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Showing posts with label play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label play. Show all posts

Life of Galileo, The Young Vic | Review

Life of Galileo, The Young Vic | Review

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Life of Galileo
The Young Vic
Reviewed on Thursday June 8th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
½

Part planetarium and part theatre-in-the-round, Life of Galileo invites us to look to the stars in an inspiring look at a revolutionary time for science. Some of the audience are able to sit (or lay) in the centre of the round with cushions and gaze up at the galaxy filled ceiling as it moves in a beautiful and magical way.

Brecht reminds us throughout that this is a play, using dance and song to make the play more surreal and to distance us from reality. Particularly entertaining is when Cowell announces the scene numbers throughout and the clever use of puppetry which explains what's to come in each scene.

The actors spend their time before the show and during the interval moving around the stage and chatting with the audience which makes the play feel extremely immersive. The ensemble work very well, integrating with the people sat in the centre and cleverly moving into the action and switching between roles. The whole cast work like a seamless machine.

Life of Galileo looks at the momentous change in scientific exploration as well as Galileo's personal sacrifice and the resistance he faced. Returning to the Young Vic after his performance in Yerma, Brendan Cowell takes on the role of the inspiring Galileo robustly and cleverly. He distinguishes the different sides of the man well. With clear divides between Galileo the father and Galileo the scientist and he is particularly cold and harsh to his daughter, Virginia (Anjana Vasan).

The play is lengthy and intense but with music by Tom Rowlands and extremely impressive projections, it's exciting and forward-thinking. It's vast and enlightening  and a unique theatrical experience. Life of Galileo never takes itself too seriously but manages to make a number of scientific and political comments which remain relevant today.


Life of Galileo runs at the Young Vic theatre until July 1st.

TodayTix are offering rush tickets of £20 for Life of Galileo as well as brilliant deals on tickets for a number of shows. Book tickets for Life of Galileo or any other show with TodayTix and receive £10 off with my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/ 

La Strada, The Other Palace | Review

La Strada, The Other Palace | Review

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La Strada
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Thursday June 1st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

La Strada is definitely the musical which I have been most pleasantly surprised by so far this year. I am a fan of going into shows without looking them up first and I went into The Other Palace with no idea what to expect; thinking I was going to see a cabaret, vaudeville like circus show but that was absolutely not the case. Based on Federico Fellini's 1957 Oscar winning performance,  La Strada tells the story of the young and naive Gelsomina who is sold by her mother to become the assistant to the touring gypsy, Zampanò: the "Strong Man". Her sister previously went to work for Zampanò and never returned so Gelsomina is struck with fear but fights and stays strong so she can send money back to her mother. This is ultimately the story of a young girl being taken advantage of purely because she doesn't know any better and because her circumstances don't allow her to escape.

The musicians play onstage in this piece and really bring it to life. A particular favourite moment was when everyone started clicking their fingers until the sound became overpowering and turned into raindrops. Each dramatic moment is heightened and an extremely visceral performance is created. This is helped along by Cameron Carver's brilliant movement which is extremely tight but looks natural and free. Flowing beautifully through moments and embodying each element that's being shown.

With credits including the National Theatre's Peter Pan, director Sally Cookson is know for her innovative, unique storytelling and has captured the themes and harshness of this story in a brilliantly imaginative way.

Finding herself trapped in Zampanò's world, wanting to escape but needing to make her mother proud we see the external and internal struggles of Gelsomina who is played so beautifully by Audrey Brisson. Capturing both her innocence and playfulness through the witty dialogue and  wide-eyed movements, Gelsomina becomes a character the audience grow to love and become extremely attached to. This is a wonderful contrast to the cruel, harsh portrayal of Zampanò by Stuart Goodwin. Although we see moments of kindness, these are rare and it is the overall menacing anger which fills the stage whenever the strong man is around.

