Me and Robin Hood, Royal Court

https://d19lfjg8hluhfw.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/31163848/use-58-1024x683.jpg

by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Shon Dale-Jones and Hoipolloi’s Me and Robin Hood has admirable intentions in aiming to raise awareness and money for charity ‘Street Child’. Dale-Jones’ one-man show is a personal narrative, part biography and part discussion on class and wealth divisions in Britain. The mythical medieval do-gooder is a central figure in the piece, an inspiration and obsession for the socially conflicted Dale-Jones.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Part of the Picture, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DHY4q5zXkAA1gfE.jpg

Peppered across the North Sea, giant metal birds stretch towards the sky and drill into the seabed below, hunting for life-giving oils and gasses. Along their wide bellies, men work day and night to keep them moving in dangerous, dirty conditions. The money’s good, and the work is plentiful.

Continue reading

Secret Life of Humans, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DFFm4gFXkAAWs48.jpg

Ava is fascinated by human beings. Not just generally, but in the academic, evolutionary sense. She’s also going through a tough time and needs a break, so she’s on the pull. Jamie’s also after a distraction and the two matched on Tinder, so now, after millions of years of evolution, these two people are having dinner.

Continue reading

Girl From the North Country, Old Vic

https://cdn.thestage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/26173504/Girl-From-The-North-Country-Old-Vic--700x455.jpg

In Duluth, Minnesota, ships, trains and buses come and go under a sweeping midwestern sky heavy with snow. It’s 1934, the height of the Great Depression. A desperate, drifting populace chase the shadows of their debtors and rumours of work in and out of the port city.

Continue reading

Odd Man Out, Hope Theatre

https://i0.wp.com/mytheatremates.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/OddManOut_2guys_jul17.jpg?fit=648%2C404

A middle-aged, gay Welshman contemplates the English class he teaches in Hong Kong. Amongst the students is Windy, the Chinese woman with whom he shares his bed. Utterly smitten with her, he refers to her as his Pocahontas. He then kisses a barbie doll with long black hair and tanned skin.

Pocahontas was a Native American woman kidnapped by the colonising English in the 1600s, forced to marry, then taken to Britain. The same woman bore her husband a child then died, aged 21, after contracting a European illness.

Continue reading

Blondel, Union Theatre

https://i0.wp.com/7210-presscdn-0-59.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/BLONDEL-Blondel-played-by-Connor-Arnold-featuring-the-washer-women-Lauren-Byrne-Courtney-Bowman-and-Michaela-Stern.-Photo-by-Scott-Rylander.jpg

I am often impressed with theatre’s ability to transform the most serious of topics into bouncy, chirpy musicals. Tim Rice and Tom Williams looked to the Crusades for their comedic tale of Richard I’s court musician, Blondel, but discarded much of the history. This 1983 show has some great numbers, but its frivolity and insubstantial book focusing on a personal journey rather than the larger political landscape is diminutive rather than powerfully sweeping. This is no Les Mis or Miss Saigon; it is instead an under-developed documentation of a rise to fame – but it still has its moments of fun.

Continue reading

I Am My Own Wife, Wimbledon Studio Theatre

https://i2.wp.com/www.akg-images.de/Docs/AKG/Media/TR3_WATERMARKED/0/6/4/a/AKG1886989.jpg

Charlotte von Mahlsdorf was a collector and museum curator in East Berlin who survived WWII and the the Stasis, and murdered her abusive father when she was a teenager. More remarkably, she was transgender. I Am My Own Wife is primarily her biography and a tribute to her achievements, but also the research process by playwright Doug Wright. Wright set out to make a play about her, but was so affected by her stories that his reactions make their way into the text. It deservedly won all major American theatre awards after its Broadway premier in 2003, but Unusual Theatre Company’s production doesn’t serve the text as well as it could.

Continue reading