On Bear Ridge, Royal Court

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By Laura Kressly

John Daniel and Noni are the last people on Bear Ridge Mountain. The butchers/petrol station/corner shop that has been in the family for decades is long closed. The village below them is abandoned and planes fly threateningly over head. As they bide their time in this empty, Beckettian hellscape crowded with the ghosts of fraying memories, a stranger appears out of the snow and threatens what little stability they have left.

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Shackleton’s Carpenter, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In 1914 Sir Earnest Shackleton set off to cross Antarctica via the South Pole, but the mission was cut short when one of the two ships froze in an ice floe that eventually crushed it. Miraculously, the men were able to seek help due to the ship’s carpenter repurposing the life boats to make them suitable for long journeys in turbulent water. That carpenter’s name was Harry McNish, and in his dying days on a New Zealand dock, he relives his memories of that voyage.

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Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Laura Kressly

Time. Generally, I never seem to have enough of it. Occasionally – rarely – I have too much to wade through before reaching something I’m eagerly anticipating – a holiday, the weekend, time with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile, or a desperately needed lie-in. Yet for Norman and Vivian, the elderly couple in Ridiculusmus’ new show about ageing, time is a languid, sluggish force. Every weighty moment is stretched to its limits, threatens to stall, and is marked by discomfort, weakness and struggle.

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Curtain Call, White Bear Theatre

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The backstage comedy has been around for what feels like as long as theatre itself, and it’s difficult to improve upon or innovate it. Simon Bradbury’s attempted dark comedy Curtain Call takes a different direction, instead using the genre to look at ageing, failure and unrequited love. The overwritten script needs significant cutting and dramaturgical streamlining, but it has a dynamic premise that looks at an often-ignored demographic.

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