Part way through, they meet, Il Matto (The Fool) played by Bart Soroczynski who acts as a friend and guide for Gelsomina who heartbreakingly confides in him that there isn't any point her being alive because she is good for nothing. Il Matto brings light and warmth to the story, with a carefree attitude and light movement, he is played wonderfully by Soroczynski.

La Strada is a masterclass in storytelling and Cookson has created a faultless production which draws the audience in and takes them along the road which Gelsomina and Zampanò travel along. The piece is fresh and engaging and the constant movement makes it feel alive, it's truly compelling to watch and I would highly urge you to see it.

La Strada runs at The Other Palace until July 8th.

Book tickets for La Strada or any other show with TodayTix and receive £10 off with my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Duke of York's | Review

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Duke of York's | Review

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Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour
Duke of York's Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday May 31st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

When I saw Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour last summer at the National Theatre I instantly adored it. I started praying for a transfer and telling anyone who would listen to go and see it. I gave it the number six place in my top shows of 2016, five stars in my original review and was overjoyed when it scooped up the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. I'm pleased to say that I loved it just as much the second time in it's new West End home: The Duke of York's and will be raving to everyone again to snap up a ticket!

Our Ladies is exactly what the West End needs right now, it's a fresh, exciting, fun and unique theatrical experience for all ages (...well most ages!) The show manages to be angelic, vivacious, electric and foul-mouthed at the same time and more than anything is a celebration of females.

The six superstars of the show play every single character in the narrative, from their choir master, hilariously named Condom to a series of suspiciously shady middle-aged men. The girls are backed by an all female band who accompany the fantastic musical interludes. The girls are outgoing and dramatic but behind all of that have their own fears for their futures and impending adulthood. 

The girls are absolutely wonderful, not only being hilarious in the comedic moments, but quiet and sentimental in more emotional scenes. They all have incredible voices too, moving seamlessly from Bartók to ELO with emotion, energy and poignancy. Isis Hainsworth is sincere in her portrayal of Orla who has just come back from a 'miracle' cancer recovery at Lourdes, Karen Fishwick is extremely versatile as Kay, switching from on the floor drunk to heartbreaking honesty perfectly. Caroline Deyga as Chell is hilarious and larger than life and Kirsty MacLaren as Manda is just lovely! For me, Frances Mayli McCann (Kylah) and Dawn Sievewright (Finnoula) are the standouts of the group, with absolutely stunning voices and completely faultless performances, but the entire cast are perfect and work together like real life school friends, creating an extremely realistic  albeit extremely shocking portrayal of growing up.

Directed by Vicky Featherstone and at an hour and fourty five minutes, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour provides a tight-knit, laugh out loud, heartfelt story of six girls making their way through life. The raw authenticity generates a warm and relatable vibe of no strings attached purity and fun. Our Ladies is an unmissable production which I highly recommend you go and see!

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour runs at the Duke of York's until November 2nd 2017

Book tickets for Our Ladies or any other show with TodayTix and receive £10 off with my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/

Angels in America, National Theatre | Review

Angels in America, National Theatre | Review

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Angels in America
National Theatre, Lyttleton Theatre
Reviewed on Saturday May 13th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Angels in America has got to be one of the National Theatre's most eagerly anticipated productions and one of the hottest tickets in London right now. The production boasts a line-up of incredible stars with the entire run sold out apart from lottery and day seats. Due to the sheer size and epicness of this play, it is rarely staged so seeing this revival from director Marianna Elliott is a once in a generation opportunity.

The show is big. The glossy A4 programme is big, the set is big, the cast names are big and the length is big. So much is packed in and the scope of the production and the ideas within it are vast and although slightly overwhelming at times, it's an extremely well put together and a mesmerising production.

The cast includes Broadway's Nathan Lane, Olivier-winner Denise Gough, NT stars Russell Tovey and James McArdle and Hollywood film star Andrew Garfield, who had performed in shows at the NT before heading to Hollywood. The acting is utterly sublime, with ridiculous talent and confidence that is breathtaking throughout.

