The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps, Wilton’s Music Hall

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by Laura Kressly

Seven-year-old Crispin, newly orphaned and the last remaining member of the Clumps family, has inherited a creepy, country pile called Raddlesham Mumps. Managed by an ancient butler who could have stepped out of a Dickens novel or The Addam’s Family, of course there’s more to this house than meets the eye. The bright and articulate child questions what seem to be supernatural forces and a familial curse, but the answers he gets in this narrative poem are far from savoury.

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The Ice Cream Boys, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Jacob Zuma, the retired president of South Africa, is in hospital for some tests. On checking into his room he discovers his nemesis, former Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, in the room opposite. The two men have a long and complex history that unfolds over the course of Gail Louw’s play as a dialogue-driven wrestling match. Though their relationship has plenty of material to fuel discussions and augments about revolution, women, race and South Africa’s history, the plot meanders through topics rather than telling a cohesive story. Strong performances make this an engaging production minute-by-minute, but the overall result is not satisfying.

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Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Aymeric has been working at the Balbek Theatre, in a small town miles away from the nation’s capital, its culture and politics, for five years. He longs for fame, excitement and to leave the relentless monotony of provincial life behind him and will do anything to achieve these goals. Along with his discontent, right-wing sentiment grows across the country. In the capital, the ‘liberal elite’ make great art, drink champagne and argue over how, as state-funded artists, they should respond to the rising fascism – or if they can at all.

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We Dig, Ovalhouse

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by Laura Kressly

The main stage at Ovalhouse isn’t there anymore. Neither is the floor beneath it or the concrete foundations below, but there is a hole, and a lot of yellowish dirt. Emma Frankland and other four trans and nonbinary artists are energetically digging it, searching for relics and memories of their trans family that preceded them. They also dance, tell stories and share their fears and hopes for the future in this vulnerable and celebratory performance piece on trans identity and lived experience.

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What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

When Cora Bissett was 17, she joined a band. It’s the stuff of many indie kids’ school days, but Darlingheart found overnight success. They went from tiny venues to opening for the biggest britpop bands in the country in an extraordinarily short time, but their fame was just as short-lived. Bissett’s show, assembled from the diaries she kept as a child and into adulthood, chronicles her rise to fame and subsequent readjustment to real life. Tenacity, banging tunes and engaging storytelling celebrate Bissett’s resilience whilst critiquing the music industry in this vibrant gig-theatre piece.

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World’s End, King’s Head Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

It’s 1998, 19-year-old Ben and his mum Viv are moving house again. This time, they’re cramming all their belongings into a one-bedroom ex-council flat in World’s End, Chelsea. They quickly make friends with their neighbours, Ylli and his son Besnik, who are Albanian refugees. The aspirational Viv is unfazed by the move but quiet and high-strung Ben can’t cope. He’s determined to shut himself away with his Nintendo, but the charming and confident Besnik has other ideas.

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This is Black Festival, The Bunker

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by Romy Foster

This is Black is a festival of new writing by black writers curated by director/writer/creative producer Steven Kavuma. It feels like so much more than just any other festival. The event consists of two double bills that alternate performances and are followed by a DJ set every Friday and Saturday night.

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