Posts with the label soho theatre
Showing posts with label soho theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soho theatre. Show all posts

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Sex/Crime, Soho Theatre | Review


Sex/Crime
Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 by Jake C Macpherson
★★★

The show opens to a simplistic set draped in plastic sheets and not much else but a single sofa – so many questions were initially made as an audience member as to what was going to happen throughout the next 60 minutes. This added to the complete suspense that was felt from the get go.

The production opens with the sudden entrance of ‘A’ and ‘B’. ‘A’ offers a service to recreate the killings of famous serial killers for the pleasure of random men. Enter ‘B’ who has booked himself in for an ‘authentic experience’ this doesn’t quite turn out to be what he has paid for…

Alexis Gregory, who plays ‘B’ in the production also wrote the show. Combined with the direction of Robert Chevara they have created this dark, new piece of theatre, which at moments is so relatable and humorous for a London audience. Names of well-known London locations are scattered liberally throughout the piece, giving the audience a real sense of place and time. This generally gives an immersive feeling. Gregory has a very unique style of writing and is very straight to the point in what he wants the audience to hear. The cut-throat reality of what is being said is jarring, but at moments feels almost poetic.


Multiple themes are explored throughout the show: the age of social media, violence, sexual fantasies and queerness to name a few. I don’t particularly feel as though all of the themes are easily translated and it is left to the audience to make personal conclusions throughout. But I do feel as though this adds to the performance. The sharp-witted humour often carries the piece and is well received by the entire audience.

Jonny Woo (‘A’), and Alexis Gregory (‘B’) play the two polar opposite characters in acting style and personality. During the show it's clear their relationship grows closer together and finds a balance between their emotional states. Both Woo and Gregory work well to hold an entire audiences’ engagement and towards the end, the audience do begin to connect with both characters. The chemistry between them was clear from the moment they entered the stage, and they both remain strong throughout.

It's hard to imagine this show re-staged in a bigger venue, as the Soho Theatre really offers a sense of intimacy and the tension of the piece really translates well in a black box studio Theatre. In essence Sex/Crime is a vulnerable and intimate piece of theatre which tackles the fetish of sexual violence in a modern society.

SEX/CRIME runs at the SOHO Theatre until 1st February 2020

photo credit: Matt Spike

Sex/Crime, Soho Theatre | Review

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The View Upstairs, Soho Theatre | Review


The View Upstairs 
Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 23rd July by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Whilst victories in the LGBTQ+ community are rising, and social attitudes and actions are, for the most part, much more positive, there's still much to fight for, as Max Vernon's musical highlights.

In its European premiere at the Soho Theatre, The View Upstairs cleverly creates a conversation between the past and present by visiting the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar which was the subject of an arson attack in 1973 which killed 32 people. The tragic story is one which has often been wiped out from history and was even minimised by news outlets at the time, so it's an honour to see it brought to life so thoughtfully. 

The story follows Wes, the 2019 "influencer" and fashion designer who is buying the dilapidated bar in the modern day. His estate agent leaves, and in a somewhat mystical, drug-filled flurry of curtains, he is transported back to the bar as it was on the day of the fire. Who we are then introduced to are the various people, decked out in bell bottoms, who find solace and friendship in the safe space the UpStairs provides. Wes' eyes are gradually opened to he struggles of being gay in the 70s and he questions how he leads his life in the modern day. 

Wes is a smartphone-addicted go-getter who often veers into a caricature of a Gen Y person, but is  still intensely entertaining and relatable. As a whole the book features a lot of stereotypes which are not always believable enough, but there are hilarious one-liners throughout, as well as many thought-provoking moments. 


What the script lacks is made up for in spades by the utterly phenomenal cast. Tyrone Huntley is effervescent in his performance and provides vocals which need to be heard; Huntley also manages to create a fantastic balance between impudence and vulnerability, which really makes the audience root for him. The chemistry between the entire cast is second to none, with Wes and Patrick (Andy Mientus) providing especially well thought out interactions. Mientus draws the eye thanks to his incredibly subtle but highly calculated movements which make him seem as though he isn't acting at all.

The uniformly thrilling cast bring vocals that will cause involuntary whoops and goosebumps in equal measure. Among a team of stars, Carly Mercedes Dyer and Cedric Neal stand out because of their powerhouse voices which ring out with sincerity as well as power. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt is magnetic as the caring, religious mother Inez; whilst Garry Lee provides vocals and sass and her drag queen son Freddy. John Partridge and Declan Bennett are well rounded and striking in their performances and Joseph Prouse and Derek Hagen give memorable, if brief performances. This is a fantastic ensemble piece which has momentum and catchy tunes, but more importantly, heart.

Fabian Aloise and Ruthie Stevens's choreography is slick and feels part of the characters own movements. Lee Newby's set is basic but evocative as is Nic Farman's lighting which expertly matches the moods of the show, although at times felt just a bit too dark.

Jonathan O'Boyle has directed a moving production which feels like an homage to those fighting for gay rights in the past, those fighting now and those who are yet to realise they need to fight. 

photo credit: Darren Bell

The View Upstairs, Soho Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Friday, 3 August 2018

Sacrifice, Soho Theatre | Review


Sacrifice
Soho Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 2nd August 2018 by Shaun Dicks
★★★★

Millennials, calling all Millennials. Take your faces out of the illumination of your phone (after reading this review) and pay attention. This is all Sacrifice asks of you. The run is limited. The length is short. But the message is powerful. Sacrifice brings to the spotlight the crisis that we as a generation face. Extortionate house prices, lack of opportunity outside university, gentrified communities and increasing debt. Using archetypal characters, you are given a cross-section of the those that make up society and presented to you is a story of a group of young millennials trying to get by while chasing their dreams in a city that is ruthless and stone cold. 

