Guards at the Taj, Bush Theatre

https://cdn.thestage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/13103133/7-Darren-Kuppan-and-Danny-Ashok-in-Guards-at-the-Taj-Bush-Theatre-Credit-Marc-Brenner.jpg

Humayun and Babur have known each other since they were boys. Now the newest of emperor Shah Jahan’s imperial guards in Agra, the best friends work side-by-side on the night shift. Today is different, though. The first light of dawn will reveal the completed Taj Mahal, previously hidden from anyone other than its makers. Fit to burst with excitement, the two don’t know that the day to come will irrevocably change them as they fall prey to the giant cogs of the imperial machine.

Continue reading

Sublime, Tristan Bates Theatre

rsz_adele

Sam and Clara live the ordinary, domestic life of a young professional couple, until Sam’s sister Sophie turns up unannounced. The playful, carefree young woman eventually chameleons into someone much more sinister. Caught up in the criminal underworld, she’s back in town with an agenda. As Sophie lures Sam back to the adrenaline-junkie lifestyle of high-end burglary and fraud he’s desperate to leave behind, the siblings’ facade deteriorates further. No one is what they seem in Sublime, though the plodding script that should be thrilling never reaches its potential.

Continue reading

Custody, Ovalhouse

https://cdn.thestage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/30165602/Custody-7-Kike-Brimah-Urbain-Hayo-Sacharissa-Claxton-Photo-Lidia-Crisafulli1-700x455.jpg

By guest critic Alistair Wilkinson

HOPE: A feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen.

How do we cope when we don’t get what we want? How do we beat a system that is set up to make you fail? Custody asks just these questions, as we are taken on a two-year journey of a family’s struggle for justice for their loved one, twenty-nine year old Brian, who died whilst in police custody. Through this eighty-minute narrative, we see four different individuals cope/hope, whilst their questions are left unanswered.

Continue reading

Chinglish, Park Theatre

https://i0.wp.com/7210-presscdn-0-59.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Chinglish-Minhee-Yeo-and-Gyuri-Sarossy-courtesy-Richard-Davenport-for-The-Other-Richard.jpg

Since the Print Room came under fire for whitewashing a Howard Barker play set in China earlier this year, three notable productions featuring East Asian actors graced UK stages. At different venues and produced by different companies, they were too close in time to the Print Room’s racism and to each other to be a deliberate, unified challenge. Instead, they optimistically indicate a sea change in on-stage visibility of East Asian actors. Perhaps they will no longer be relegated to silent maids, martial artists and geeky mathematicians; instead they will take on leading roles that showcase the diverse talent of British theatre.

Continue reading

a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun), Royal Court

https://i1.wp.com/www.theartsdesk.com/sites/default/files/images/stories/THEATRE/aleks_sierz/profound2.jpg

There are loads of jokes and stereotypes about life within a heterosexual relationship – women talk too much, men don’t understand the difficulties of pregnancy, LTRs feel like a burden, and so forth. Of course each relationship has its unique aspects, but there are common elements that often make generalisations about love ring true. Writer/director debbie tucker green discards many of the trappings of character specificity to expose universal truths about love and relationships in a powerful, moving script with elemental staging that taps into common experience.

Continue reading

Snow in Midsummer, Swan Theatre

https://static.standard.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2017/03/03/12/snow-in-midsummer.jpg

In 2012, The RSC drew ire for its Orphan of Zhao casting in which there were a whole three East Asian actors. Though the production went ahead, RSC artistic director Greg Doran showed willing to listen and bring about change, meeting with Equity’s Minority Ethnic Members Committee. Now, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s modern adaptation of a Chinese ghost story with an entirely East Asian cast is on stage at the Swan. It’s commendable progress even though there’s still a long way to go in British theatre.

Continue reading

The Wild Party, Hope Theatre

rsz_wildparty_afphotography-529-1000x600

By guest reviewer Martin Pettitt

The Wild Party, a simple and to-the-point title, perfectly describes the show as well as the evening I experienced. There was so much to like about this performance. Adapted into a performance piece here by Mingled Yarn Theatre Company, The Wild Party was originally a book-length narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March in the roaring twenties. Initially deemed too racy to publish, it has since become a seminal work finding ever more relevance as we venture further into the 2000s.

Continue reading