Isaac Came Home From the Mountain, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Bobby’s a bright, enterprising young man, so when his dad demands he get a job and do something with his life other than get stoned, he does. Desperate to impress his elders but with little sense for his actions’ consequences, Bobby’s series of bad decisions leads to catastrophe. But this new play, laden with thematic complexity, cuts the story short before it has the chance to fully resonate.

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Reared, Theatre503

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

“You look like a fucking idiot.” There was so much love in this insult, that with all the crap this family have to deal with you knew they’d muddle through it together.

For a play just short of 100 minutes, Reared addresses a lot of hefty issues in quite quick succession. Dementia, post-natal depression, losing your virginity, money problems, coming out – the first few scenes are a bit of a whirlwind. But overall writer John Fitzpatrick gives most of them the time they deserve so the story doesn’t feel gimmicky.

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Punts, Theatre503

by guest critic Willa O’Brian

Deciding what is best is a tricky thing to do. It’s particularly difficult if you’re trying to do what is best for someone else. How do you know if you’re doing the right thing? Is your aim and end admirable but your means slightly suspect? It’s a constant balancing act and Punts attempts to tackle this fundamental question in myriad ways. Jack is twenty-five and has a learning disability so severe that he lives with his parents and needs constant supervision, or so his mother believes. But it’s difficult growing up under the wing of so protective a maternal eye.

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The Monkey, Theatre 503

The Monkey - Theatre 503, George Whitehead and Morgan Watkins, photos by Simon Annand 2

Tel and Dal are two Sarf London geezas who grew up together on a Bermondsey estate. Dapper and ambitious Tel has moved up in the criminal underworld, away from Dal’s small-scale thieving so they don’t see each other much. Dal’s less aspirational, still robbing people on the street with his mate Becks. When they’re not out working, Dal and Becks get their drugs from young dealer Al, who lives upstairs. Life’s ticking along as normal until Tel shows up unannounced looking for the money he leant to Al a month ago. Tel’s volatile temperament, sharp intelligence and vanity mean the other three are no match for the increasing danger.

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BU21, Trafalgar Studios
by guest critic Archie Whyld

The premise of an airliner exploding over Fulham after being hit with a Russian man-portable infrared surface-to- air missile, or as intense Londoner, Graham, who was caught up in the aftermath puts it, ‘it looks you know, like a bazooka…’, in a terrorist attack is extremely compelling. Compelling, because it could happen.

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Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, for remotegoat

With a stage covered in tinsel and large neon pink script of ‘Maggie’, it is immediately clear that the audience is in for an evening of fabulously camp cabaret. The hour-long show tells us the fictitious story taking place on the eve of the Section 28 vote. Maggie has been contemplating the morality of this vote for some time, and goes for a walk to clear her head. She was not paying attention and got lost in deepest, darkest Soho where, being mistaken for a drag queen, she is invited into a club. After emerging the next morning as a new woman, she resigns and embarks on a new career in show business.

Matt Tedford, with immaculate vocals and gesture, drives the show as Margaret Thatcher. Robert Cawsey and Ed Yelland multi-role in a costume base of cut-off denim shorts and moustaches. There are some show tunes and gay standards, but the show is predominately spoken. All three performers possess a high level of physical performance and the difference between the various characters effectively uses stereotype for comedic effect. Tedford’s banter with the audience and comic timing is impeccable, creating numerous moments of raucous laughter.

The writing is tight, polished and riddled with political references and jokes. Despite the format and pretence of being a light-hearted cabaret show, it looks at Thatcher’s controversial policies, particularly the state of the country leading up to the Section 28 vote. This production ends happily for the main character, (even though the majority of audiences are the sort that despise her) and lends itself to empathising with someone that, despite her mistakes, is very much a human rather than a monster. If only this production depicted real life! Writers Jon Brittain and Matt Tedford are a great team who deliver a brilliant piece of writing that manages to be hilarious and highly political at the same time.

Whilst the show was excellent, there is little scope for development. If it were any longer, the concept would stale. As an intimate show, larger venues would also present a challenge. Despite this, it is a vital contribution to fringe theatre and caters to a wide range of audiences.

Intention: ☆☆☆☆☆

Outcome: ☆☆☆☆

Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2

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