August 2015 News, Reviews & Interviews

In August 2015, the theatre scene in London and across the UK, including the bustling Edinburgh Fringe, was marked by an extraordinary array of performances, ranging from blockbuster shows to groundbreaking new works. This month was particularly notable for its unique theatrical experiences, blending traditional theatre with innovative and immersive performances.

London Theatre Highlights

West End Musicals and Plays

  1. Musicals:
    • “Kinky Boots” at the Adelphi Theatre continued to dazzle audiences with its heartwarming story and infectious music by Cyndi Lauper, celebrating acceptance and individuality.
    • “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre (now the Sondheim Theatre) maintained its status as a West End mainstay, drawing audiences with its epic tale of love and revolution.
  2. Plays:
    • “Hamlet” at the Barbican Theatre, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, remained a major draw, with Cumberbatch’s powerful performance as the troubled prince earning widespread acclaim.
    • “The Audience” at the Apollo Theatre, featuring Kristin Scott Thomas as Queen Elizabeth II, continued to captivate with its intimate portrayal of the Queen’s meetings with her Prime Ministers.

Unique Theatre Events

  1. Secret Cinema:
    • Secret Cinema presented “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, transforming an undisclosed location into the Star Wars universe. This immersive experience allowed audiences to become part of the story, interacting with characters and exploring elaborately recreated sets.
  2. Theatre in Unconventional Spaces:
    • Productions like “The Tempest” performed on a Thames River boat and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in various London parks brought Shakespeare to life in unique settings, enhancing the immersive experience of these classic plays.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2015 was the world’s largest arts festival, featuring thousands of performances across the city. The Fringe offered a diverse mix of theatre, comedy, dance, and experimental performances, showcasing both established and emerging talent.

Notable Performances and Highlights

  1. New Writing and Contemporary Theatre:
    • “My Eyes Went Dark” by Matthew Wilkinson, a powerful one-man show exploring grief and forgiveness, received critical acclaim for its intense and moving performance.
    • “Ross & Rachel” by James Fritz, a thought-provoking play about relationships and identity, challenged audience perceptions and showcased innovative storytelling.
  2. Comedy and Cabaret:
    • Comedy remained a staple of the Fringe, with performers like James Acaster and Sarah Millican drawing large crowds. The blend of stand-up, sketch comedy, and cabaret acts provided a wide range of humor and entertainment.
    • “La Clique”, a cabaret-circus extravaganza, returned to the Fringe with its blend of acrobatics, burlesque, and comedy, enchanting audiences with its eclectic and daring performances.
  3. Site-Specific and Immersive Theatre:
    • “Hotel Medea” offered an overnight immersive experience, retelling the myth of Medea through interactive and site-specific performances, challenging the boundaries between audience and performer.
    • “The Generation of Z: Apocalypse” was an immersive zombie experience that placed audiences in the midst of a post-apocalyptic world, blending theatre with live-action role-playing elements.

Trends and Developments

  1. Focus on Social Issues:
    • Many productions at the Edinburgh Fringe and across the UK addressed contemporary social issues, such as mental health, immigration, and gender identity. Plays like “Lampedusa” by Anders Lustgarten explored the refugee crisis, while “Eve” by Jo Clifford and Chris Goode dealt with transgender identity.
  2. Digital Integration and Technology:
    • The integration of technology in theatre continued to grow, with productions incorporating multimedia elements, live streaming, and virtual reality to enhance storytelling and audience engagement. Companies like Blast Theory used interactive media to create participatory experiences that pushed the boundaries of traditional theatre.

Regional Theatre Highlights

  1. Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon:
    • The RSC’s production of “Othello”, directed by Iqbal Khan, featured Hugh Quarshie and Lucian Msamati, offering a fresh and impactful take on Shakespeare’s tragedy with a focus on race and identity.
  2. Chichester Festival Theatre:
    • The Chichester Festival Theatre’s revival of “Mack & Mabel”, starring Michael Ball, continued to receive praise for its vibrant and energetic performances, capturing the golden age of Hollywood.

In conclusion, August 2015 was a vibrant and dynamic month for theatre in London, the UK, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The blend of traditional productions, immersive experiences, and performances addressing contemporary issues highlighted the diversity and creativity of British theatre. With its focus on innovation and inclusivity, the theatre scene continued to engage and inspire audiences, ensuring a memorable and impactful cultural experience.

