I Am of Ireland, Old Red Lion Theatre

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

A buoyant cast enters singing their hearts out to “Ireland’s Call”. They are dressed as a variety of Irish stereotypes: a man in a balaclava, a priest, Miss Ireland, an Orangeman, a rugby fan. Caricatures, certainly, but there’s a lot of energy, and the suggestion we might see some of these clichés unpacked and explored.

Then, suddenly, we seem to be in a completely different play. I Am of Ireland, an examination of the complexities and divisions of recent Irish history up to the present day, provides short monologues and scenes focusing on an entirely different set of characters, with a markedly different tone. Continue reading

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Leave Taking, Bush Theatre

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

“He wants me to know who I am.”

Sometimes you can question why a theatre has chosen a particular moment to produce a revival of a show. This is not one of those times.

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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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Returning to Reims, Theatertreffen

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

The audience enters the Schaubuhne theatre to voyeuristically inspect the inane musings of two men, protected by the glass of a recording booth at the back of a beautifully brown, wood-panelled studio. This space provides the backdrop for an extended examination of European class politics through reading and discussion of French sociologist Didier Eribon’s memoir, a surprise best-seller in Germany last year.

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Why Is the Sky Blue?, Southwark Playhouse

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

Why is the sky blue? What is there to do in Argentina? Why is the sea green? How regularly are young people in the UK and around the world watching pornography? And –  more importantly – what affect is it having on their sexual and mental development? These are just some of the questions raised in Abbey Wright’s brand new Why is the Sky Blue?

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FCUK’D, The Bunker

Will Mytum in FCUK'D. Photo: Andreas Lambis

A young man waits impatiently for his little brother Matty to finish school. Alone on a football pitch amongst piles of dead leaves, he frets over his alcoholic mum, the state of their home and the letter from social services informing them that Matty will be taken away.

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How to Disappear, Traverse Theatre

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by guest critic Liam Rees

Initially How to Disappear seems to be a new addition to the classic, British State-of- the-Nation plays in its searing critique of the government’s welfare policy. But Morna Pearson has great fun in turning the genre on its head with a twist that is so central to the play that I can’t avoid including spoilers.

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