Bad Teacher, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a new production from Queen of Cups, a young female-led and London-based theatre company. This one-woman play follows young teacher Evie and her particularly bad day at school, from coming in with a hangover to a hectic parent evening.

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I Can’t Hear You, Theatre503

by Laura Kressly

After Ash and Lucy hook up after work drinks, things quickly get serious between the two young call centre workers. Initially they can’t get enough of each other, but something shifts between them after a homophobic attack on a night out. Their different responses ultimately drive a wedge between them, though underneath this conflict there is genuine and joyful queer love.

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Favour, Bush Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a brand new play, co-commissioned by the Bush Theatre and Clean Break Theatre Company. Clean Break was formed in 1979, and focuses on given women, who have experienced the justice and prison systems, opportunities to work and tell their stories through theatre and performance. This particular story focuses on the release of Aleena from prison, and how this release impacts her daughter Leila, who was been living with Noor, her grandmother during Aleena’s imprisonment. There is a clash of philosophies between the traditional Noor and the freer-spirited and highly strung Aleena, with family secrets threatening to come to a head.

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Feature | Building (Hi)stories: Ladyfriends in Rehearsals

by Diana Miranda

Period dramas have become the ultimate weekend watch according to trending British media. And while Ladyfriends, written and directed by Clodagh Chapman, is pretty much suffragettes Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney’s story, this isn’t one of those dramas. Ladyfriends starts from the premise that Annie and Christabel are dating. Though historians dispute this based on ‘lack of scholastic rigour’, Chapman’s take doesn’t engage in these controversies and sees Chris and Annies’ dating as a fact. To her, a more exciting endeavour is to explore how people relate to history, and what lays behind re-visiting it and pursuing new readings.

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Richard II, The Vaults

by Laura Kressly

Shakespeare depicts Richard II as an ineffective and selfish ruler with little regard for his people or country. Instead of ruling fairly, he wastes the country’s money on unnecessary wars and steals from citizens to recoup the costs. In director Annie McKenzie’s production, this results in a kingdom ridden with violence and poverty, signified by costumes little more than filthy rags, copious stage blood, and recurring fights. This concept largely works but is undermined by a slow start, unneeded movement sequences, and some inconsistent handling of the text. Though the second half dramatically improves, the first is somewhat baggy and lacking in urgency, reducing the cumulative impact of the whole.

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after birth, Omnibus Theatre

by Romy Foster

The NHS estimates that postpartum psychosis affects around 1 in 500 mothers shortly after giving birth. Zena Forster’s explosive new dark comedy after birth looks at this, whilst being a real crowd-pleaser. Brutally honest and equally tender and tough, mother-of-two Ann (played by Sally Tatum) and her new-born are trapped in a mother and baby unit after Ann was sectioned for displaying postpartum psychosis symptoms shortly after giving birth.

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ENG-ER-LAND, Dulwich College

photo: Ali Wright

By Romy Foster

She shoots, she scores with this one. Waiting for her friends to arrive so they can watch Coventry FC live, we join teenager Lizzie as she takes us on a nostalgic stroll down memory lane to the mid-90s. The show is packed with classic tracks and brand references from the era you may have tried to erase from your memory whilst reminiscing about all the bad outfit choices we made as teens. It’s also full of committed dance moves, chants and audience participation.

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In Bad Taste, Bread and Roses Theatre

In Bad Taste – The Bread & Roses Theatre, London - The Reviews Hub

by Diana Miranda

The stage is flooded in red light, ‘angry-chick’ music plays, and four women (Rachel Ferguson, Kirby Merner, Léonie Crawford and Chloe Pidhoreckyj) are eating what looks like chorizo slices with their faces pierced by disgust, fear, sadness, and anger.  I feel like I might be watching the B+15 rated version of Pixars’ Inside Out, specifically the inside of an angry, feminist cannibal. Just when I wonder where Joy is, a frenzied character bursts in (Daisy Kelly, also the playwright), bringing some more food that the group rejects. We discover that it’s the flesh of a banker they’re eating, supposedly as a stand against capitalism. Violet, who kindled the revolutionary spark but is now sat silently, is forced to confess that it was not her rebellious spirit that inspired her but an episode of sexual harassment from the banker, also her former boss.  

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Tokyo Rose, Curve Leicester

Curve Theatre / Tokyo Rose

by Olivia Rose Deane

Burnt Lemon have taken their acclaimed 2019 Edinburgh Fringe hit Tokyo Rose on the road with a retooled cast, score and book and a good deal of anticipation. The bones of this new version of the show remain the same, telling the story of Iva Toguri, a Japanese-American radio journalist wrongly convicted of treason in 1945. As in the original, themes include xenophobia, cultural identity, and scapegoating, all with a six-strong female cast. The show opens with the high-energy and undeniably catchy “Hello America” – attention well and truly grabbed. Unfortunately, the number also represents the pinnacle of what is otherwise a flat, one-note production. The book (by Baldwin and Yoon) is generally good, retaining some of the smart, self-referential moxie that made the show charming in 2019, but is let down by the weakness of the score.

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Somewhere to Belong, Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Photos: Sycorax Collective Presents SOMEWHERE TO BELONG

by Laura Kressly

As writer and performer Kim Scopes points out, bisexual representation on our stages and screens is limited. When a bisexual character appears at all, they are usually defined by their sexual activity and reduced to shallow, biphobic stereotypes. So a whole show about being attracted to more than one gender, made by a bisexual/queer person, is hugely exciting. Unfortunately, despite many great ideas and individual moments of excellent execution, this production feels like a disjointed work-in-progress with sections that only tenuously connect to each other.

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