Polaris, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Val is a concerned, elderly citizen of her community. She believes that if everyone followed the rules on refuse disposal and the agreed schedule for mealtimes, every thing would be peaceful and orderly. She also believes that recent arrivals like Tracy, displaced by natural disasters, aren’t her problem.

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YAYAYA AYAYAY, Southbank Centre

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By Laura Kressly

The infant Earth was a place of chaos and noise. High winds, rivers of lava and churning layers of rock glowed and cracked. It’s from this hot, toxic sea that arose the perfect conditions for life as the surface of the planet divided into sea and land, and gravity’s pull invited the formation of an atmosphere.

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Foreign Body, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Alex Dowding

Sexual assault: It’s sadly been around since the dawn of time, and despite being in focus more than ever now since the #MeToo movement took off on social media, it may not ever go away. Here Imogen Butler-Cole alongside the charity He For She aims to de-stigmatise the dialogue surrounding it with a movement-heavy solo piece.

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Medea Electronica, Ovalhouse

by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Two months in, and already ‘gaslighting’ appears to be the word of the year. Both Trump and Weinstein, who are often cast as toxically masculine villains in the press, have been accused of implementing such misdirection and manipulation toward their female accusers.

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Providence, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

We discover H P Lovecraft, cult horror writer from Providence, Rhode Island, standing on the banks of the Providence River in 1910 threatening to drown himself. In an It’s A Wonderful Life-style intervention, the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe (Dominic Allen) arrives to try to talk him around. We then flash forwards through the rest of Lovecraft’s life in this biographical comedy, with Poe helping him along the way.

It sounds like a strange idea for a play, but it’s a suitably bonkers device for a show about a weird man who wrote very weird tales.

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Julius Caesar, The Bridge Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Last summer, New York’s Shakespeare in the Park made international news with its production of Julius Caesar, updated to contemporary America with Caesar looking rather suspiciously like Trump. When the right wing press got wind of it, protests outside the theatre ensued.

Fortunately, this is much less likely at Nick Hytner’s similarly Trumpified Caesar. Unfortunately, his look at the devision between the ignorant, poor right and educated, middle class left is a simplistic and occasionally wildly inaccurate comparison to real life partisan policies.

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Goats, Royal Court

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

You have goat to be kidding me: the Royal Court’s latest experiment is a tonally-confused take on the Syrian conflict, fake news, and livestock management.

The bleating heart of Liwaa Yazji’s narrative is fascinating. For every son martyred in the ongoing war, local government will provide their grieving family with a goat. Children replaced by milk-laden mammals – it is a compensation scheme of twisted proportions. Local party leader Abu al-Tayyib goes as far as to declare ‘Our vision is for every house in the nation to have its own goat.’

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