Despite all the severe topics that are brought to the fore here, Sacrifice is an incredibly witty and humorous play. The jokes are well planned in the script and executed perfectly by the ensemble cast. One liners come thick and fast, the next one easily as funny as the last. The presentation of the script is outstanding as the performers are snappy and make words buzz with energy as the exchanges go on. Overall, the work the whole cast put in pays off, as their performances shine through. 


What really got to me as I as watching this piece was how unrelenting this show is when it comes to the truth. This show, I believe is the beginning of opening up conversations about the crisis we face today. A crisis that gets white washed in the media. This brings the problems to our very front door. Sacrifice is a ruthless dissection of human psychology and the nature of millennials. This show urges us to challenge what we’re told and fight for more than the scraps that are being handed out. When it boils down to it, the show is about the ever-growing class and wealth divide in this country. 

So please, I beg you, get off your phone, run down to the Soho Theatre, watch Sacrifice while you can. Don’t do what you do in elections and referendums; stop ignoring and start acting. Watch this show, try to tell me you don’t see and hear some familiarities. This here is art imitating life. 

Sacrifice runs at the Soho Theatre until 4th August

photo credit: Mark Douet

Sacrifice, Soho Theatre | Review

Friday, 3 August 2018

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Jayde Adams is Jayded, Soho Theatre | Review



Jayde Adams is Jayded

Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 11th December 2017 by Shaun Dicks
★★★★★

Open on the West End, Soho Theatre. A hotbed of theatre and comedic excellence. We find ourselves in the Downstairs space, the set up is of a comedy club. The bar, a scattering of tables and chairs, and an elevated stage that’s dressed with a park bench and a piano. We are welcomed with music from Musical Theatre and Pop Culture. As I wrote before the show, we are in for a hell of a night.

A hell of a night was had by all. Jayde Adams is a beautifully voluptuous woman who takes us on a journey full of laughs. She takes us through a wonderfully crafted set all about popularity and success. Through various devices like mime, song, best friend tests and audience interaction Adams made me cry laughing. Her timing was so perfect, so on point that despite a few word stumbles, everything landed. 

One of the highlights of the show was Adams use of song, her original songs were Tim Minchin esque and her not so original songs were executed perfectly. The musical aspect of the show was truly satisfying. Another highlight was Adams’ use of the best friend test. This involved using a member of the audience, which by nature is a tricky thing, but Adams navigated it perfectly. This writer was buying what she was selling when Adams broke out the wigs and fan, giving the audience a BeyoncĂ© moment that we will never forget. She was willing to improvise and play with the audience as the show went along. She had the audience in the palm of her hands. 

As Adams said during the show, she smashed it. Adams reminded me of my Aunt, with her warm Bristolian accent shewas crass, boisterous and unapologetic in the best way. It is a show that deserves to be seen, it’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made. You will cry with laughter. A sprinkle of happiness in the holiday season.

Jayde Adams is Jayded, Soho Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Friday, 8 December 2017

Sinners Club, Soho Theatre | Review


Sinners Club
Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 7th December 2017 by Shaun Dicks 
★★★★

The Soho Theatre invites you to the Sinners Club. We find ourselves in the Upstairs space of this buzzing theatre in the heart of London’s West End. As we walk in we are welcomed by a room set in the round, decorated as an old school recording studio; many an old-fashioned rug, musical instruments and microphones, soundproofing on the wall as well as a few photographs. Scattered around the studio space are members of the band playing light Jazz music to set the mood. 

The concept of the album is simple, its based on the story of the last woman to be hanged in the UK. The original songs written and performed by Lucy Rivers and the band The Bad Mothers- tailored around the story of Ruth Ellis- are an eclectic mix of genres that seem to pulsate through Rivers as they affect her own character narrative as well as the albums. As Rivers enters to start the show, she is this fierce woman in black, taking control of the room. Rivers throughout the show is energetic and intriguing as she goes through the narrative of the concept album. 

However, one of her flaws was her reliance on the audience and audience interaction. The reliance on an audience is a double-edged sword dependant on the audience itself, it can be a struggle for an audience to lose inhibitions and join in. Rivers needs to pick her moments and judge the moments when she does or doesn’t interact. Another thing that needs altering within the show is the amount of dead air in-between songs. As a performer myself I appreciate the device of silence but when its long periods, it becomes a period of time for the audience to wander. 


Despite these flaws of the show, the music really made it- in a world of music made by computers in the mainstream and the jazz hands of the West End - this was a refreshing use of alternative types of music. The whole band was slick, and looked like they were having fun throughout the show. Rivers’ voice soared throughout, despite her over use of falsetto. What truly impressed this writer though was the musicianship packed within the show. The sheer volume of different instruments used was brilliant and to a very high quality. I personally appreciate musicians and musicianship, having worked with a few myself, so to have a live band and for it perform so well, it really brought a smile to my face. 

If you’re looking for something a little different, take up your invitation for the Sinners Club, because despite its flaws, there are many a good aspect of this show to enjoy. This show is the palate cleanser that the West End is craving. Try something different and enjoy a night of music that you will not forget in a hurry.

Sinners Club runs at the Soho Theatre until December 30th

photo credit: Kieran Cudlip

Sinners Club, Soho Theatre | Review

Friday, 8 December 2017