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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Br’er Cotton, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Ruffrino is a revolutionary. With a rucksack full of equipment and signs, he’s ready to wake up the sleeping masses to the plight of black people in America.

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Stardust, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Joanna Trainor

There’s political theatre, and then there’s Stardust.

Arguably the most visually stunning piece to come to the VAULT Festival this year, Blackboard Theatre combine movement, out-of-this-world animations and the power of words to expose the dark world of the Columbian cocaine industry.

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Trust, Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

A couple who have been together for either 14 years or 3 weeks argues as the world around them threatens to collapse. Or maybe it’s collapsed already. An Uber driver writes a book about the fall of civilisation. A lonely woman in a hotel room surveys her destructive work in the financial sector.

Time passes and bends and flips. Personal and global crises unfold in an endless cycle of pain and rage.

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Alien Land, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Saeed is a Bedouin Palestinian refugee, currently in prison. With no one to speak to, his imagination conjures all sorts of beings and memories. He tells the walls his family history and remembers an old man, a donkey, and and a faceless alien. But this disjointed piece takes too long to come together, and the chosen style confuses and disorientates rather than fully rallies the audience to his side.

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Goats, Royal Court

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

You have goat to be kidding me: the Royal Court’s latest experiment is a tonally-confused take on the Syrian conflict, fake news, and livestock management.

The bleating heart of Liwaa Yazji’s narrative is fascinating. For every son martyred in the ongoing war, local government will provide their grieving family with a goat. Children replaced by milk-laden mammals – it is a compensation scheme of twisted proportions. Local party leader Abu al-Tayyib goes as far as to declare ‘Our vision is for every house in the nation to have its own goat.’

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Ordinary Days, Drayton Arms Theatre

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

A single piano backs this tongue-in- cheek trip into the lives of four ordinary New Yorkers living out ordinary days. In just 75 minutes we traverse heartbreaks, five-year plans, and the elaborate traffic network which swirls around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A distinctly American musical about Central Park, Broadway, and groceries from Gristedes, Ordinary Days doesn’t shake up the twenty-first century, but this is certainly a solid production.

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