Birthright, Vault Festival

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by Louis Train

Birthright comes out the gate distracted: a sex joke, some meta humour, accents. It stays distracted, too, so at least it’s consistent. By the end of the play, one gets the sense of half a dozen stories and motifs started and abondaned; it interrupts itself.

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Babylon Beyond Borders, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In the ancient city of Babylon, people lived peacefully. They were left to their own devices until, according to a biblical story, they built a tower that reached to the heavens. Then, a vengeful god destroyed it and scattered the citizens around the world bestowing them different languages so they could no longer communicate. For language and peace are power, and power threatens those in charge.

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The Dark, Ovalhouse

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by Romy Foster

The Dark is an exhilarating and personal journey through the dusty backroads of Uganda in 1979. Jumping between then and present day, Michael Balogun tenderly tells author Nick Makoha’s story of how he and his mother escaped the terror of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin’s reign and crossed the border heading for the UK when he was four years old.

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A roundup of the Roundabout, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Paines Plough’s flatpackable Roundabout theatre is one of the most exciting new writing venues of the fringe. Tucked in the rear courtyard at Summerhall, the intimate, domed space features several plays spotlighting Britain’s working class this year. From Scottish school gates to a Yorkshire village, the best writing here this fringe wrenches theatre’s narratives away from the privileged classes.

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Flesh and Bone, Soho Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

This tour-de-force of a show is a love letter to the last of the East End geezers and birds alike who, just like everybody else, want to live their lives the way they please, free from societal pressure and judgement. Written, directed and performed by the brilliant Elliot Warren and Olivia Brady, the story has been brought to life through many a real life experience, as they detail the grit, violence and love they dish out and take in everyday.

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Translations, National Theatre

National Theatre

By Laura Kressly

Mud covers the Olivier stage. It’s dark, nearly black, thick and peaty. The ‘emerald’ part of the Emerald Isle is pointedly absent. The muck’s heavy and pervasive, working its way into every crevice of the rural hedge school where students of all ages learn Latin and Greek. They don’t mind the mud. But the British soldiers that come with their imposing colonisation, also working its way into nook and cranny? That’s where the villagers take issue.

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Faust, Theatertreffen

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

On entering a seven-hour long production one might ask the following questions: will I understand the plot, will I be able to sit through it for the duration and will it be worth the plane journey, holiday costs and copious amounts of pilsner consumed over the weekend? The answers are no and no but, to the last question, a resounding yes. Directed by the controversial Frank Castorf, famously ousted as leader of the Volksbühne theatre after nearly fifteen years of service, this production is his swan-song. Castorf’s previous work has been described as ‘deliberately incoherent’, and this Faust does not disappoint.

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