Posts with the label comedy
Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Play That Goes Wrong, The Duchess Theatre | Review


The Play That Goes Wrong
The Duchess Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 10th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

The Play That Goes Wrong and all of Mischief Theatre's productions have gained somewhat of a cult following thanks to their un-stuffy, melodramatic and outrageously slapstick set ups, which thrill regular theatre goers and less frequent attenders alike. The show throws buckets of energy out as it takes on the form of a whodunnit and is authentically British.

The story follows an amateur dramatic group, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, as they attempt to wow audiences with their version of the 1920s murder mystery The Murder at Haversham Manor. Well what follows is a production that is less wow and more woe. The sets collapse, the plot goes wrong and literal anarchy ensues. Thankfully for us, this is all done with hilarious humour as the cast embody the motto that the show must go on. 

Everything about this production is choreographed chaos, as every trick and accident is pulled off with such a natural flow that it feels improvised, but in reality is precisely organised. Daring tricks are carried out as actors fall from the ceiling, jump out of windows and play their own version of twister as they try to keep the set and props in place. 

At times the production does teeter on the edge of being too slapstick but most of the time it beautifully draws back to remain funny. This really is a show down to personal taste and for some it'll will certainly be too over the top and not enough thespian but for a completely carefree night of theatre, there's no reason to miss it.

Thanks to the wonderfully strong cast, this production rattles along with efficiency and intensity. Often breaking the fourth wall and including the audience in the action, this really becomes a raucous piece of communal theatre. With pantomime antics and tricks which will keep you on your toes, The Play That Goes Wrong is a belly-laugh inducing piece of theatre which will continue to entertain and surprise during it's fifth year in London. 

The Play That Goes Wrong, The Duchess Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Monday, 29 July 2019

Games for Lovers, The Vaults | Review


Games for Lovers
The Vaults
Reviewed on Friday 26th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Making its world premiere at The Vaults underneath Waterloo station, Games For Lovers examines the fast-paced, complicated, often embarrassing and downright tough topic of love and how it fits into a modern world.

The play, written by Ryan Craig follows four individuals looking for love, a connection or just someone to spend the night with. The incredibly talented actors are energetic and dynamic throughout, with many memorable moments, however, at times the dialogue does feel a little claggy. The interludes of playful, almost game-like scenes are entertaining but seem somewhat like games that would be played in the rehearsal room. That's not to say they aren't enjoyable to watch, but they have minimal effect on the storyline and therefore feel detrimental to the pacing of the play.

The small cast are really outstanding though. Calum Callaghan is believable and relatable as Logan as he struggles with his emotions and the pressures to have a relationship. Tessie Orange-Turner is completely in charge of the stage in the entirety of her scenes. A masterful actor, her subtle mannerisms, facial expressions and gestures convey a boat load of subtext behind each line of dialogue. She has fantastic chemistry with the other three; the role-play scene with Callaghan is particularly entertaining.


Evanna Lynch is beautifully warm as Martha, consistently bringing an aura of sincerity whilst also providing spades of humour. Billy Postlethwaite is  utterly fantastic as the charismatic, often non-pc but always humourous Darren, who is imbued with both energy and vulnerability.

Simon Scullion's vibrant and playful set with Ben and Max Ringham's sound and Matt Haskins' lighting, all add to the dynamic of the show and make it feel like a mix of game show and Netflix rom-com. Overall it feels very of the moment and perfectly fitting for millennials today.

Whilst there is definitely some room to make all four characters fully rounded and cohesive, this is a fantastic debut for Games for Lovers. The cast are clearly tight knit and thanks to Anthony Banks' strong direction, everyone provides a comfortable, enjoyable and fun performance.

Games for Lovers isn't going to leave you questioning your life choices but it will leave you beaming from an utterly hilarious and fantastically enjoyable two hours.

