Sometimes, I go to a show and have no idea what is going to happen. In the case of Don’t Talk to Strangers at the Vault Festival, this lack of prior knowledge is intrinsic to the show. The Hot Cousin company state ‘welcome to the show, we don’t want to tell you anything about it before it starts, so sit back and listen to the trains’ and I’m going to try and protect that secrecy whilst reviewing this intriguing show. At the heart of this show is a record. Not just any record, but a very … [Read more...]
Reviews of Plays in London West End and Off West End
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Small Island adapted by Helen Edmundson at the Olivier Theatre
After the recent Windrush Generation government scandal, this National Theatre production of Small Island couldn’t have come at a better time. Based on Andrea Levy’s 2004 novel and adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, it tells the stories of two families, one white and one black leading up to the arrival of immigrant workers from the Caribbean on the Empire Windrush in 1948. Read the full review...
This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered Samuel Beckett’s Not I, in which an actress’s mouth is visible and nothing else. But I’m still not sure what Mouth (Samantha Kamras) is going on about: she certainly feels very passionately about what has happened, but as the sentences spoken are so often incomplete, it is difficult to work out what the whole story is. There are pauses in the monologue, and in this production, they serve - as far as I could deduce - as opportunities for gurning, or at … [Read more...]
Ostensibly, this is a play about a journalist fighting for freedom of expression with a sub-plot about the journalist’s tortured and disintegrating relationship. Or: it’s a play about a journalist’s tortured and disintegrating relationship with a sub-plot about a journalist fighting for freedom of expression. I can’t decide between the two. Each of the two plot-lines takes up the same amount of script but the attempt to fit them together displays all the clunkiness off iron shoes on a … [Read more...]
There has always been sociological pressure on men to act a certain way. And this pressure, like all pressure, can lead to consequences. This idea has been explored in many books, plays and films and the latest one to enter the world is Tom Stocks’ play Netflix & Chill at the Drayton Arms Theatre. Ben (Tom Stocks) is an average guy. In his twenties, he is single and his life isn’t necessarily going as planned. Like so many, he believed what the recruiters told him and went to university … [Read more...]
Notch (directed by Madelaine Moore) is a very topical one-woman show written and performed by Danaja Wass, a young Croatian artist, tackling issues like immigration, xenophobia, mental health, sexual assault, homosexuality and homelessness (just not to miss any difficult topic). Clearly, this is not a light-hearted performance, it is intense to the point that the flyer of the show has the phone numbers of the Samaritans and Crisis UK in case “you have been affected by issues in the … [Read more...]
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of different shows that the Vault Festival offers; while the quality is generally very high, there are productions that should not be missed. So, let me help you: Madame Ovary by Rosa Hesmondhalgh (Wildchild Productions) is a must-see one-woman show that will make you laugh and cry, often at the same time and it is one of the best ways to spend an hour of your life. In February 2013 at the tender age of 23, Hesmondhalgh was diagnosed with cancer: … [Read more...]
I have been interested in climate change since well before Greta Thunberg made the topic fashionable, both on a personal level trying to reduce my carbon footprint, and on a professional level, doing research into fuel cells. So, I was very excited when I read that How To Save A Rock, a show described as a “multi-award-winning musical comedy about how to still have hope”, was coming to the Vault Festival, after its well-reviewed run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show is presented by … [Read more...]