Tony Kushner's two-part play tells the story of the emerging AIDS crisis of the 1980s as it hit the gay community in New York, by as cast of both real life and fictional characters who are living through it. Both parts are dense but liberating in the way they play with form, moving from domestic realism to hallucinatory fantasy, especially in part two Perestroika.

Part one, Millennium Approaches is full of angst and drama but is extremely humorous at points. A homeless woman chaotically exclaims "In the new century I think we will all be insane", when get to part two, Perestroika, twenty-five years later we see that that premonition may have come to be.

Nathan Lane manages to have both our hate and sympathy as the vicious, closeted lawyer Roy. Denise Gough lives right up to her superstar name and she embodies the role of the drugged out, angry and upset, Harper, giving a mesmerising performance. James McArdle is wonderful as the infuriatingly sensitive Louis. Russell Tovey brings pain and innocence to the confused Mormon Republican Joe and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett is fantastic as Belize who is perhaps the only sane one of the group. But it's Andrew Garfield who steals the show. He is breathtaking as the shows lead, Prior Walter. Garfield is intense and committed to the role with just the right amount of wit and grit to make this somewhat wacky character come to life in perfect colour on stage.

Although the context of Angels in America is different in 2017, especially with regards to AIDS, the play feels extremely relevant and the revival couldn't have come at a better time. The action looks back at the time Reagan was in office and studies his right-wing policies which are scarily analogous with Donald Trump's. This makes everything even more resonant and emphasises the fractured America where opinions on gender, wealth and race have unfortunately not changed.

This play is unlike anything else, with a mix of angsty, sardonic, gloomy surrealism which is a roller coaster from moment one. There are so many moments of shock that jump out like an endless stream of consciousness and it's really like being inside Kushner's brain as his thoughts vomit out. Although that doesn't sound particularly pleasant, it really is. There's something magical and truthful about the craziness. This play is not likely to be seen again in the near future and this production of the modern masterpiece is sure to stay with everyone who sees it until the next one comes about. Angels in America is epic but the most important thing is that it promotes discussion and remains relevant.

Angels in America will be broadcast to cinemas by NT Live from 20 July.

Late Company, Finborough Theatre | Review

Late Company, Finborough Theatre | Review

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Late Company
Finborough Theatre
Reviewed on Friday April 28th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Late Company is one of the most moving and well executed plays I've seen. Written by award-winning Canadian playwright, Jordan Tannahill when he was only twenty-three, it follows two families dealing with the roles they played in the suicide of a young boy. 

Michael and Debora Shaun-Hastings are the parents of teenager, Joel who died by suicide a year earlier. They have invited the Dermots: mother and father Tamara and Michael and their son, Curtis  who played a big role in the bullying that led to Joel's suicide, round for dinner to build bridges and get "closure". The play is a study of grief, cyber bullying, parental guidance and homophobia among many other issues.

Of course this is a heavy subject and there's no avoiding that but the admirable thing with this play is that nothing is pushed or over emoted. The issues come forward naturally and the audience become greatly involved. The intimate setting, brilliant acting, writing, stage design and lighting all play a key factor in  allowing the audience to get lost in the production. At points I forgot I was watching as an audience member and really felt that I was at the dinner party. 

The small cast of five are all equally outstanding with Alex Lowe, Lisa Stevenson, Todd Boyce and Lucy Robinson playing the roles of the parents in a heartfelt way but fully showing the flaws in their parenting techniques and world views. David Leopold is exceptional as Curtis, embodying the teenage withdrawal and innocence perfectly and conveying so much with few words and short sentences. 

Praise must be given to Michael Yale for his faultless direction which established the permeating emotion to seep into every audience member. There was such intimacy but it didn't feel overwhelming, almost as if we were all flies on the wall watching the dinner party unfold. Yale's handling of the script is sympathetic, pure, relevant and intelligent. 

