by Laura Kressly
Determining a Top 10 has become increasingly troublesome what with the amount of work reviewed by guest critics and the even larger amount that we get invited to but aren’t able to see. So, rather than a more traditional ‘best-of’ list, here’s a totally subjective list of a few of my favourite things – in no particular order – from theatre and performance in 2019.
by guest critic Amy Toledano
A stage dressed with cardboard cut outs of Donald Trump, three members of One Direction and a children’s play house are just some of the elements that make up this monologue of a recovering children’s entertainer. Joseph Cullen, or put more plainly Joe, who enters the space in a complete Princess Leia outfit, introduces himself to us as exactly this, and then continues to surprise us from that moment on.
I didn’t have any particular expectations from Joe Sellman-Leava’s new play on male violence. But I am joyfully surprised by an opening montage of rapidly-delivered Shakespeare, ranging from Othello to Taming of the Shrew. Disarmingly vicious in its delivery, this scene snaps into an audition for a play, then a house in Exeter, then the video research material for Joe’s character, and back again.
Phina Oruche has had an extraordinary career. Growing up in Liverpool to Nigerian parents and desperately wanting to see more of the world, she let her best friend Amy talk her into doing a modelling photoshoot as a teenager. Soon she found herself living and working in London, then New York and LA. Eventually tiring of the high fashion world and feeling the pull of her home, she moved back to the UK where he career led her firmly into the film and telly world. Now a mum and conflicted about the cultural pushing and pulling on her life, she examines who she really is the self-penned Identity Crisis. The punchy tapestry of characters and experiences has messy and confusing moments and no clear resolution or story, but it’s brimming with heart and life.
by guest critic Jo Trainor
“An actor who needs money? What a unique situation!”
A long lost Kafka play is having its premiere on Broadway. Two big Hollywood action stars are playing the leads, but the fickle nature of unseen Bruce means they’ve had to cast Harry as an understudy. Breaking the fourth wall to speak to the audience, Harry takes us through his first rehearsal with actor Jake and stage manager Roxanne.