The Flies – Les Mouches, Bunker Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote this in 1943, at the height of Nazi occupation of Europe. The adaptation of the Orestes myth centres on the city of Argos, ruled by King Aegisthus, who deposed and killed the previous ruler Agamemnon 15 years previously. Aegisthus then married Agamemnon’s wife Clytemnestra, enslaved their daughter Electra, and sent the young Orestes out into the woods to die. Since then, the city has been plagued by giant flies and the civilians must lead sombre and mournful lives – but Orestes has now returned to exact his revenge. This update is well-staged with a clear aesthetic, but the pace is often too slow for the high-stakes story.

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Outrageous Fortune, Greenwich Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

It’s 2019 and we’re in purgatory. Some (many?) might say hell, considering the late capitalist nightmare and and rise of right-wing extremism, but Gertrude, former Queen of Denmark, has assured us we’ve arrived in purgatory and will shortly be assigned to our own, personal patches of dusty, red rock.

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Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Lyric Hammersmith

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by Laura Kressly

John Gay wrote The Beggar’s Opera in 1728 to reflect a London ridden with corrupt and dangerous politicians, inequality and violence. Not much has changed in those nearly 200 years, then. Kneehigh updates the story to a rundown coastal town where all the citizens resort to cold-hearted ruthlessness in the name of survival, resulting in an extravaganza of murder, betrayal and spectacle.

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Operation Mincemeat, New Diorama

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By Laura Kressly

Musical theatre excels at turning an otherwise serious subject into an extravaganza of high camp. Though it’s easy to dismiss such approaches as light and frivolous, SpitLip – a new company formed by members from Kill the Beast and Felix Hagen & the Family – tell the true story of a British intelligence operation with plenty of panache and satirical social commentary (and heaps of high camp) in this smashing new show.

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Drag Becomes Her, Soho Theatre

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by Maeve Campbell

Drag auteur Peaches Christ has made their name as an adaptor of cult movies, directing the great and good of Ru-Paul’s Drag Race in leading roles. Drag Becomes Her stars charming long-term collaborator Jinx Monsoon and the ‘terminally delightful’ Ben DeLaCreme in the Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn film roles. What results is a raucous hour and half-long mess of a show, that’s both stressful and exciting to watch.

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Dido, Unicorn Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

If theatre has a reputation for being inaccessible and snobbishly high cultured, opera is doubly regarded as such. Fortunately, the Unicorn and ENO teamed up to make this young people’s version of Dido and Aeneas, pared down to 60 minutes with an easy-to-understand story for secondary school students. However, the story is pitched as placing Dido’s teenaged daughter at the centre, but this version is not reconfigured enough to make her more than a passive observer of her mother’s collapse.

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Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four, Greenwich Theatre

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by Meredith Jones Russell

In this post-Cumberbatch age, you can’t help but feel slightly sorry for any actor taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes. The BBC series has provided such a defining image of Holmes to a generation that one wonders why a company might take on another rehash of a Conan Doyle classic.

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