Late Company is more relevant now than ever and the entire company manages to bring the issues forward in a stunning way. It's an engaging look at the society we live in and the how impacts of what we do, which may seem innocent, can affect people. It encourages us to look at our own actions and to make sure we face problems head on instead of avoiding them and potentially facing horrific consequences. These issues surround us at all times so there's no point pretending they're not there and Late Company has done a wonderful job at bringing them to the forefront. 

Late Company runs at the Finborough Theatre until 20th May 2017

Photo credit: Charlie Round Turner

Alice's Adventures Underground, The Vaults | Review

Alice's Adventures Underground, The Vaults | Review

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Alice's Adventures Underground
The Vaults
Reviewed on Thursday April 27th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Alice's Adventures Underground at The Vaults underneath Waterloo station is not just a show, it's an experience. An experience which everyone should have. It's magical, mystical, unique and altogether brilliant.

Based on the books by Lewis Carroll, we travel around the whimsical Wonderland meeting a variety of characters in a number of different, fantastically designed locations. The great thing about this event is that it's always different and everyone's experience is completely unique. Depending on your choices, you follow varying routes and the multiple casts and audience members mean that everything is always different.

Upon entering Wonderland, we're ushered into a room filled with photos, chandeliers, dusty books and of course, a looking glass. A blonde haired, blue eyed girl appears and seems to have forgotten who she is, asking "who am I?" before disappearing and leading the way for our adventure to begin.

The excitement can be felt in the room as we are taken to make our first decision of the night: 'eat me' or 'drink me'. This determines which path we will take, and with 24 adventures happening at the same time, it's basically impossible to be part of the same show twice. We're given a playing card and split into suits who are each led by a performer who guides us madly through the labyrinth of wonderland.

The impressive thing about this immersive experience is how seamless it is. Not a beat is missed and each moment is so well planned that nothing is clumsy or rushed. It's mind-blowing how slick it is. The characters are crazy and mad but performed perfectly, I particularly loved Zara Plessard as the Queen of Hearts. I don't want to give too much away about the characters and story because not everyone sees them all and it's definitely best to go into this without any preconceptions but every moment is truly brilliant and the its honestly does get curiouser and curiouser at every turn.

If you get the chance to go to this magic underground then please do! You're guaranteed a theatrical experience like no other, it's bewildering, breathtaking, beautiful and an absolute must-see.

Alice's Adventures Underground runs at The Vaults until 23rd September 2017.

The Winter's Tale, Barbican | Review

The Winter's Tale, Barbican | Review

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The Winter's Tale
Barbican
Reviewed on Thursday April 4th 2017 by Esther Matthews
★★

As an avid Shakespeare lover I am always a little tentative to see a new production of the classic tale but I was pleasantly surprised by Cheek by Jowl theatre companies take on The Winter’s Tale.  It was simple, funny and emotional.

With very minimal set it was a little worrying to step into the theatre and find two very simple pieces on stage but that fear vanished as soon as I realised someone was sitting on the stage, back to the audience and perfectly still. There was a sense of excitement from the audience as they came in to discover this figure. As she left the stage the lights when out and the play began. The lighting and sound engineering blew me away, with a simple set you needed something to set it apart and these two things combined were it. Your mind wasn’t allowed a second to rest, there was always something new to capture your attention. 

I particularly enjoyed the musical aspect of the piece. Paddy Cunneen did a brilliant job of adding in just the right amount of music to set the tone of the piece. There were live instruments being played throughout and even songs written for the play. 

I don’t think I can pick a cast member that didn’t keep up physically and emotionally. The energy on the stage was electric from the off. Orlando James marvelled in the lead role, his energy alone could have sustained the whole piece. 

My only slight worry is that the company knew the piece a little too well. There were some moments where the choreographed movement was a little too perfect, it took away from the delusion in the king’s mind. There needed to be a sense of discovery which didn’t quite happen in some scenes. 

