Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Dresser - Duke of York's Theatre

Image result for the dresser duke o f
This play about the ongoings of backstage theatre stars Reece Shearsmith and Ken Scott.  Shearsmith shines as the dresser to an ailing, slightly deranged actor.  He’s overly tolerant yet amusing in all he does. The first half is an on off, on off, deliberation as to wether the play can go on with a ‘Lear’ in this state.By the second half it’s been decide that the show will indeed go on, but an irrational lead is not the only thing afflicting the company. As World War II bombs fall around them, the actors do a poor job on stage of masking their fear.  The action is frantic, many of the lines are improvised and you can’t help but feel the stage manager’s anxiety. Outstanding performances from the cast and no shortage of laughs.     
The Dresser can be seen @ Duke of York's Theatre until 14th January 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Last Tango - Phoenix Theatre

Image result for the last tangoI loved Dance Til Dawn so much I saw it 3 times. Hence I had huge expectations for this show, and with it being their last expected they would go out with a bang. But alas I set myself up for disappointment. The show isn’t bad and maybe it’s not fair for me to compare  - but in comparison it was a let down.
However, if you haven’t seen their previous show, then you can enjoy this one for what it is. An older man roots through memorabilia from the 1930’s and watches his younger self dance his way through various life stages. Meeting his bride to be, the proposal, marriage, children (her way of announcing each child is particularly funny), going to and returning from war. It lacks the dialogue and witty humour of the previous show, but, Vincent and Flavia’s moves are as smooth and synchronised as ever as the duo dance their way through the tango, salsa, rumba and jive.  The dulcet tones of Oliver Darley wowed me as much as they did in Dance Til Dawn and all the supporting dancers and singers are also on point.

The Last Tango can be seen @ Phonenix Theatre until 3rd Dec 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Tempest - Kings Cross Theatre

By far the most ‘interesting’ interpretation of The Tempest I have ever seen. So much so that I probably wouldn’t have recognised it but for the name of the characters and some of the dialogue.  Set in a female prison, the action starts as the prisoners are paraded through the bar area prior to the audience being ushered to their seats by security guards. Steel pans, rapping, modern dress and an entire female cast removes the Shakespearean feel. Harriet Walker gives an energised performance as Prospero while Jade Anouka gives a brilliantly vibrant performance as a rapping, boom box carrying, Ariel. The plays lasts an hour and forty minutes with no interval and I’d dare say that even non Shakespeare fans will find enough to keep them entertained for the duration. 

The Tempest can be seen @ the Kings Cross Theatre until 15th December 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Showboat - New London Theatre

Showboat, a musical written in 1927, tells the heartwarming story of a young woman named Magnolia, her father who owns The Cotton Blossom show boat and a young actor / gambler called Gaylord. Magnolia and Gaylord fall in love, overcoming several challenges, to a backdrop of heartfelt songs and upbeat dances. Director, Daniel Evans, does a magnificent job of transforming this 90 year old script into a show that engages and moves a modern day audience. With a sterling performances from the cast, who weave their way around sections of the audience, it seems a shame that the show (initially scheduled to run til January) will be closing early.

Showboat can be seen @ New London Theatre until 27th August

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The End of Longing - Playhouse Theatre

I was never into the series, Friends, but was curious to see how TV actor, Matthew Perry, would make his stage transition. Jack is an alcoholic. Stephanie is a prostitute. A neurotic Stevie is thirty-seven and wants a baby and Joseph, in his own words, is stupid. The four characters open the play by telling us everything about themselves so there’s little left in way of suspense; except to see whether the obvious ensuing relationships will work. The action unfolds predominately in bedrooms and bars in the first half and a hospital in the second. While the story, in itself, is good natured the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Brace yourself for several foul-mouthed tirades, unimaginative dialogue and the odd comedic moment. But if you like happy ever after endings, you won’t be disappointed.

The End of Longing can be seen @ The Playhouse Theatre until 14th May 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Gielgud Theatre

I hadn’t read the book, so although I knew the story line, I didn’t have much in way of expectations. Christopher is a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome. The play is depicted by the teacher, at his special needs schools, reading out the story he has written about his attempt to solve the murder of their neighbour’s dog. His investigation leads him on a physical and emotional quest in which he uncovers truths about those around him, including his parents.
The stage, set out as a black grid, is versatile and transforms from projecting his mathematic formulae to a house, to a train. Sion Daniel Young does a great job with the character of Christopher (I was reminded of him as Albert in War Horse).  His touching, often poignant, performance makes difficult viewing at times; like when he recoils from human touch.  Comedic moments help to lighten the otherwise heavy matter, much need in a piece of this nature, and what audience doesn’t go gaga over a live dog on stage.
Stick behind at the end and Christopher reappears after the curtain call to explain a complicated mathematical equation used during the play.