Games For Lovers plays at The Vaults until August 25th

photo credit: Geraint Lewis

Games for Lovers, The Vaults | Review

Monday, 29 July 2019

Friday, 15 February 2019

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Sydney Lyric Theatre | Review


Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Sydney Lyric Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 13th February 2019 by Amy Mitchell 
★★★★

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is a theatrical disaster panto crammed with slapstick calamities and magic misadventures. The production is framed around the JM Barrie classic and follows the formula that delighted past audiences with The Play That Goes Wrong, from the same creators Mischief Worldwide Theatre Company. 

We’re introduced to a fictional and farcical troupe of amateur dramatists come outright nincompoops and their hapless attempt at putting on a play of Peter Pan. The scene is set on a revolving stage encompassing the Darling’s nursery, Neverland, the lagoon and a pirate ship. From the opening scene pandemonium explodes with absurd tomfoolery and monstrous malfunctions - lines are fluffed up, there are trips and falls galore, bunk-beds collapse, infidelities are exposed, stage-hands and props go rogue, Captain Hook has a minor emotional breakdown, Peter is concussed and Tinkerbell almost snuffs it. 

A wildly energetic ensemble cast with brilliant comic timing have the audience chortling at the relentless abundance of frantic visual comedy, corny gags and quick change disasters. Where it’s light on musical numbers (although one will have you toe tapping home) it’s brimming with exuberant physical wit. 


The cast are multi-task magicians, with stand-out performances from Tammy Weller jumping hysterically between housekeeper Liza, Mary Darling, Tiger-Lily and Tinkerbell and Jordan Prosser flitting between 4 year old Michael Darling (complete with baby pink pyjamas), desperate but loveable Max and unwitting underdog hero, the crocodile. Francine Cain triumphs with an over-acted shimmy-athon as Sandra and Wendy Darling and Connor Crawford’s patriarchal parodies as the director, Daddy Darling and Captain Hook are wonderful. 

With only a smattering of surprises, the audience could anticipate the choreographed mayhem before it happened, and while the repetition stifled a few extra laughs, you’d be hard pressed not to maintain a delighted grin throughout at the playful and precise absurdity of it all. 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs at the Sydney Lyric Theatre until 3rd March 2019

photo credit: David Watson



Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Sydney Lyric Theatre | Review

Friday, 15 February 2019

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Hot Gay Time Machine, Trafalgar Studios | Review



Hot Gay Time Machine
Trafalgar Studios 2
Reviewed on Tuesday 4th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Fun, flamboyance and festivity, Hot Gay Time Machine is probably the most fun you'll have at the theatre this year (and next year when it'll no doubt be ruling the West End and the world). Conceived by Zak Ghazi-Torbati, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, this show is a ridiculously humourous look and laugh at life as a hot (privileged) gay. With a pink carpet and sparkles abounding, Trafalgar Studios becomes the time machine as Zak and Toby travel through a series of iconic moments in their lives, accompanied by a catchy, riotous soundtrack.

Zak and Toby have done an outstanding job of creating a show that feels fresh, modern, exciting, wild and amusing but also has moments that are moving and informative.  Alongside innuendos and outright unruly behaviour there are sweet moments about gay-splaining and coming out which are looked at with sincerity and fun.


Asides from the fantastically witty writing, it's the chemistry between the pair which makes this show a surefire success. The duo bounce off one another as if the whole show is impromptu, and there are a number of moments where they ad lib and give one another knowing glances that just add to the already extra humour. Toby deftly plays the piano whilst singing his soul off and Zak provides vocals for days as well as witty one liners and harmonies to give you life. 

In all honesty there's not much  more I can say about this show other than: GO SEE IT. If you want to laugh your face off and have 75 minutes of pure, unadulterated, gay fabulousness alongside absolutely stellar performances, Hot Gay Time Machine is the show you need in your life. Go now or commit a small hate crime.

