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

The Toll, Half Moon

https://cdn.onthewight.com/wp-content/2017/03/luke-wright.jpg

Luke Wright’s jovial demeanour and impressive word hoard sit at odds with his smudged eyeliner and black leather jacket. The unassuming performance poet skulks to the mic, breathes, then unleashes a torrent of verbal acrobatics snapshotting British everymen and women. From a Georgian dine and dasher, to a bloke from Essex who swears he saw a lion roaming a campground, Wright’s depictions bring these characters to life. His dexterity and character-driven performance has a theatricality missing from most performance poetry, but the polished story present in What I Learned From Johnny Bevan is notably absent in The Toll.

Continue reading

Made in India, Soho Theatre

https://files.list.co.uk/images/2017/02/14/made-in-india-LST233293_large.jpg

@hannahnicklin: Since reading this I keep on thinking in quiet moments ‘women are raped nightly so I can have tomatoes in winter’

We know we exploit foreign workers for cheap goods, because we’re liberal and aware. But does that stop us? Largely, no – because we can’t afford to. I buy my clothes from Primark and my fruit and veg from the stalls that line Peckham Rye because I work in the arts and I’m poor. I don’t give any thought to where they come from in the transactional moment, but am righteously moved by articles like the one above that Hannah Nicklin tweeted. Sure, this makes me a hypocrite. But I need only to look at the other people also shopping on Sunday mornings to reinforce that I am far from alone. Most of my fellow “liberal elites” (educated, urban and left leaning) are the same, and centuries of imperialism (obviously white, male and western-led) have established the systems that the whole of society (including the liberal factions) implicitly condones through consumerism.

Continue reading

Freak, VAULT Festival

https://hepcatrestorations.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/sb72.jpg?w=600&h=427

A thing wot I learnt from theatre: there are people in the world that have a genetic disorder which gives them super stretchy skin. Whilst this is a great/horrifying party trick, historically it meant that people with this condition could join a travelling sideshow.

Nathan Penlington could be called a freak by those inclined to use such dated, derogatory language. He has a rare genetic disorder that, in him, manifests as hypermobility and chronic pain. But in other people it can make their skin stretch excessively. Penlington’s long-running fascination with sideshows combined with his own health issues, led him on a journey to a town in Florida with a unique history. His findings in the States, his research into sideshow culture and history, and a dash of disability rights combine to make solo performance/TED Talk work-in-progress Freak.

Continue reading

Testament, VAULT Festival

testement-22february17-0573

by guest critic Michael Davis

The idea of retelling biblical stories is nothing new. During the infancy of European theatre, the Mystery plays were popular for showing highlights of the Bible. Much later, during the 17th century, John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost would – contrary to author’s intentions – spur an interest in the anti-hero and biblical stories from a revisionist perspective. People over the centuries have questioned aspects of the Bible that they’ve found problematic for various reasons. Directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson, Tristan Bernays’ Testament not only addresses some of the problematic passages, but also give a voice to minor characters in the Bible.

Continue reading

Hotel Europe, The Green Rooms

https://cdn.thestage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Building-exterior-LOW-RES-700x455.png

As populism rises and fascists are tightening national borders with physical walls and stricter immigration regulations, the revolution is gaining speed. Protests and rallies are the most prominent forms of activism, but there is a growing movement in DIY and small actions.

Theatre isn’t standing by, either. In five of the bedrooms at the recently opened hotel for artists The Green Rooms, Isley Lynn and Philipp Ehmann have installed binaural radio drama performances telling stories of migration. With each story by a different writer, solo listeners are treated to intimate, personal accounts of characters impacted by migration. Quietly subversive, each story snapshots a changing world and the vulnerable people affected by the right wing’s knee-jerk, xenophobic reaction.

Continue reading

Jerry Sadowitz: Card Tricks with Appropriate Patter, Soho Theatre

by an anonymous guest critic

It’s fair to say that watching Jerry Sadowitz is not for the fainthearted. There is no topic that this infamous comedian/magician won’t attempt to mine comedy material from. So whilst a lot of his jokes are extremely funny, quite often they are proceeded by a jolt to the audience as they realise that yes, he is about to do a bit about some of the following subjects: paedophilia, the Hillsborough disaster, rape, the Holocaust, Trump (whom he supports), Bridget Christie and Stewart Lee to name just a few. Most of the time, the audience, who are well tuned into Sadowitz’s ruthless style, are in hysterics.

Continue reading