We Anchor in Hope, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

It’s the last night to have a drink at the Anchor before it’s sold to developers who will turn it into luxury flats or a Pret A Manger. Landlord Kenny, his staff and a couple of locals are celebrating the end of an era by drinking the bar dry, but the more they drink, the more their secrets threaten to ruin the good memories of a local community.

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Tick, Tick…Boom!, Bridge House Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

Before Jonathan Larson’s iconic musical RENT took the world by storm, there was the autobiographical show, Tick, Tick…Boom!. Originally performed by Larson as an solo show before his tragic death in 1996, the piece was later revamped into a three-hander by David Autumn.

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The Merchant of Venice, Drayton Arms

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By Laura Kressly

Should we even be staging Shakespeare’s anti-Semitic play featuring a Jewish moneylender depicted as an unfeeling avenger, forced conversion to Christianity and reams of violent language? I’m inclined to say no, but this production goes some way in counteracting the anti-Semitism. Though the contemporary context is largely superficial rather than embedded into the story and it’s not always clear which character is which, director Alex Pearson has fought against the script’s inherent racism with the addition of Jewish prayers and a movement sequence.

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Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp., Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

A new Caryl Churchill play is a special occasion, but four at once is a treat. Radically different in tone and theme, this collection ranges from pleasantly surreal to shocking and strange. Though they stand alone as short plays, as a whole they take on an array of society’s ills – but the pronounced concepts that Churchill is known for occasionally stale here, despite regular moments of brilliance.

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Anansi the Spider, Unicorn Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

They say that a long time ago animals could talk, just like people do now. Anansi the spider was the smartest of all these ancient creatures, and used his intelligence for all sorts of nefarious aims. His legacy of scheming lives on as a collection of stories from West Africa to the Caribbean. This new production presents three of them where the mythical trickster isn’t always the nicest, but directed by Artistic Director Justin Audibert for 4-7 year-olds, they are engaging morality tales with music, interaction and excellent performances.

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Chiaroscuro, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Beth, Opal, Aisha and Yomi are working-class women of colour. They’re busy with dates, dinner parties, and games of pool at their local, over which they bond, confide and fight. Their stories are punctuated by soulful songs providing further insight into their fears, insecurities and loves. These women could easily be young Londoners today – but Jackie Kay’s gig-theatre show was written in 1986. This relevant, moving production addressing issues of sexuality and identity, and centered on characters that are often left out of theatrical narratives, is a vital and vibrant contribution to contemporary theatre.

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Big: The Musical, Dominion Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

It initially seems like a harmless premise – after a tween boy in early 90s New Jersey is embarrassed in front of the girl he has a crush on, he makes a wish that he was bigger on a fortune telling game at the carnival passing through town. On waking up the next morning, he discovers he’s still 12 years old, but in the body of a grown man. Though his mum chases him out of the house, his best friend Billy offers to help him track down the machine and reverse the spell.

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