Monday, 31 December 2012

Cinderella - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Leicester Square Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?
**



Not quite the anti-panto it claims to be, this production tells the darker tale of the girl whom the show is named after. Written and spoken in poetry, lacking gusto in most parts and us being cramped in a room made comparable to lower-class living conditions in the Middle Ages, you’d be forgiven for doubting this from the get-go.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Crazy For You - review

Written by: Josh Brown (@JoshPBrown)

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London
****

Warm fires, great grub, and friendly faces; the Gatehouse is a hospitable and homely Highgate pub, serving as the ideal retreat from a brisk and, as always in Britain, soggy trek through London. The pub’s jovial atmosphere drifts upstairs to the theatre, fashioning the perfect ambience for the 1992 jukebox musical, Crazy For You

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Canterbury Tales - review

Written by: Andrew Crane (@AndrewRCrane)

Southwark Playhouse, London

****

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a 14th century pub complete with live folk music and the fantastically told folk tales to match, then Tacit Theatre’s production of The Canterbury Tales might just be the play for you. Now in the last leg of its tour at Southwark Playhouse, this production of Chaucer’s short stories is performed with such abundant character and charm, even those with an aversion to older theatre will be well and truly entertained.

A Thornton Wilder Christmas - review

Written by: Ed Theakston (@EdTheakston)

King's Head Theatre, London
****

This Christmas, Savio(u)r theatre company in association with the King’s Head present A Thornton Wilder Christmas, a double bill of one-act plays The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Long Christmas Dinner. Both one-act plays, written in 1931, last thirty minutes and this is the first time Thornton Wilder’s work has been performed in London for nearly a decade.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Twelfth Night - review

Written by: Wendy Haines (@Wendyfer1)

Hoxton Hall, London
***

Hoxton Hall is one of those adapted theatre spaces that bears the kind of unique charm achieved by old buildings that lend themselves to community arts projects. Retaining its character, players in the theatre utilise the surrounding balconies, unusual three-tier staging and church-like arrangement for their benefit. The salon:collective have chosen to perform the Christmas frolicking classic Twelfth Night in the space with a touch of panto, farce and cabaret.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

COMPETITION: Win two tickets to a play at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre!

With Christmas just around the corner, we wanted to treat you to a pair of tickets to help you save a few pennies on a present. We've teamed up with Grassroots Shakespeare London to give What's Peen Seen? readers the chance to win two tickets to one of their two productions currently running in rep at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre. You get a signed programme thrown in for good measure, too.

Red Like Our Room Used To Feel - review

Written by: Lily Grouse (@LilyKG)

Battersea Arts Centre, London
****

In a room crammed with personality and the debris of his life, Ryan Van Winkle invites you to listen to his poetry whilst having a cup of tea, biscuits and a brief lie down; it’s half an hour wonderfully spent. The one to one with the poet is a therapeutic and beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Tempest - review

Written by: Elodie Vidal (@ElodieVidal)

Lion and Unicorn Theatre, London
****

Where has dreadful pub theatre gone? Seeing Grassroots Shakespeare London’s current production of The Tempest makes you wonder if it ever really existed. The company gets to the heart of Shakespeare with ease beyond its young age. Its combination of traditional practices, modern references, and stellar performances is of the kind that rekindles your taste for the Bard. And it’s not like you haven’t been warned: the evening’s opening – a sung introduction to the company that also begs spectators to switch off their mobile phone - promises a show at once dynamic and faithful to the spirit of Shakespeare’s work.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Ghost Train - review

Written by: Jessica Gardner (@JessyGardner)

Jack Studio Theatre, Brockley
***

As you step over the threshold into the theatre, you are taken back to the 1940’s on a cloud of smoke in the darkness. Wartime music floods the room, just like the smoke, whilst you settle into your seat. It is not entirely apparent as to why we are suddenly in the 40’s, when in fact the play itself is set in the 20’s; such little modernisation seems to have no effect upon the story whatsoever or have any meaningful bearings upon it dramatically. However, due to the impressive set, with brilliant attention to detail, from the GWR symbols printed on the glass of the windows of the train station waiting room, to the ticket hatch and photograph of King Edward on the wall, you are able to let this slide. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream - review


Written by: Adam Jay (@AdamJBJay)

Lion and Unicorn Theatre, London
****

One of the most often performed and well known of Shakespeare's plays is given a surprisingly fresh and fantastic new twist by Grassroots Shakespeare London, a company that pride themselves on keeping The Bard alive. An incredible evening spent watching one of the most humorous performances of a modernised version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Honk! - review

Written by: Stephen St Clement

Tabard Theatre, London
***





“What’s Mama laid?” “It’s a sort of orange preserve, often found on toast.” Just one of the many punbelievable gags in Stiles and Drew’s take on Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling parable. But, much like the eponymous protagonist, it takes rather a while for Pulling Focus’s production to find its feet and give the audience anything worth honking about. It’s a grower, not a shower, if you will.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Snow White and the Seven Poofs: The Climax! - review

Written by: Tom Woods (@Thomas_E_Woods)

Where did Woods watch it?
Green Carnation Cabaret Venue, London
Was Woods won over?
****


Santa certainly won’t be bringing any presents to the cast and crew of Snow White and the Seven Poofs: The Climax! this year, which is a small sacrifice for a hilarious pantomime that is so naughty it would make a porn star blush. 