I highly recommend seeing The Winters Tale. Director Declan Donnellan brings a modern and fascinating twist to one of Shakespeare’s latest plays and does it beautifully. So much heart is put into the production, you will be overflowing when you leave the theatre. 

The Winter's Tale runs at the Barbican until April 22nd

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Shirley Valentine (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Shirley Valentine (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

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Shirley Valentine
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 13th March 2017 by Glenys Balchin
★★

I am old enough to have seen the Oscar nominated Shirley Valentine film nearly thirty years ago but never the play. Therefore I was not sure whether or not I would enjoy the one woman show without the famous Costas played by Tom Conti in the film. But I was not disappointed. Jodie Prenger shone as brightly as Pauline Collins had thirty years ago as Shirley Valentine.  


For the duration of two hours Jodie Prenger marched and swaggered to dominate the stage and all the time cleverly engaging and drawing in her the audience.  You totally forgot she was on her own as she brought the other characters to life on stage. I would certainly recommend this show to my friends but with the caveat that they are women of a certain age.


The play itself is about a bored and disillusioned Liverpudlian housewife who is trying to find her identity and get back her “unused life”. Her adventures starts when her best friend invites her to go to Greece on holiday with her. She takes up the offer of a trip as she feels dissatisfied, neglected and ignored by her husband and family, now that her children have flown the nest. She goes to Greece for a two week holiday but decides to stay and as she feels no one would miss her at home.  


Don’t be mistaken into thinking this is a Greek tragedy, it is a heartfelt emotional comedy with Jodie Prenger performing with impeccable comedic timing to make you laugh and cry at the same time. Willy Russell is amazing in understanding the psyche and intellect of women. This comedy may have been written three decades ago, 1986 to be exact, but is still just as relevant today, which in a way is a sad thing for me to have say, as you would have thought that we would have moved on. On saying that the age of the leading lady probably would now be older and there certainly are more opportunities for women these days to follow, as long as they have the right encouragement at home.


As for depicting the era I thought the kitchen set was a throwback of my Mum’s kitchen in the eighties when I was growing up so, for me it was a real nostalgic trip down memory lane. I thought it was a good decision to keep to the original decade of when the play was written rather than updating to the current day. The special effect when Jodie Prenger cooks eggs and chips during the play added an authentic touch plus Jodie really knew how to work the kitchen so fully believable. 


My only criticism on not depicting the 80’s accurately would be Jodie’s hair which was more the fifties style rather than over permed shaggy haircut or that of the late Lady Diana’s hair style. The music could have been more eighties and when she was in Greece a little bit more Zorba but that may have distracted from the performance.


There is no doubt that Prenger owns the stage and mesmerises her audience with her larger than life personality which carries this revival of Shirley Valentine from the opening to the curtain call. To give an amazing performance like Jodie delivered must be attributed to the way she has been directed by the legendary Glen Walford, who has skilfully nurtured Jodie’s talent to enable her to deliver a fast-paced performance which does not falter nor lose energy from the fast paced monologue.


My first thought of seeing Shirley Valentine is that it would feel out-dated, not funny and never equal the performance of Pauline Collins, so I was very happy to say that I have been proven totally wrong.  The Willy Russell script has clearly stood the test of time, and Jodie Prenger was absolutely sensational in the part.  It was a great night at the theatre it made me laugh but at the same time I came home thinking about my own “Unused Life”. 


If you are a woman of a certain age then this show is a must for you, it will make you laugh, give you great pleasure and happiness a real nostalgic trip back to the eighties. 


