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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The Orchestra, Clapham Omnibus

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by Laura Kressly

Decked in their finest formal wear, a chamber orchestra entertains the punters in a post-war Parisian cafe. During their songs, they are a picture of beautiful unity. In between? Not so much. The absurd and darkly comic backstabbing and in-fighting builds to a crescendo that ends in tragedy, but the production is ultimately unsatisfying.

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Pericles Prince de Tyr, Barbican

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by Laura Kressly

Flawless royal blue walls reminiscent of the sea surround an unresponsive, middle aged man lying in a hospital bed. Nurses and a doctor flit in an out, efficiently checking vitals and holding quick, whispered conversations with waiting family. This is Pericles, physically and mentally buffeted by a life of grief and tragedy, but this is not quite the story of Pericles that Shakespeare and Wilkins co-wrote. Translated into French and then adapted, Cheek by Jowl here present a man in poor physical and mental health trapped inside his head, in a world composed either of memories or the figments of his imagination.

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Sacha Guitry, My Daughter and I, Drayton Arms Theatre

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by guest critic Kudzanayi Chiwawa

Director Marianne Badrichani brings us this adaptation inspired by Sacha Guitry, a 20th Century playwright, actor and director. It includes short plays and extracts of his works, performed by an ensemble of three – Edith Vernes, Sean Rees and Anais Bachet.

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The Misanthrope, Drayton Arms

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Exchange Theatre sets The Misanthrope in a contemporary newsroom full of gossip, affairs, backstabbing and cocaine-fueled all-nighters. Alceste loathes the way his colleagues behave, but fancies the flirtatious Celimene in spite of his prejudices. His jealousy and inability to be polite to his colleagues causes a litany of issues that play out over their broadcasts, eventually leading to his lonely downfall.

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The Pulverised, Arcola Theatre

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Does anyone really win under capitalism? Alexandra Badea’s The Pulverised doesn’t think so. Even though those near the top of the pyramid living jetsetting lifestyles and rolling in cash might live comfortable lives, they are still left feeling broken and hollow. The french play, here translated into English by Lucy Phelps, is a pacy account of four victims of globalisation on different levels of the supply chain.

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The Braille Legacy, Charing Cross Theatre

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Discovery of the evening: Louis Braille was a child when he developed the alphabet of raised dots into the writing still used by blind and visually impaired people around the world today. It’s an especially impressive feat considering the run down and under-resourced institution he attended, Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris. However, the prevalent hostile attitude towards disabled people was a constant obstacle towards the system’s adoption; even the belief that blind people could be academically educated was radical at the time.

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