Hot Gay Time Machine runs at Trafalgar Studios 2 until January 5th 2019

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Hot Gay Time Machine, Trafalgar Studios | Review

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Benidorm Live (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review


Benidorm (UK Tour)
Bristol Hippodrome 

Reviewed on Monday 19th November 2018 by Emma Gradwell
★★★★


After ten years on our television screens, the long running sitcom Benidorm has found a new home on stage as a national touring production. Written by Derren Litten, the result is a mix of familiar storylines and musical interludes which give us two hours of uncomplicated silliness. The show is largely driven by double entendres and the saucy seaside humour you will have come to expect. 

The show is led by six familiar actors from the television cast and the audience were very pleased to see them, with huge cheers to be heard as they appeared on stage for the first time. The storyline works for both fans of the original show and new audiences. 

Two middle class holidaymakers, Sophie and Ben (played by Tricia Adele-Turner and Bradley Clarkson), find themselves at the 3½ star all-inclusive hotel, The Solana, when their original hotel is overbooked – and they are not impressed. Bribery and seduction are the obvious answer when Hotel Manager Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson) decides they must be undercover hotel inspectors tasked with shutting them down. 



Jacqueline (Janine Duvitski), a member of the Swingers Association, and her very open-minded friend, ‘Gay Derek’ (Damian Williams), baffle the newcomers with their friendly charms. Duvitski is a master comedienne – and Jacqueline’s rendition of “Rubber Ball” at Karaoke Night is one of the shows highlights. There were even a few nods to Jacqueline’s late husband, Donald, and his penchant for their alternative lifestyle, which fortunately for us, Jacqueline is still thoroughly enjoying as a singleton. 

Adam Gillen’s Liam is as quirky and na├»ve as he is on screen, and his continued devotion to his absent father, Leslie, and his Solana family are charming. Tony Maudsley as Kenneth, owner of the on-site hair and beauty salon, ‘Blow and Go’, gives a slick comedic performance. His naughty slogan t-shirts are in full force, my favourite being ‘Mince, Wince, Repeat’. 

Stellar dance moves are provided by Jake Canuso (a former dancer) as barman and lothario, Mateo, and new staff member, Ricky (Will Jennings). Shelley Longworth as Travel Rep, Sam provides cabaret at Neptune’s Nightclub alongside Neptune’s own crooner, Asa Elliott, belting out some favourite holiday tunes. What was lacking was a live band, which for a production of this size was disappointing. 



The clever set design by Mark Walters took us from reception to poolside via the Salon and eventually to Neptune’s Nightclub for the second half. Director Ed Curtis pulls it all together seamlessly and at two hours, five minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome. 

Benidorm Live is cheesy, camp and refreshingly unpolitical, and I came away still chuckling about Jacqueline’s pink pussy and the sausage in cider.


Benidorm Live runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until  24th November, before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Paul Coltas 


Benidorm Live (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four, Apollo Theatre | Review


Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four
Apollo Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 3rd August 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

As we exited the the Apollo theatre after spending 70 minutes with historical figures from Britain's history, a young boy exclaimed "That was soooooo exciting!", and he was correct! As with the hit television show and series of exceptionally successful books, Horrible Histories manages to turn historical lessons into hilarious, memorable events which have you howling and learning in equal measure.

Written and directed by Neal Foster, Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four takes us through some of the most well-known and random events in British history with the typical Horrible Histories style of slapstick comedy, humourous songs and a little dose of audience participation. 

A man of many talents, Neal is also the manager of the Birmingham Stage Company and one half of the duo who bring this show to life. Joined by Anthony Spargo (Roger) the two bring spades of energy and enough facial expressions to last a lifetime. Bouncing off of each other and looking as though they're genuinely having a great time on stage, the pair are perfect at entertaining without being ridiculous.


Barmy Britain is what you expect it to be... but better! There's really nothing you can complain about. It provides everything you could wish for, brings a genuine smile to your face and is children's theatre of the highest degree. It's also wonderful how affordable the show is for families, with tickets from £13 and merchandise ranging between £1-£6 it's a perfect summer treat.

