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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Left My Desk, New Diorama Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Becca gets to work at the local council and is immediately bundled into a police car. She’s not in trouble, but one of the people on her caseload is. She and her colleague Craig go to hospital to see a little girl that ‘fell out of bed’. Or to a shelter to meet with a young woman who is pregnant and addicted to huffing hairspray. Or to a school to check on a teenager being groomed by drug dealers. Every day she fights for their safety within a system on the brink of collapse. But how long can she go on like this?

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Blueberry Toast, Soho Theatre

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by an anonymous guest critic

We open on a stereotypical, modern American kitchen where wife Barb (Gala Gordon) is busying herself. When her husband Walt (Gareth David-Lloyd) comes down for breakfast, she attempts to make him something extra special: blueberry toast. Walt refuses the dish, insisting that he never asked for it and that what he really wanted was blueberry pancakes.

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War Plays, Tristan Bates Theatre

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by an anonymous guest critic

Kali Theatre, a company dedicated to providing exciting opportunities for female theatre directors and leading roles for South Asian actors, have produced a series of readings inspired by women’s experiences in conflict zones. This is a beautiful evening of moving and poignant works-in-progress depicting the atrocity of war crimes and the ongoing realities of their victims’ lives.

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H.R.Haitch, Union Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

In a time when our world seems to be headed for destruction thanks to the likes of Brexit and Trump, it is comforting to reflect on a more progressive time. Iris Theatre’s latest production H.R.Haitch does exactly this by focusing in on an typical London family at the end of 2011. Throw in some fantastic music, highly energised performances and a royal wedding, and this show entertains from start to finish.

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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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