by focusing on Cronshaw’s childhood…

Crave

27 Aug 20093 stars

Raw and powerful from the very beginning

Royal Holloway Theatre’s restaging of Sarah Kane’s penultimate play explores four characters disillusioned with life due to excess, abuse and loneliness. Raw and powerful from the very beginning, Kane’s fluid, poetic script dominates a piece that makes…

Micaela Leon: Kabarett Berlin

26 Aug 20092 stars

An underwhelming tribute to eight 'Weimar Girls'

As Micaela Leon takes you through her top eight ‘Weimar Girls’, you get a real feel for her respect for these women – it’s just unfortunate that her tribute is an underwhelming substitute for the real thing, and her telling of their stories comes across…

A Promised Land

26 Aug 20093 stars

Weighty dramatisation of post-Holocaust Europe

Thought provoking by virtue of its subject matter (post-Holocaust Europe, the early days of the Israel-Palestine conflict), this play is weighty and worthy. Despite much originality and skilful performances from Corinne Harris as two very different…

Sweeney Todd: His Life, Times and Execution!

26 Aug 20094 stars

Enjoyable, atmospheric adaptation

Lashings of fake blood, ample busts and bawdy thrusts characterise this enjoyable and suitably grotesque adaptation. The twist here is that the killings are largely accidental, the killer a meek, clumsy and rather sweet boy. The puppetry is perhaps an…

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Up

26 Aug 20094 stars

Crisp and elliptical with a killer closing line

Edgy production about a young gay teacher who’s in hospital recovering (or perhaps not) from a mental collapse. There he recalls a haunting incident from his youth, involving a student and a pair of sharpened pencils. Debut playwright James Ley’s script…

The Tale of Lady Stardust

26 Aug 20093 stars

Meditation on religious extremism

Convinced that David Bowie is a prophet, Ziggy and Gary are eagerly awaiting the Rapture in their grotty flat when their bubble is pierced by the appearance of a drugged-up clubber. As a meditation on religious extremism, it has little new to say but…

The Play About Charlotte

26 Aug 20093 stars

Emotional story of mental illness told from different perscpectives

A successful young playwright struggles with a lack of inspiration in her life and marriage until her work suffers and mental illness blurs the boundaries of reality. A plot which twists back on itself to revisit scenes from a different perspective…

Tap and Chat with Lionel Blair

26 Aug 20093 stars

Does exactly what it says on the tin

This show does exactly what it says on the tin. Lionel does a little tap dancing, which given his antiquity is impressive, then goes into a series of showbiz recollections of days gone by about everyone from Brucie to Liza, adding songs and bits of film…

Milkshake Live!

26 Aug 2009

Gently lure your wee ones away from the telly … by taking them to see their favourite telly types live. The idea is to induct the little ‘uns into a love of theatre at an early age, with all-singing and dancing appearances from the loveable likes of…

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The One and the Many

26 Aug 20092 stars

Cliched and repetitive philosophical rom-com

An ill-advised trip to a massage parlour leads to the discovery of the mysterious ‘virgin whore of Prague’ in this philosophical rom-com. The concept of a successful virgin prostitute is just one of several twists in a show that attempts to question…

RE

26 Aug 20093 stars

Strong performances and an over-ambitious script

Frustrating piece about three people trapped with each other and the ghosts of their pasts. Confusion arises from a script trying to do too much in such a limited time frame, but the show is saved by beautiful staging and strong performances, which keep…

Weepie

25 Aug 20093 stars

Remarkably assured piece of theatre

For a hard-hitting portrayal of emotional violence and its shocking physical manifestations, this play is awfully funny. For an exploration of how we seek transcendence through love, religion, or acts of murder, it is rooted surprisingly firmly in the…

Third Breast

25 Aug 20091 star

Hampered by ham-fisted direction

Hampered by ham-fisted direction where outbursts of ‘dramatic’ music punctuate any significant utterance, any poetry in the lines is garbled by actors who don’t understand either their characters or the meaning of the words. This magical realist…

A Year’s Hard Labour

25 Aug 20093 stars

Sound performances make this an engaging free show

Goldsmiths Drama Society showcases a diverse array of talents in this marathon-paced play. As six jurors discuss an immigration case, their daydreams meld into reality, though slick staging ensures the audience is never confused. And, despite the…

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The Works of Fate

25 Aug 20093 stars

Makes up for its rough edges with major gusto

This bawdy and at times comical take on De Sade follows the awaited return of a prodigal son, turning, by an outrageous contrivance, into a meta-theatrical re-enactment of the sordid life of his stepmother, with much emphasis on its violence and sexual…

Forever Young

25 Aug 20093 stars

WWI through letters, diaries, poems and song

Remembering WWI through letters, diaries, poems and song there are some wonderful performances here from the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre’s young cast. While the ‘war is hell’ message may be clichéd, in these troubled times it’s truer than ever, while…

A One Way Street

25 Aug 20094 stars

Eco-friendly yummy mummies in sketch form

The preoccupations of suburban housewives are presented in four, well-observed sketches. Sarah and Lois, trapped in a larder during a kids’ party, argue the merits of ‘genuinely sustainable’ party bags. Paula and Cathy, rehearsing their pitch for a…

Words with AL Kennedy

25 Aug 20094 stars

Meanders delightfully

AL Kennedy proves herself a consummate storyteller in this sharp meditation on the power of words. A largely autobiographical look at her love affair with language, Kennedy meanders delightfully from paranoia about her recent Costa award win through her…

The Last Witch

24 Aug 20095 stars

Sensual story of power and the state

Beneath its bare story there’s something far more complex at work in Rona Munro’s new piece for the Traverse and the EIF. This re-imagining of the true, though factually sketchy, demise of Janet Horne, a Dornoch woman executed for witchcraft in 1727 and…