Coconut, Ovalhouse

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

Rumi (Kuran Dohil) is a Muslim atheist, having to hide huge chunks of her life from her family. Including her new, white, non-Muslim boyfriend, Simon. What could possibly go wrong?

Coconut is one of those plays where each person who watches it will take away or resonate with something different, for me it was the role religion plays in our lives.

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Quiz, Noel Coward Theatre

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

On 10 September 2001 – the last day of a different time – Army Major Charles Ingram  won the jackpot of ITV’s ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ In the days that followed, the Twin Towers fell and producers of the quiz show made their case against the Major, his wife, and a coughing contestant who supposedly cheated their way to the million pound cheque. As one character observes, take a step back and the whole story sounds too silly to be true. Which is precisely why West-End regular playwright James Graham picks it up.

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Pericles Prince de Tyr, Barbican

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by Laura Kressly

Flawless royal blue walls reminiscent of the sea surround an unresponsive, middle aged man lying in a hospital bed. Nurses and a doctor flit in an out, efficiently checking vitals and holding quick, whispered conversations with waiting family. This is Pericles, physically and mentally buffeted by a life of grief and tragedy, but this is not quite the story of Pericles that Shakespeare and Wilkins co-wrote. Translated into French and then adapted, Cheek by Jowl here present a man in poor physical and mental health trapped inside his head, in a world composed either of memories or the figments of his imagination.

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Albatross, Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

There aren’t many writers who conjure stories the way Isley Lynn can. Her innate instinct for achingly human characters in situations rarely – if ever – seen on stage sets her well apart from most young playwrights. Her oeuvre includes Skin a Cat, a hilarious and necessary story of a young woman navigating dating and sex whilst unable to be vaginally penetrated, and Tether, the journey of a blind woman and her guide training for a marathon. These intimate stories leave a huge impact when set on stage, their echoes long reverberating with her audiences.

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Yokes Night, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by Laura Kressly

Yokes (n.): Irish slang for ecstasy pills

In March 2015, a governmental gaff meant that for one night only, all drugs were legal. The good people of Ireland duly took advantage of this accidental loophole, leading to a night of glorious mess and the inevitable disappointment that comes from overinflated expectations. Two people, Saoirse and Harry, fall out with their friends and connect with each other during the glorious chaos in this sweet yet predictable story.

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Trainspotting Live, Vaults

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by Laura Kressly

Two men pelting it down Princes Street in Edinburgh as a voiceover lists the goals of typical adult life – big tellys, cars, careers – is one of the most iconic moments in British cinema. Ranked tenth by the BFI in its 1999 evaluation of best British films, Trainspotting has left an indelible mark on popular culture.

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Beginners, Unicorn Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Kids are intuitive. They’re smart, observant and know a lot more about the world than adults think they do. Tim Crouch’s play where adults and children play each other and kids eventually run the show also proves that they aren’t that different from each other anyway. Whimsical design, innovative dramaturgical devices and an unwilling to patronise young people with obvious storytelling combine to create a marvellous and thoughtful piece of theatre for all ages.

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