August 2015 News, Reviews & Interviews

West End Transfer for ORESTEIA
Review of The Who’s Tommy at The Greenwich Theatre
Impossible review: A fantastic night out for all the family
Review of The Suicide at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Review of IN SOFT WINGS at Tristan Bates Theatre
Sheridan Smith plays Fanny Brice in Funny Girl
Review of Secret Theatre Show – Secret Studio Lab
Malarkey at The Cockpit Theatre – Camden Fringe
Review of Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part 3
Review of Iris Theatre’s Pinocchio at St Paul’s The Actors Church
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre
Review of Velvet Trumpet’s MONEY WOMB at Theatre503
Review of Dear Lupin at the Apollo Theatre
Review of Operation Crucible at The Finborough Theatre
Review of Home Free at the Etcetera Theatre
LET IT BE played its 1000th UK performance on 4th August 2015
David Fielder and Nigel Hastings star in And Then Come The Nightjars
Lisa O’Hare releases All Your Dreams charity single
Review of Grand Hotel at Southwark Playhouse
Review of La Bohème at the Arcola Theatre – Grimeborn 2015
Review of The Bald Soprano at Etcetera Theatre
Nick Moran and Michael McKell star in Roaring Trade
Review of A Naughty Night with Noel Coward at the Old Red Lion Theatre
Review of Crossing Jerusalem at Park Theatre
Review of ANNIE JNR at The Arts Theatre London
Full casting announced for National Tour of Priscilla Queen of The Desert
5-Star Review of Hetty Feather at The Duke of York’s Theatre
Review of Miss-Leading Ladies at St James Studio Theatre
The Adventures of Pinocchio at Greenwich Theatre – Review
F*cking Men at The King’s Head Theatre – Review
Baila Brazil at The Royal Festival Hall – Review
The Clown of Clowns at The Arcola Theatre – Review
Review of Briefs at London Wonderground The Spiegeltent
Review of Personals The Musical at Landor Theatre
To She or Not to She by Joue Le Genre – Review
Review of Ronnie Dorsey’s A FINE LINE
Review of Chic Bonbons at The 100 Club
JONATHAN OLLIVIER: 1977 – 2015 A Tribute from Matthew Bourne and New Adventures
Waving Goodbye: a brand new play by Andrew Shakeshaft
Review of Testimony at The Etcetera Theatre
Festival Of Ukrainian Culture From Kiev’s National Academic Theatre Of Russian Drama Lesya Ukrainka
The Phantom of The Opera celebrates 12000 performances
Boys and Girls at The Tristan Bates Theatre – Review
Camden Fringe: C.O.C.S. Chronicles – Review
Norm All Day with Dorothy Fale at COG ARTSpace – Review
Review of Blood Wedding at The Bread and Roses Theatre
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh visit Cats in Blackpool
Full casting announced for UK Tour of King Charles III Autumn 2015
A Midsummer Night’s Dream in New Orleans – Review
Full cast announced for 2015 National Tour of FLARE PATH
Review of The Backward Fall at The Hen and Chickens Theatre
Bend It Like Beckham The Musical Original Cast Album Announced
Review of The Game of Love and Chance at Barons Court Theatre
Review of King Chaos at The Tristan Bates Theatre
St Petersburg Ballet Theatre – Swan Lake (Irina Kolesnikova)
The Sexes at The Etcetera Theatre – Review
Review of CONSOLATION at Bridewell Theatre
Review of The Playboy of the Western World at Southwark Playhouse
Review of Leopardess at The Canal Cafe Theatre
Review of Claire Dowie and Martin Stewart Unboxed
Kevin Lee’s Different Class at The Etcetera Theatre
Misch-Masch and Peter and The Wolf: Grimeborn 2015 – Review
Rehearsals begin for NATIONAL THEATRE WALES’ ILIAD
The World Premiere of The Man Called Monkhouse
Full cast announced for ELF THE MUSICAL
Review of Dust Never Settles in Torchlight
Review of Dirty White Boys at Canal Cafe – Camden Fringe 2015
Review of Bruises at The Tabard Theatre
The Day You’ll Love Me at Theatro Technis – Review
Falstaff – Grimeborn Arcola’s Opera Festival – Review
Cast and opening night confirmed for DUSTY
Review of LADYLOGUE at Tristan Bates Theatre- CAMDEN FRINGE 2015
Review of Leonce and Lena at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre
Review of Lady Anna: All At Sea – Park Theatre
Review of Our House at Union Theatre
New English Ballet and Special Guests present DANCING FOR NEPAL
Review of You Tweet My Face Space
Review of Daphne at the Arcola Theatre – Grimeborn 2015
Review of Indelible Images at Canal Cafe Theatre – Camden Fringe
Review of Synaes Theatre’s Raven at The Space
Review of STUFF at The Etcetera Theatre
Review of Captain Show Off at The Scoop
The Invited at The Arcola Theatre Grimeborn 2015
Cast Announced for Tipping The Velvet
Roll Over Beethoven at The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
Review of Arden Creatures at The Cockpit Theatre
Review of Antic Disposition’s Henry V at Temple Church
Review of Article 10 – CAMDEN FRINGE at Aces and Eights
The School of Light at The White Bear Theatre
The Pain and Strife of the Bourgeois Life at Moors Theatre
Ludwig Live! by Peaceful Lion Productions
Our Country’s Good at The Olivier Theatre – Review
Liliom at The Bread and Roses Theatre – Review
Thoroughly Modern Millie at Landor Theatre – Review
Madama Butterfly Grimeborn Opera Festival – Review
Review of London Calling at The Hen and Chickens Theatre
My Eyes Went Dark at Finborough Theatre – Review
Most People Are Other People at The Tristan Bates Theatre
Spring Awakening at The Old Finsbury Town Hall
Tamburlaine The Great at Tristan Bates Theatre – Review
Review of Shallow Slumber at MAP Studio Cafe
Thrones! The Musical at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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