Feature | A Day with Oily Cart

Jovana Backovic, Robyn Steward, Mark Foster, Aaron Diaz, Griff Fender, Daniel Gouly in JAMBOREE. Design by Flavio Graff Photo credit Suzi Corker

by Laura Kressly

“Welcome to the glitter zone!”

I’m greeted exuberantly by one of the actors, who are mid-yoga warmup when I arrive. Though I try my best to quietly enter their rehearsal space, I’m flustered by a series of train and tube delays that mean I arrived nearly half an hour after I intended and it’s impossible for me to not be noticed. I self-consciously wave, smile, and settle into the chair that’s closest to the door. There are musical instruments, costume, sound equipment and lots of ‘stuff’ everywhere in their Tooting rehearsal room overlook a school’s playground. And indeed, glitter.

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A Rundown of the Roundabout: Six Shows in the Paines Plough Programme, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

The Paines Plough Roundabout is the most reliable, new writing venues at the fringe. With a collection of work that represents the width and breadth of the UK both geographically and thematically, this year’s offerings are universally strong. From a family musical to a one-man show about a stalker, and everything in between, there is a great selection of shows for audiences looking for new work in a great venue that tours around Britain.

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Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four, Greenwich Theatre

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by Meredith Jones Russell

In this post-Cumberbatch age, you can’t help but feel slightly sorry for any actor taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes. The BBC series has provided such a defining image of Holmes to a generation that one wonders why a company might take on another rehash of a Conan Doyle classic.

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Club Tropicana, New Wimbledon Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

An eighties jukebox musical set on the sunny coast of Spain sounds like a fun night out. However, Club Tropicana highlights the ignorance of British people on all-inclusive holidays, trivialises and stereotypes entire communities of people (in this instance the LGBTQ+ and Spanish communities), and scrapes the bottom of the barrel for a story that has clearly been written in order to serve the eighties tracks, with one-liners that are the lowest common denominator of gags.

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Brawn, King’s Head Theatre

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by Louis Train

What makes some people obsess over fitness? That’s the question at the heart of Brawn, a new play written and performed by Christopher Wollaton under the direction of Matt Staite. At a lean 60-minute run time, Wollaton, alone on stage save a pair of dumbbells, tells the story of how his character, Ryan, came to be the impressive physical specimen he is today, and what he has had to give up to reach it. Part confessional, part social insight, part torture, Brawn is a wise, shocking look into the mind of one man who wants to get bigger.

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The Show in Which Hopefully Nothing Happens, Unicorn Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

For a show in which hopefully nothing happens, there are plenty of weird and wonderful things that unfold, of course. Because a children’s show – or one for adults for that matter – would be incredibly dull indeed if nothing happened, but that’s absolutely not a worry here. 

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Richard III, Alexandra Palace

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by Louis Train

There’s an annoying trend among artists to draw explicit parallels between historical texts and the present day, tossing around words like ‘prescient’ and ‘timely’, and finding hints of Brexit in Arthur Miller plays like religious fanatics spotting the face of Jesus on toast. That’s not to say, however, that we can’t find broad reflections of our world in old stories: people are still people, just as interesting, lovely, and ugly as they ever have been.

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