Whilst my mum and I are definitely not the target audience for this show, we certainly enjoyed it the same amount as the children who filled the theatre. Not only does the humour of the show have you invested but the gasps and laughter from enthralled children can't help but bring a smile to your face. Barmy Britain is definitely fun for all ages and is the ideal way to spend a summer afternoon- plus you'll learn some facts about our country which you may never have heard before!

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four runs at the Apollo Theatre until September 1st.

photo credit: Mark Douet

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four, Apollo Theatre | Review

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Louise Dearman: This is Me, The Other Palace | Review


Louise Dearman: This is Me (Concert) 
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Saturday 19th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Louise Dearman is West End royalty so it's only fitting that her first solo concert in four years took place on the day of the royal wedding. The question is: who's the bigger queen? Well Meghan may actually be royalty now but Louise's killer voice, perfect humour and all round brilliant stage presence certainly makes her a Queen in my eyes.

Last night's concert at The Other Palace felt like a family coming together to celebrate Louise. I must admit I'd never seen Ms Dearman in a solo concert before but looking around at the smiling faces and hearing the instant applause made it clear that her loyal supporters and friends were all there to revel in the gloriousness of her performance. There was no hesitation in cheering, joining in to clap or laughing out loud; the audience were so giving and I can only imagine how great that must feel as a performer. 

Louise's performance was faultless. Her natural wit and charm had me smiling from ear to ear and just feeling joyous. The concert featured a number of songs from new album For You, For Me which includes songs Louise has fallen in love with over the years and songs fans have asked her to sing. Particular stand out's of the night were Easy as Life which was effortlessly beautiful and Time Heals Everything which not only sounded glorious but rekindled my love for Mack and Mabel. Other standouts were the haunting, Uninvited, heartfelt She Used to Be Mine and the wonderful Donna Summer medley.

The band were outstanding as were Louise's backup singers/duet partners. Ashley Samuels sounded especially beautiful durning his duet of City of Stars. The delight on everyone's faces was evident which made the killer vocals even more impressive.


Obviously Louise's powerhouse belt mixed with smooth vocals are outstanding but it's her charisma which makes a night like this so special. From the get go she commands the stage and is genuinely funny. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at a concert and am truly honoured to have been a part of the night. Louise's quick wit goes a mile a minute and she fills every moment of no singing with a joke, anecdote or hilarious facial expression which keeps the show flowing and the audience invested through the concerts entirety. Particularly hilarious was when Louise restarted her song after singing it in a MirandaSings style (not that it sounded bad to me at all!), a self-confessed lyric forgetter, Louise is professional at carrying on and makes light of any mistakes and she certainly didn't forget as many lyrics as this iconic performance of June is Busting Out All Over. 

Everyone who was a part of this concert was outstanding and it was a truly mesmerising night. Louise Dearman is a spellbinding performer and I can only hope it's not another four years until we get to experience this joy again. Louise told the audience to never be afraid of asking her to sing songs so I'd like to put my request in that she performs the entire phone book... alternatively a gender-switched version of Moving Too Fast from The Last 5 Years.

Louise's album For You, For Me is available now.

Louise Dearman: This is Me, The Other Palace | Review

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The Book of Mormon, Sydney's Lyric Theatre | Review


The Book of Mormon
Lyric Theatre, Sydney
Reviewed on Tuesday 10th March 2018 by Amy Mitchell
★★★★

The Book of Mormon opened on Broadway in 2011 and since then has been showered with Tony Awards, international re-runs and widespread critical acclaim. Now, I’m a self-confessed sucker for show tunes, but to my own surprise I had little to no idea what this mammoth in musical theatre was all about before I took my seat (3 rows from the front- smug!) in Sydney’s Lyric Theatre last week… 

Writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of South Park) and songwriter Robert Lopez (Disney’s Frozen ring any bells?) joined forces to concoct a joyous melange of politically incorrect subject matter, riotous stereotyping and unapologetically crass humour all tied up in an oddly charming, toe tappingly melodic bow. 

