Feature | A Day with Oily Cart

Jovana Backovic, Robyn Steward, Mark Foster, Aaron Diaz, Griff Fender, Daniel Gouly in JAMBOREE. Design by Flavio Graff Photo credit Suzi Corker

by Laura Kressly

“Welcome to the glitter zone!”

I’m greeted exuberantly by one of the actors, who are mid-yoga warmup when I arrive. Though I try my best to quietly enter their rehearsal space, I’m flustered by a series of train and tube delays that mean I arrived nearly half an hour after I intended and it’s impossible for me to not be noticed. I self-consciously wave, smile, and settle into the chair that’s closest to the door. There are musical instruments, costume, sound equipment and lots of ‘stuff’ everywhere in their Tooting rehearsal room overlook a school’s playground. And indeed, glitter.

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Die or Run, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

It’s the 1980s. Big hair, shoulder pads and synth-pop provide a backdrop for Margaret Thatcher’s advocacy of the individual instead of a collective society. This results in a country that loves to go out dancing, but when crisis hits, people find themselves isolated and overwhelmed. Denise’s journey from cheerful disco queen to depressed carer unfolds through a fragmented monologue of nostalgia, song lyrics and sound-bites. 

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The Sea Queen and Twelfth Night, The Scoop

by Laura Kressly

Since 2003, there has been a summer of free, open-air theatre at The Scoop, a sweeping, granite amphitheatre on the Thames next to City Hall. This year’s double-bill is a 90-minute version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and a new children’s musical, The Sea Queen. Performed by one cast doing double-duty, Twelfth Night is the far superior show though there is plenty to appeal to young children in The Sea Queen.

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Cruel Intentions: The Musical, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Does the world need a musical version of 1999 American teen flick Cruel Intentions? Probably not, but by God it’s entertaining.

Packing out the Underbelly’s Palais du Variete, this is closer to rock concert than musical. The mainly millennial audience is practically word perfect on both the script, which has been cut for length but otherwise largely unaltered from the screenplay, and the ‘00s hits that are peppered through the plot, often with the flimsiest justification.

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Scream Phone, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Image result for scream phone, swipe right theatreby Meredith Jones Russell

If you weren’t lucky enough to have spent your formative years playing the ‘90s Hasbro wonder that was DreamPhone, it might be worth having a quick Google before you see the show. There’s still more than enough to enjoy if you don’t, but there are some wickedly funny references that make this musical horror spoof even better for the initiated.

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I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Would life really be better if it were a musical? Alexander S. Bermange’s revue show suggests it’s not all lipstick grins and audience adulation. Featuring four performers and Bermange himself on piano, the show tells their story as struggling artists, going from drama school dreams to the disappointing reality of auditions, understudying, second jobs, debilitating dance routines, low pay and backstage backstabbing.

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A Rundown of the Roundabout: Six Shows in the Paines Plough Programme, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

The Paines Plough Roundabout is the most reliable, new writing venues at the fringe. With a collection of work that represents the width and breadth of the UK both geographically and thematically, this year’s offerings are universally strong. From a family musical to a one-man show about a stalker, and everything in between, there is a great selection of shows for audiences looking for new work in a great venue that tours around Britain.

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