Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Othello - review

Written by: Woods (@Thomas_E_Woods)

Where did Woods watch it?
Jack Studio Theatre, Brockley 
Was Woods won over?

Given that most English A-Level students in the country have written about how Shakespeare’s themes are ‘timeless’ at least once, it is very welcome when a production really gets a modern adaptation so right.  Whereas so many adaptations offer two hours of convoluted and ham fisted attempts to shoehorn the most recent modern conflict into Anthony and Cleopatra, or awkwardly justify Elsinore as a police state gripped by terrorism threats, Culturcated Theatre company pulls off a stunning performance of Othello that works so well in a South East London Council estate that it almost feels like it was written for it.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Qudz - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
The Yard, London
Was Peen keen?

In an understated way that The Yard is perfectly suited to, this is one of the great 2012 theatrical productions. A mixture of live music, shadow performance and infliction of sensual material upon the audience comes together to make a truly moving production, written and directed by the Associate Artistic Director of the venue. It presents the opposition of Bush and Saddam from a perspective that a lot of London audiences will be oblivious to, making it something well worth seeing.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

55 Days - review

Written by: Stephen St Clement

Hampstead Theatre, London

Howard Brenton’s new play charting the 55 days leading up to the execution of King Charles I is a slow-burning drama that more than makes up for in intensity what it occasionally lacks in dynamism. England is undergoing seismic change, where the absolute power of the monarchy is about to be challenged like never before. As Douglas Henshall’s Oliver Cromwell explains prophetically: “We are not just trying a tyrant, we are inventing a country.”

Friday, 26 October 2012

You Can Still Make a Killing - review

Written by: Alex Hiscocks (@alexislawl)

Southwark Playhouse, London


You Can Still Make a Killing is possibly the most superbly written and relevant piece of new writing this year, with dialogue so electric and a story so gripping, that the audience’s heads snap left to right in eager anticipation of the next volley of dialogue. I’ll summarise briefly: while the subject matter is still fresh in the minds of Britain, you owe it to yourself to see this play.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The President and the Pakistani - review

Written by: Lils (@LilyKG)

Waterloo East Theatre, London

With approximately a fortnight to go, the world is currently waiting with baited breath as Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney go head-to-head in the US presidential election. But take a trip to Waterloo East Theatre before November 4th and you’ll be transported to a flat in Harlem in the early 80s; there to meet ‘Barry’ Obama, a hopeful, young graduate from Columbia University, whose dreams of presidency were not even fully realised yet.

Drowning Rock- review

Written by: Stanley Eldridge (@StanleyEldridge)

Camden People's Theatre

Camden People’s Theatre describes Drowning Rock as ‘‘The Woman in Black meets Jaws’’. I can’t help thinking of this idea being spawned from Michael Bay’s laboratory of failed Hollywood ideas. I half expected Will Smith to play the Victorian fisherman who defeats the ghostly lace doily sharks by blowing them up with a trout bomb. Munch munch, popcorn popcorn. Ambitious, eh?  

Timon of Athens - review

Written by: Stephen St Clement

National Theatre (Olivier), London

Inspired by the economic recession and last year’s London riots, this production of Timon of Athens is able to bring relevance and immediacy to one of Shakespeare’s most difficult plays.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

RENT - review

Written by: Ryan J. Brown (@freakyriddles)

Cockpit Theatre, London

Interval Productions decided they should follow up their hugely successful After the Turn, praised by The Stage newspaper as the “British equivalent to RENT”, with the challenge of developing Jonathan Larson’s brave and heartrending musical game changer.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Jack the Ripper's London - review

Written by: Dombo (@DomOJFryer)

Where's Dom gone? 
London Bridge 
Was Dom fond? 

I'm only scared of one thing: aliens. And I'm not talking new, modern, soft aliens like Optimus Prime, of Transformers fame; I'm talking traditional aliens, like the ones in signs or Star Trek (or Alien). I think its more the shape of their heads or the eyes that get me, rather than the actual concept of being from another planet. So, when I went to see Jack the Ripper's London, as depicted by Crow Theatre, I was prepared for numerous dubious attempts to frighten me by torch light. What awaited me was somewhat different to this.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut - review

Written by: Cole (@coleholland09)

The Pleasance, London

Homage is a difficult thing. It easily alienates and too often falls short of the mark, particularly with well-known source material. Scottish company Gilded Balloon has taken a great risk with their high-energy take on the film Casablanca. As the show’s programme states, it is one of the most classic films of all time. As 2012 marks the film’s 70th anniversary, it is no surprise to see the iconic story brought to the stage, and Gilded Balloon do so with a great deal of enthusiasm, though not, unfortunately, absolute success.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Scenes From An Execution - review