Book of Mormon follows the journey of two young Mormons and their quest to spread the word of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Elder Price is a cookie cutter Mormon poster boy while Elder Cunningham is a hyperactive, loveable dork with a penchant for lying and Sci-fi movies. This unlikely duo is sent to a remote Ugandan village on a quest to convert its inhabitants to the Latter Day Saints. Their visions of an Africa a la Lion King are abruptly shattered as they encounter AIDS, female genital mutilation and a tyrannical warlord with an unprintable moniker. 


As Elder Cunningham, Broadway’s own A.J. Holmes dominated the stage with his enormous presence and side splitting physical comedy. It was one of those performances where it’s nigh on impossible to imagine there being an actor behind the character. 

Elder Price was played by understudy Steve Danielsen. Danielsen was superb, his all Australian good looks and strong vocal performances managed to make the audience warm to an obnoxious and potentially unlikeable character. 

In fact, the entire cast was stellar. It’s impossible to decipher who stole the show. Aside from our two main Missionaries, the best performance title could equally have gone to PJ Adzima who played Mission Leader Elder McKinley. His energy could genuinely take your breath away. Also a close contender was Aussie local, Zahra Newman who played Nabulungi, daughter of the village chief. Her vocals in Sal Tlay Ka Siti (Salt Lake City) were nothing short of heavenly. 


The Book of Mormon score/lyrics are brilliant and will have you cringing in half delight at the controversial lyrics peppered with comedic hooks. Spooky Mormon Hell had the audience erupting in laughter and Joseph Smith American Moses is equally hysterical. 

Each song draws inspiration from well-known musicals, e.g. Hasa Diga Eebowai is reminiscent of the Lion King’s Hakuna Matata. Challenge – try and guess the parody. Hint – think West Side Story, Avenue Q, Fiddler on the Roof, Wicked and Hairspray. 

There’s been a certain amount of hullabaloo surrounding the religious and racial overtones of the show. I’m actually surprised Book of Mormon got the go ahead (and unsure if it would if it was pitched in 2018!) but I’m not surprised it went onto become a smash hit. To me, it delivers on so many levels and the delightfully distasteful satire (in true Trey Parker and Matt Stone style) has a palpable social conscience.


Wickedly witty, The Book of Mormon pokes fun at the seemingly un-pokeable and ultimately manages to leave the audience with the cheerfully uncomfortable warm fuzzies. It’s also fantastic to see homegrown Australian talent holding their own (and killing it) alongside the Broadway greats.

The Book of Mormon runs at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney until 2nd September

photo credit: Jeff Busby

The Book of Mormon, Sydney's Lyric Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians, Wilton's Music Hall | Review


Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians 
Wilton's Music Hall 
Reviewed on Wednesday 25th April 2018 by Nicola Louise
★★★★★

Just when you think magic has died, in come Morgan and West the time travelling magicians armed with some spiffing looks, a couple of top hats and of course a trusty pack of cards. The two take on Wilton's Music Hall with flair and brilliance.

This is not just your average music show, Morgan and West have a theme. As the name suggests,  they time travel! The pair incorporate comedy, ad libbing, suspense and the  all things 1900s into a 90 minute show. With audience participation involved, this is a show that both adults and kids alike can get involved with and the magicians really they really know how to hold a crowd from the word go.


The tricks on stage are a mix of some I've seen before and some I haven't, but the child in me can't get enough and I could gladly watched them all night. They are skilled as well as witty and really capture the essence of magic.

Although the stage has quite a few props on it and is decorated in a way that implied they were going to be used more, they were used, and needed, very little.

I was lucky (or unlucky depending on how you see it!) to be called up on stage. Now, what I was part of is not one for the faint hearted but the outcome will amaze you... I won't say more to spoil the surprise...

If you've always questioned magicians I recommend you see this show. The comedy alone will leave you wanting more, and if you're like me, you'll want to back again and again to try and work out how everything is done! 

Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians is on at the Wilton's Music Hall until the 28th April, take your mum, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nan, grandad... bring everyone! You won't want to miss out.

Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians, Wilton's Music Hall | Review

Wednesday, 25 April 2018