Theatre of Gulags tells a story of art and resistance within USSR labour camps. Panning across five detached, yet narratively linked stages, this theatrical installation follows the story of four artists: theatre director Les Kurbas, director Natalya Sats, musician Vadim Kozin and writer and puppeteer Hava Volovich.
Satire Sky Theatre brings back 1902, an immersive theatre piece by Nathan Scott-Dunn, for the fourth consecutive year. 1902 flashes across the tumult of the fringe in Edinburgh’s Old Town to strike a goal at Leith Arches, a venue with more local atmosphere. The action takes place at the Dog and Duck pub in 2016, where four football enthusiasts (Scott-Dunn, Alexander Arran-Cowan, Josh Brock, and Cameron Docker) gather around a large table to prepare for the Scottish Cup Final. The audience steps into the pub turned into an in-the-round stage, under a brick archway with the bar to one side and an industrial staircase that might as well be a stadium’s grandstand.
Between Ben Yeoh and David Finnegan, there’s an impressive array of interests, knowledge and skills. Theatre, economics and climate change are among them. Their lecture-performance amalgamates these three topics into an engaging, informative and interactive presentation that gives a wide-angle view on what we can do to save the planet.
Six young actors, maybe friends or maybe strangers, are stuck. They greet us when we enter and they are kind, but they do look a bit lost. They take turns to share important memories from their childhood, which sometimes fall out as fairytales or pop songs. Fragments of innocent childhoods which have slipped through fingers.
This is a tale of a midnight rendezvous of a very suspect nature between what, at first sight, seems to be just a dealer and his runner. The story explores aspects of a life in crime and the personal history between the pair. It sounds fairly simple at first.
The play opens with three, young lads playing games. As it reaches dinner time they begin to debate whose country’s food is better: Jamaica, Cameroon or Ghana? This is the basis of Jollof Wars – an argument between two families that will see relationships broken and mended. Focusing on the engagement of a Ghanaian man to a Nigerian woman, Jollof Wars gives a witty yet poignant insight into how culture influences our choices, and in turn impacts the rest of our lives.
How can we radically reinvent myths and classic literature? I mean, really radically – not in a box ticking way, or a modernisation the production wears like a piece of costume that doesn’t really change the thematic core of the story. I mean thoroughly, totally, completely. So all traces of horrible ‘isms’ and ‘ists’ are either reframed or criticised.
Scott Alan is a long-standing cult favourite amongst musical theatre enthusiasts and his most recent song cycle The Distance You Have Come weaves in his most popular numbers with some newer ones. But whilst this cast is stellar, the ‘story’ is a little bit of a stretch. It’s the songs and actors that make this show most enjoyable.
Uber, happy hour, Tinder, late night cheesy chips are all part of the vocabulary of a Londoner’s life. So are two complete strangers waking up next to each other. Usually one of them will remember, and even find a blurred picture of you both at 4 am surrounded by empty glasses. Yet neither has any memories of the night before.
Heaps of deserved praise has been showered on Jeremy Herrin’s production of Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things, with much directed at Denise Gough’s thrillingly committed performance of a struggling actor in rehab. Yet after seeing it at Wyndham’s Theatre in mid-2016 then its New York City run this year, it’s easy to see there’s more to it than Gough. A second, transatlantic viewing proves just how thoroughly the production theatricalises addicts’ experiences in order to generate audience empathy with the struggle to overcome addiction.