Shirley Valentine runs at the New Victoria theatre until March 18th 2017 before continuing on its UK Tour

The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Southwark Playhouse | Review

The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Southwark Playhouse | Review

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"The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a fresh, visceral, exciting and moving production done perfectly in the intimate Southwark Playhouse space"



The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Wednesday 8th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Adapted for film in 2015 and based on the 2002 graphic novel by Phoebe GloecknerThe Diary of a Teenage Girl tells the story of Minnie, a teenager in San Francisco in the 1970s and her scandalous affair with her mothers boyfriend Monroe. There's drugs, sex, drama and a whole lot of growing up. This a fresh, shocking and overall moving piece of theatre done wonderfully in the intimate space of the Southwark Theatre.

Rona Morison's fantastic performance is central to the whole production and she executes each moment with ease and brilliance that is both innocent and experienced at the same time. Morison's performance is detailed and nuanced at times and just full out in your face crazy at others but each moment and movement seems well thought out and gets the story across smoothly and inventively.

The rest of the small cast give equally as wonderful performances, working together to create a disquieting parade of unsatisfactory adults. Rebecca Trehearn's portrayal of Minnie's lost, Bohemian mother is erratic but thoughtful and her time on stage brings a freshness to the production. Jamie Wilkes as Monroe comes across as more self-loathing and alone than a sexual predator and throughout the blame for Minnie's harsh coming of age is not really placed on him. Instead the focus is on the coming of age itself. 

Cleverly mixed into the performance are projections of Gloeckner's original illustrations which are charming and witty. The story telling is powerful with the actors putting their all into each moment  and being helped along with lighting and staging. 

James Nicholson's sound is done super effectively, with uncomfortable noises accompany the harsher moments of the story and portraying the torment the characters feel.

At 90 minutes straight through, this is an extraordinary look into the dramatic development of a young woman. The audience are taken on a whirlwind ride from start to finish, full of stand out performances, humour, sadness and quirkiness. All in all its a brilliant production, extremely crude at points but absolutely wonderful and crazily enjoyable.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl is at the Southwark Playhouse until March 25th

Photo credit: Darren Bell

Hamlet, Almeida Theatre | Review

Hamlet, Almeida Theatre | Review

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Hamlet
Almeida Theatre
Reviewed on Saturday 4th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Shamefully, most of my Shakespeare knowledge has come from school English lessons so I'm not the most educated on the Bard but I jumped at the chance to see this highly anticipated production of the great tragedy Hamlet. At almost four hours long you might think you'll lag towards the end but this production is so well done that you'll be gripped and wide awake throughout!

Andrew Scott of Sherlock fame takes on the mammoth feat of playing the iconic, Hamlet. You  need skill, stamina and sincerity to carry this very long play and Scott has all of these in spades. He holds the play up and commands every moment, showing a thousand different emotions and really taking the audience on a crazy, dramatic journey. Each word he speaks is filled with emotion. From quiet whispered moments to loud shouts and screams, he manages to involve the audience and create a real sense of intimacy. His performance is absolutely outstanding.

Peter Wight is brilliant as Polonius; nosy and sneaky but still likeable. Jessica Brown-Findlay as Ophelia transforms from joyful innocence to grief-stricken craziness wonderfully and gives a truly moving performance in her final scenes. Juliet Stevenson's Queen and relationship with Angus Wright's Claudius are very convincing and just shocking enough. They work very well together, showing a lot of character development throughout and using the text in new and exciting ways.

Hildegard Bechtler's set is simple but crazily effective. It seems to become more opaque as the play moves on, with the clever use of curtains and screens becoming ingrained in and crucial to the performance throughout. Along with Tom Gibbons' sparse and overwhelming score a sense of drama and being trapped/followed is ever present.

Robert Icke has created a truly brilliant production. From explosive moments to moments of silence, the audience are kept gripped and the four hours goes by in a tick. The performance is humorous and shocking at the same time whilst embodying the eerie intensity that Shakespeare is so well known for. Every crevice of the play has been fully thought through and the character work from rehearsals is clear in every moment on stage.

This is an impeccable production from a stupendously talented and well rounded cast. The show has been brought into the modern world perfectly and effectively. There's light and shade, humour and sadness, love and hate and so much more. Truly brilliant!

