Finishing the Picture, Finborough Theatre

by an anonymous guest critic

An insight into the stark realities of the film industry, the Finborough Theatre’s production of Finishing the Picture is a perfect mix of grit and comedy. Loosely based on Arthur Miller’s then-wife Marilyn Monroe’s experience filming The Misfits  in 1961, this is the play’s first European premiere and is harrowingly apt in a era of #MeToo allegations.

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I Am of Ireland, Old Red Lion Theatre

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

A buoyant cast enters singing their hearts out to “Ireland’s Call”. They are dressed as a variety of Irish stereotypes: a man in a balaclava, a priest, Miss Ireland, an Orangeman, a rugby fan. Caricatures, certainly, but there’s a lot of energy, and the suggestion we might see some of these clichés unpacked and explored.

Then, suddenly, we seem to be in a completely different play. I Am of Ireland, an examination of the complexities and divisions of recent Irish history up to the present day, provides short monologues and scenes focusing on an entirely different set of characters, with a markedly different tone. Continue reading

Flutter, Soho Theatre

by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Heading home from the Soho Theatre after watching Justin Hopper’s Flutter, it was striking to see crowds of people, mainly men, congregate outside the huge Hippodrome Casino that faces Leicester Square station. The detailed interior of the Grosvenor betting shop, immaculately imagined in the Soho upstairs space, had impressed, but felt rather distant from the location of the playing space. Now facing these worshippers to the church of gambling, it seems such snobberies were ignorantly informed. The play’s press describes it as “a love-letter to the high street bookies”. This love is a dark one though, rapidly told in this hour and a half melodrama.

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Suicide Notes… The spoken word of Christopher Brett Bailey, Shoreditch Town Hall

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

“I wanted to be gentle when I blew his mind.”

Christopher Brett Bailey could read the Argos catalogue and have an audience hang on his every word. But his talent for storytelling is matched by his weird and wonderful writing, and so we get to take another trip down the rabbit hole of his inspired or insane work.

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The Gulf, Tristan Bates Theatre

by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

All is not as tranquil as it seems on a quiet shallow of the Gulf of Mexico – Kendra and Betty sit on a boat one afternoon ostensibly to fish, but in reality to thrash out their relationship. As night sets in, they begin to wonder whether they can ever escape where they have ended up.

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