Sparks & Cry God for Harry, England and St George!, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Using the word ‘strong’ to describe women and girls is redundant. Putting up with all the trash that women have to deal with as a result of their gender, on top of everything else life throws at them, makes them strong by default. If they are queer, women of colour, disabled, working class, or fall in any other category that others them, this makes them even tougher because life is all the harder.

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The Abode, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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By Laura Kressly

Imagine the world without the technological advances of the last few decades. No mobile phones, no internet, no ipods. Just Walkmans and two-way radios and clunky TV sets – but the political landscape is still the same. Where will all the incels gather without reddit?

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Exit the King, National Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

There’s little that’s exciting about watching a petulant, man-child of a king taking 90-odd minutes to die whilst his two wives, a housekeeper, a guard and a ‘doctor’ debate his legacy and the reported collapse of his kingdom. But the design, that climactically progresses along with the king’s death, in this new version by Patrick Marber is a fine reward for enduring the tedium of snarky melodrama that makes up most of the performance.

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Pity, Royal Court Theatre

by guest critic Amy Toledano

Walking into the Royal Court to see Rory Mullarkey’s new show Pity, one is welcomed by a full brass band, a working ice-cream stand and a heck of a lot of colour. The energy in the room is buzzing but has a slight edge. From the first moment it is evident that this show is going to be a new theatre experience for me.

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Metamorphoses 2, Waterloo East Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

There are many reasons why the classics are still read and performed, with their enduring relevance one of them. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a narrative poem containing more than 250 different myths, is a wealth of flexible source material that can easily be updated and applied to modern socio-political landscapes. Here, five different myths are updated by five different playwrights to comment on a range of current topics, from #MeToo to the refugee crisis. Ranging in style and quality, the new writing night is largely well-curated and impactful.

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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

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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