After previous runs at the Soho Theatre in the upstairs space and at Edinburgh Fringe, this American comedian returns to the to the bigger cabaret space for her most recent, hour-long set. This is the story of Emily Wilson’s starring role in the first X-Factor USA, first as part of a duo and then later in an ill-advised, 10 kid group.
Turning to medical settings for drama is not a new endeavour. With long-running series like ER and Grey’s Anatomy, the plot of Super High Resolution might sound overdone in the first instance. However, contrary to TV blockbusters, Nathan Ellis’ new play utilises simplicity to defy expectations and tackle the elephant in the room: the collapse of the NHS.
Little can get in the way of teenagers’ hormones. In Kash and Mohsen’s case, the fact they can’t swim isn’t going to stop them going to the biggest event of the year, Jess Denver’s pool party. They’ll simply learn how so they don’t embarrass themselves in front of their entire year group. After all, Kash needs to flaunt his gains in front of the girls, and Mohsen will provide reluctant moral support. With a whole month to go, surely they can figure it out. Swimming’s not that hard, right?
Over the latter part of the previous decade, a particular demographic raved about the relateability of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag on both stage and screen. This show voiced the sexually liberated, highly educated, white, middle-class millennial women who, though not lacking in representation, felt their plight was previously ignored. Brought up on the mantra that success is theirs to be had, neoliberal capitalism means they now angrily navigate a world that isn’t as easy as expected. Yet despite the difficulties of adulting, their privilege rightly invites critique. Liz Kingsman’s satire of one-woman shows does just that, along with taking aim at the tropes that many one-woman shows rely on. She eviscerates them wholeheartedly using comedy and metatheatre to hilarious effect.
I feel for the stage manager that has to coordinate the clean-up after this show. Soil, leaves, ketchup, chocolate wrappers, cherry bakewell crumbs, fake flowers and bodily fluids are everywhere. Lucy McCormick is certainly the queen of filth. She’s also ruler of the absurd, grotesque and biting social commentary. Though her previous show Triple Threat is more sophisticated than this one, comedy and vulgarity join forces as McCormick chronicles history’s strong women in the hopes of finding herself a hero.
Citysong contemplates the timeless cycle of life by following three generations of a family on one important day. Writer Dylan Coburn Gray calls this lyrical piece a ‘play for voices’ and indeed the script began its life as spoken word. It won the Verity Bargate Award, which brought it from Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey, to London. Both inner city theatres are perfect settings for this evocation of life and family narrated by a cab driver in a rain-soaked, streetlamp-lit Dublin.
Aisha and Morgan have to go to school one day in August, like almost every other 16-year-old in the country, to collect their GCSE results. Their school is different from the rest of the country’s though – news teams are at the gates of Mitcham High reporting on the recent disappearance of Yasmin Sheikh, dubbed ‘terror baby’ by the Home Secretary. Frustrated with her best friend’s depiction in the media and the way she has been treated by the police after Yasmin left for Syria, Aisha is determined to tell the story of the girl behind the headlines and enlists Morgan’s help.
Drag auteur Peaches Christ has made their name as an adaptor of cult movies, directing the great and good of Ru-Paul’s Drag Race in leading roles. Drag Becomes Her stars charming long-term collaborator Jinx Monsoon and the ‘terminally delightful’ Ben DeLaCreme in the Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn film roles. What results is a raucous hour and half-long mess of a show, that’s both stressful and exciting to watch.
How well do you know your inner critic? When you look in the mirror, what does she or he whisper in your ear, or shout loudly in your face? “Too fat! Too skinny! Too jiggly! Not hot enough!” Ell Porter and Mary Higgins have not only listened to these voices, they’ve let them out of their heads and, unabashed, onto the stage – from fat to fitness, men to menopause, dildos to doctor’s surgeries, periods to poo and all the body bits in between. As former lovers they claim to know each other extremely well, inside and out, and go to great lengths to get to the bottom of all this body-business. Pun absolutely intended.
In May, the new Poet Laureate will be announced and Luke Wright thinks he’s up for the job. I agree. His lyrical, immediate collection of poems confronting modern Britain’s ills and praising its everyday heroes is a body of work that conveys an understanding and love for the intricacies of the nation.