Written by: Stephen St Clement

National Theatre (Lyttleton), London

Howard Barker, one of our country’s most inventive and prolific playwrights, has never quite fit in. His desire to take “our audiences more seriously, and stop telling them stories they can understand” is reflected in his writing, where time, place, and people themselves are simultaneously both specific and inexplicable by conventional logic or definition. The alienating effect of his consistently anachronistic imagery and brutal language has always prevented Barker from gaining widespread national renown…until now.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Revenger's Tragedy - review

Written by: Alex Hiscocks (@alexislawl)

Hoxton Hall, London

Hoxton Hall is ideally suited for such a dark and bloody romp, but this rough-around-the-edges The Revenger’s Tragedy production failed to utilise this gift so that even its most poignant moments did not pack as much punch as you’d expect from the macabre Jacobean tragedy. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I, Malvolio - review

Written by: Wendy (@Wendyfer1)

Unicorn Theatre, London

‘I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you’ quoth Malvolio, several times during Tim Crouch’s one-man tribute to Twelfth Night’s pitiful puritan. There he stands, in a urine-stained onesie with plastic flies wiggling around his head, asking us why cruelty is just so damn entertaining. Tim Crouch plays with power and the theatrical contract to successfully leave us wondering why we laugh at other’s pain and humiliation and mark the bullies as innocent jesters. Here is a man planning to hang himself and we are giggling at his attempts to position the noose.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Damned by Despair - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny

Where's Peen been?
National Theatre (Olivier), London
Was Peen keen? 

Feel free to judge this production by its name. The empty feeling after a poor production that is arguably quite rare at the National Theatre has a truly remarkable presence in the Olivier these days, and we leave thinking two things: evil is still evil, and sugar still tastes like sugar.

Ten Out Of Ten - review

Written by: Caroline (@caroveraclare

Ovalhouse, London

Before entering Ovalhouse Downstairs, we are asked to wear sticky labels bearing our names. It’s an early sign that we will not be sitting anonymously in the dark: telling a performer your name gives them the power to single you out and this makes the audience more vulnerable - but Toot Collective promise ‘to include you in their world without scaring you to bits or putting you on the spot (not too much anyway…).’

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Desire Under The Elms - review

Written by: Lawson (@NaomiMLawson)

Lyric Hammersmith, London

There’s greed, lust, adultery, passion and echoes of Greek tragedy as director Sean Holmes transports us to mid-19th Century Maine in his production of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic, Desire Under the Elms. In our sexualised and desensitised modern world, what the once banned play now lacks in shock value it makes up for elsewhere.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Lucy and the Hawk - review

Written by: Woods (Thomas_E_Woods)

Where did Woods watch it? 
Ovalhouse, London 
Was Woods won over? 

Phil Ormrod’s play Lucy and the Hawk is one of those delightful gems that prove you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on the BBC SFX library when you have a pair of rubber gloves and microphone to hand. The play makes use of a number of household objects to create an aural masterpiece that is as delightful as it is whimsical. From the opening black out with bits of paper rustled by the cast to make the sound of trees blowing in the wind, and gravel used to mark the pitter-patter of children playing, this play grabs you by the ear and keeps you hanging on until the very end. 

Royal Opera House Cinema Season 2012/13

The Royal Opera House has announced its Cinema Season for 2012/13 which will see as many as six operas and three ballets screened into over 700 cinemas in 22 countries. Exciting, right?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Much Ado About Nothing - review

Written by: Caroline (@caroveraclare)

Noël Coward Theatre, London

Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy with claws; the play balances the satisfaction of seeing Beatrice (Meera Syal) and Benedick (Paul Bhattacharjee) tricked into realising their love with the experience of watching Hero cruelly mistreated by the men around her, as Claudio publically disgraces her on their wedding day. Director Iqbal Khan and his excellent cast have examined the social and gender divisions of the play by setting it in modern Delhi, and Tom Piper’s set makes a great first impression. A tree reaches into the flies in one corner of a courtyard, its branches wreathed in cables and fruiting lanterns and bulbs.  Balconies on three sides, tall windows, wrought metal screens, doorways and arches all create a place with endless potential for eavesdropping.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The RSC: Much Ado About Nothing at the Noël Coward Theatre - a Social Media Call

Photography: Char (@charlypie)

Last week, we sent one of our critics to the Noël Coward Theatre to find out all about The RSC's latest production, Much Ado About Nothing. What follow are some cracking images, to rouse your desire to see what is set to be a brilliant production.