Hamlet runs at the Almeida Theatre until April 15th. The production is currently sold out but it's well worth queuing for a return ticket!

Photo by: Manuel Harlan

Swifties,Theatre N16 | Review

Swifties,Theatre N16 | Review

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Swifties
Theatre N16
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st March 2017 by Esther Matthews
★★

Swifties…To start, I didn’t hate it. Overall I could see what the script writer and director were trying to do however somewhere in the mix something went slightly wrong. 

Swifties, based on the French play The Maids written by Jean Genet, follows the lives of two girls who claim to be Taylor Swifts “Biggest Fans” and how their attempt to murder the superstar doesn’t quite go the way they wanted. Isabella Niloufar and Tanya Cubric were brilliant as the plays main characters. Their portrayal of two slightly mad teens was humorous but terrifying at the same time. They are ones to watch out for in the wider theatre circle. 

Theatre N16 is situated above a pub in Balham, it was the perfect setting for a play like this. The theatre itself was very small with only a handful of chairs to sit on making your experience very inclusive and intimate. The set was very minimal with simple lighting which pulled you into the scene. As an audience member sometimes big sets and props can capture your attention but the actors managed to keep you captivated throughout. 

I had a problem with the script. There didn’t seem to be any structure to it. The girls did a good job at improvising but overall the script lacked good dialogue and felt slow. The Maids is rarely done in large venues or professional theatre but I think it is a very relevant story with many important themes. In the current social climate this is the kind of work that needs to be noticed. It highlights the trouble that we as a nation have with race, gender and social media/celebrities. 

For such a small stage the director did a good job. Luke Davies has had rave reviews from his previous production and if this play transferred to a larger venue I can understand what his vision would be. 


I would recommend seeing Swifties, there are good and bad points to make about this production. It certainly leaves you with questions.  

Swifts runs at Theatre N16 until March 11th

Ugly Lies The Bone, National Theatre | Review

Ugly Lies The Bone, National Theatre | Review

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Ugly Lies The Bone
Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Unless you've ever been on a tour of Afghanistan as a soldier, I would assume it's pretty impossible to ever know what it must be like. To experience pain, death and sadness so up close must be truly horrific and coming back to a family and community who have changed and moved on without experiencing that? I can't imagine.

Ugly Lies The Bone, a new play by American playwright Lindsey Ferrentino, aims to shed light on this as well as exploring virtual reality therapy which trials show, has been successful in reducing pain levels in those who have suffered serious injuries.

The play tells the story of Jess played by Kate Fleetwood, who has come home after three tours of Afghanistan to her Florida town in the heart of Nasa county. Awfully disfigured and struggling to deal with the constant pain, she must learn to adjust to her life which is not as she remembers it.

In a bid to move on with her life she agrees to take part in an experimental virtual reality therapy programme which aims to reduce her pain levels. She is taken into a virtual world of snow capped mountains and delicate, falling feathers where she begins to experience life without pain again.

Over the course of 90 minutes we watch the story of Jess and those around her adapting and recovering both mentally and physically.

Kate performs the cynical, frustrated character very well, showing the struggles very truthfully through a stunning performance. Ralf Little is also wonderful as the bumbling Stevie who is facing an internal struggle of his own.

For me, I found the play fell a little flat. Because we didn't get to see Jess before her injuries it was hard to see any character development and therefore hard to see how the virtual reality therapy worked. Overall there was just not enough character development and I felt that there was not enough solid dialogue or storyline to make the audience empathise with them.

The set and stunning design are brilliant and really do immerse the audience in the virtual world but I would have loved a stronger storyline to back it up. The whole cast give extremely solid performances but no real plot means there isn't a final resolution and overall there is a flatness.

Ugly Lies The Bone is on at the National Theatre until June 6th.

Photo: Mark Douet
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