Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dance Til Dawn - Aldwych Theatre

Dance til Dawn is a story built around (or indeed built to showcase) the dancing talents of Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace. While they perfectly perform dances such as foxtrot, samba, rumba and tango etc. I was far more interested in the background story. TeddyKempner is a narrating lawyer, telling us the story of the murder of a 1940’s Hollywood star. Abbie Osmon shines as the beautiful but ditsy and murderous villain, Lana, providing some outstanding numbers including That’s Life. In the background Oliver Darley melodically provides songs such as Moon River and Stand By Me. (I picked up that some of the songs must have been written after the supposed era of the story but he’s so brilliant in his delivery that I doubt anyone cared).

It’s not fully a musical, nor is it entirely a dance piece but a humourous and engaging mixture of both. 

Dance Til Dawn can be seen @ Aldwych Theatre until 3rd January 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Great Britain - Theatre Royal Haymarket

If you can overlook the foul language (and it really is bad) then this political satire by Richard Bean is quite insightful. He appears to be examining the unethical links between the press, the police and politics.
An overly ambitious journalist, Paige Britain (Lucy Punch) is determined to do what she has to, no matter how immoral, to make it to the top of her career. She exploits the innocent to sell more papers and sleeps with who she has to in order to obtain favours. But the standout character for me was the ignorant Met Commissioner, Sully Kassam, played by Aaron Neil. The first-ever Asian commissioner has no idea what is going on and the utter fool that he is, is immediately evident. The MP’s expense scandal, Milly Dowler and other phone hacking cases – it’s all there. And though names and situations are disguised, anyone who followed any of the major press stories over the last few years, will have no trouble discerning which story line in the play relates to which real life event.

I hated the vulgarity of this production, but having worked myself for several years in media, this crudeness made it made it all the more believable.

Great Britain can be seen @ Theatre Royal Haymarket until 10th January 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Neville's Island - Duke of York's Theatre

The setting – an (magnificent and convincing) uninhabited island in the Lake District. I especially loved how one of the characters made his stage entrance emerging from the lake; very clever. The situation – 4 men, each with a very distinctive character, on a workplace bonding exercise are shipwrecked. Having only one sausage and a dying mobile phone, disaster is imminent. With a spectacular set, a funny story and four brilliant actors (Adrian Edmondson, Miles Jupp, Neil Morrissey and Robert Webb) bringing it to life, there was nothing I didn’t enjoy about this hilarious about this piece by Tim Firth.

Neville's Island can be seen @ Duke of York's Theatre until 3rd Jan

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Uncle Vanya - St James Theatre

Maybe it was just me, but I really didn’t understand RussellBolam’s interpretation of this Chekhov piece. Rather than a country state house, the play is set in a farmhouse, fair enough, but the modern day costumes I feel really let it down. John Hannah, who plays Vanya, was my inspiration for seeing this piece as I’ve always enjoyed his screen work. Not so for the stage in this instance I’m afraid. Yelena, played by Rebecca Knight, seemed like a pointless character who strutted up and down the stage looking gorgeous but brought nothing to the piece.  Thank God for Astrov (Joe Dixon) the handsome doctor who at least brought some air of a comedic element to the piece and saved me dying of complete boredom. I did, however, really enjoy the scene changes carried out by the actors as one of the characters strummed away on his guitar. This guitar playing was fine and even slightly amusing for the set changes but during the course of the performance it seemed out of place, unnecessary and sometimes a little annoying.

Uncle Vanya can be seen @ St James Theatre until 8th November

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Made In Dagenham - Adelphi Theatre

It’s always nice when something exceeds your expectations and Made In Dagenham did just that for me. The last few musicals I saw had me waning slightly by the second half but this time round I couldn’t wait to see the outcome of these feisty women and their insistent placards. The songs are funny (I could relate to ‘If you want something done ask a busy woman’). Stand out performance came from Sophie-Louise Dann with her solo for the character Barbara Castle. I also enjoyed the set which is imaginative, my favourite being Eddie O’Grady, played by Adrian der Gregorian, awaking from bed in the morning. With a great mixture of humour and sensitivities surrounding what was a victorious historical event, this show hits the nail on the head. Here’s hopping it doesn’t meet the same fate of several recent musicals that have had to close early.

Made In Dagenham can be seen @ the Adelphi Theatre until 28th March 2015