35 Amici Drive, Lyric Hammersmith

https://lyric.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/35-Amici-Drive-by-Lily-Owen-001.jpg

Council block 35 Amici Drive and the pub attached to it are earmarked for demolition. Luxury flats and commercial retail units will replace it, and plans to rehouse current residents are vague. Money-grubbing developers and local counsellors push for “positive change” but those who live there are having none of it.

Continue reading

Love in Idleness, Apollo Theatre

https://images.bwwstatic.com/columnpic7/3071FA67-E738-A654-BD9A7B3A6B6823FB.jpg

by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

This is Trevor Nunn’s third production of a Rattigan play, and in his programme notes he calls it ‘a masterpiece’. On reading the plot synopsis, one might have trouble imagining this play as such.

It’s the 1940s. Olivia Brown awaits the return of her 18-year-old son Michael, whom she has not seen for four years. Whilst he’s been away, his father has died and Olivia has found love with a successful arms manufacturer, Sir John Fletcher. When Michael comes back with new-found left-wing ideas, he is horrified at the opulence of his mother’s new lifestyle, and disgusted with the man making his millions from warfare. It’s a fairly simple plot, in which Rattigan preempts a whole host of classic teenage-angst dramas, whilst happily throwing in comic references to Hamlet and Oedipus for fun.

Continue reading

Disconnect, Ugly Duck

https://entropymag.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/outer-space-wallpaper-pictures.jpg

Imagine a production of Waiting for Godot with more characters, set in space, where the audience chooses the outcome of the story. What you are picturing is probably gloriously weird and kitschy. But now add clumsy dialogue, some poor performances and a loosely applied Brexit analogy, performed on a set that looks like it’s built of cardboard and/or they ran out of paint. If your mind’s eye makes a different picture now, it be more accurate.

Continue reading

Identity Crisis, Ovalhouse

https://i1.wp.com/thenubiantimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Identity-crisis-image.png

Phina Oruche has had an extraordinary career. Growing up in Liverpool to Nigerian parents and desperately wanting to see more of the world, she let her best friend Amy talk her into doing a modelling photoshoot as a teenager. Soon she found herself living and working in London, then New York and LA. Eventually tiring of the high fashion world and feeling the pull of her home, she moved back to the UK where he career led her firmly into the film and telly world. Now a mum and conflicted about the cultural pushing and pulling on her life, she examines who she really is the self-penned Identity Crisis. The punchy tapestry of characters and experiences has messy and confusing moments and no clear resolution or story, but it’s brimming with heart and life.

Continue reading

The Ferryman, Royal Court

https://cdn.thestage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/03182335/TFMprod2017JP_05101.jpg

Nearly a decade after Jerusalem opened to universal acclaim at The Royal Court, Jez Butterworth finally gives us another masterpiece. A sprawling family/political drama taking place over one day in 1981 rural Armagh, The Ferryman barrels towards a predicable end. But the genius lies in the final scene, where the plot shoots off in a different direction like a rogue firework before exploding. Laden with familial craic, rebel spirit, the complexities of colonialism and rounded off with phenomenal performances, The Ferryman encapsulates the best of contemporary British playwriting.

Continue reading

Becoming Mohammed, Pleasance Theatre

https://www.londontheatre1.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Becoming-Mohammed1-min.jpg

Director Annamiek van Elst states that, “now more than ever, there is a need to represent narratives around Islam in a positive light”. Too right. Our overly white and insular theatre is trying to diversify, but it still has a long way to go and systemic white, middle class administrations’ unconscious bias to overcome.

Continue reading

Guards at the Taj, Bush Theatre

https://cdn.thestage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/13103133/7-Darren-Kuppan-and-Danny-Ashok-in-Guards-at-the-Taj-Bush-Theatre-Credit-Marc-Brenner.jpg

Humayun and Babur have known each other since they were boys. Now the newest of emperor Shah Jahan’s imperial guards in Agra, the best friends work side-by-side on the night shift. Today is different, though. The first light of dawn will reveal the completed Taj Mahal, previously hidden from anyone other than its makers. Fit to burst with excitement, the two don’t know that the day to come will irrevocably change them as they fall prey to the giant cogs of the imperial machine.

Continue reading