Crystal Clear, Old Red Lion

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by Laura Kressly

Richard is an art dealer living a Bohemian life in the early 1980s – his London bedsit is cluttered with quirky finds from Portobello Market, he fills his time with music, wine and women. When years of not taking care of himself eventually take their toll on his body, writer Phil Young wants us to feel sorry for Richard but his misogynistic and abusive behaviour in this 1982 play makes this difficult to achieve.

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The Light in the Piazza, Southbank Centre

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by Amy Toledano

Based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Spencer and published more than 60 years ago, The Light in the Piazza is a surprisingly progressive tale for its time. Finding acclaim with the 1962 film adaptation starring George Hamilton and Olivia Havilland, this story made a lasting impression on the likes of Richard Rogers, who was one of many composers looking to adapt it for the stage. Unfortunately, it was not until 1998, when Rogers’ grandson approached Spencer about giving the adaptation another go. From this, the version we see on stage was born, to great success.

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Garry, White Bear Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In the programme notes, director Graham Watts states, “there are hundreds of astonishing plays written by women that have never seen the light of day…Let me be clear. These are not ‘lost works’. They’ve never been considered and were simply ignored.” This world premiere by the writer of Machinal proves his point. Though several of Sophie Treadwell’s 39 plays were produced on Broadway, this one from 1954 – one of her last, and demonstrative of her skill and experience – has never before been produced.

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The Glass Menagerie, Arcola Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

In 1930s St Louis, Missouri, housing laws ensured black people and white people lived in separate neighbourhoods. Racial inequality was rife and the city as a whole, like the rest of the US, was suffering the effects of the Great Depression. The Wingfield family are no different – living in a tenement apartment, Amanda and her grown children, Tom and Laura, struggle to make ends meet. Stress, worry and resentment drives wedges between them, creating a tension stoked by Tennessee William’s exquisite language. In this production directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr, the Wingfields are black, so their dreams and aspirations are all the more devastatingly unreachable when contexualised by the segregation of the day.

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Going Through, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

At the start of what seems to be a fairytale, we meet Nour and Yumna in their tiny house. They have just enough space for the two of them and all the things they need. Though Yumna’s ears don’t work, she’s teaching her language to the little girl she’s raising on behalf of her best friend whose gone to make a new life in a faraway land. They are happy, want for nothing, and their days are full of light, love and stories. But the bombs are getting closer, the men with guns are ever more threatening, and Nour’s mother could send for her at any point.

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Passionate Machine, Draper Hall

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by Laura Kressly

In 2015, Dr Rosy Carrick was in Russia researching the life and work of Vladimir Mayakovsky as part of her PhD. On an otherwise a normal day, she receives a note from herself. It’s rather different from the usual reminders her past self leaves her future self, like ‘phone mum’ or ‘pack daughter’s PE kit’. Dated 1928, she has written to her past self – due to incorrect calculations and broken equipment, future Rosy implores present Rosy to build a time machine to rescue her.

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Edward II, Shakespeare’s Globe

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by Laura Kressly

Though King Edward II’s sexuality and the history surrounding his death are disputed by historians, Nick Bagnall takes a definitive stance in Marlowe’s history play. Here, the king is unquestionably gay and unashamed of his love for Piers Gaveston, one of his courtiers. It’s this unwavering love and devotion that gives ammunition to his enemies – a group of powerful barons, Scottish and French rulers, and even his wife – causing his violent and tragic downfall.

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