Midnight's Pumpkin - review

Written by: Anna Jones (@Now4567Anna)

Battersea Arts Centre, London
*****

If you’re looking for where the party’s at this Christmas, look no further. It’s actually at the Battersea Arts Centre. Kneehigh, the Cornish based theatre company du jour who brought us productions such as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death have turned out a proper cracker full of joy and humour this Christmas. With excellent songs accompanied live throughout (music by Stu Barker, Ian Ross & Stuart McLoughlin) and the chance to get on down in the two intervals, surely no other show in London will see you exuberantly doing the “YMCA” as you conga out of the Grand Hall.

Viva Forever! - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Piccadilly Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?
***



One of the most eagerly anticipated musicals of the year arrives with quite an anti-climactic bang. Attempting to remind us of the girl band extravaganza known as the Spice Girls, this is a musical based on their back catalogue that wasn’t quite known for the skillful song-writing or world-class performances, but rather what they stand for and represent. Viva Forever! is somewhat similar in that respect and is a great way to spice up your evening, but not quite your life.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Three Musketeers - review (2)

Written by: Jessica Gardner (@JessyGardner)

Rosemary Branch Theatre, London
****

The Three Musketeers pantomime at the Rosemary Branch is certainly one for all, if you’re partial to any enjoyment in life then this small-scale show will fill you with enough festive cheer to cause a Christmas dinner stomach ache.

Jack and the Beanstalk - review

Written by: Andrew Crane (@AndrewRCrane)

Ashcroft Theatre (Fairfield Halls), Croydon
****

Something giant is lurking in the Ashcroft Theatre this season, a pantomime of preposterous proportions. It’s Jack and The Beanstalk, a spectacular, pun-laden treat for the whole family. Wonderfully silly and with more energy than a nuclear power station, you’d be a fool to miss it; I hear there’s a giant on the loose to eat anyone who dares. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Three Musketeers - review

Written by: Sophie Talbot (@sophietalbot_91)

Rosemary Branch Theatre, London
***


As d’Artagnan and Athos sword fight awkwardly in front of a white cloth adorned with pegs and pants, you may worry you’re watching an am-dram village hall-type performance. Thankfully, the cloth is whipped down unveiling a distinctive, light-hearted, talent-filled production by Charles Court Opera, aptly coined a ‘boutique panto’.   

Aladdin - review


Written by: Daisy Thurston-Gent

Richmond Theatre, London
***

It’s that time of year again where local theatres are in hot competition to hold the best Pantomime…and it’s not a task that should be taken lightly. Whether, you are in need of a pre-Christmas pick-me-up or simply a way to kick-start your Panto season in festive style, Richmond Theatre’s Aladdin certainly steps up to the mark, providing a warming Christmas show that will have you giggling in minutes.

Privates on Parade - review

Written by: Alisdair Hinton (@AliHinton88)

Noel Coward Theatre, London
*****

If Director Michael Grandage maintains this standard for his season of five plays at the Noel Coward theatre he will achieve something astonishing, for the moment though, this is an excellent start. With Grandage at the helm Privates on Parade, Peter Nichols’ 1977 music comedy transcends its time of writing and becomes startlingly current. The production asks us to consider what happens when the British leave a war zone, what too much luxury leads to, and just what is the “ordinary” England that is worth fighting for? It is relevant, exciting and feels as though it could have been written yesterday.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Sweet Smell of Success - review

Written by: Jessica Gardner (@JessyGardner)

Arcola Theatre, London
*****

Success can not only be smelt in this show, but seen, heard, and felt too. As soon as you enter the brick walled auditorium of the Arcola, you realise that you are not in a theatre at all but in an intimate jazz bar in the 1950s. The set, although extremely minimalist offers the perfect hints to era and location which is also supported by the Arcola’s set up. With the use four stage entrances that surround the audience and the intimate staging, you are immediately drawn into the performance with great ease. With a few tables with 50’s lamps elegantly set in the centre it was really as if you were in the same bar as the whole cast.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Father Christmas - review

Written by: Alex Hiscocks (@alexislawl)

Lyric Hammersmith, London
***

While visually hinting back to its roots in Brigg’s original illustrations, Pins and Needles have adapted the iconic tale in a way that gives children a taste of what modern theatre is all about. With puppetry, live music and wonderful visual effects; this studio production of Raymond Brigg’s iconic Father Christmas is wonderful, charming and captivating. Most importantly, the kids loved it. Short enough to keep even the very young interested, Father Christmas at the Lyric Hammersmith is an ideal theatrical treat for children this Christmas.

Monday, 10 December 2012

James McAvoy to appear in a West End role in 2013

In February of next year, Trafalgar Studios are set to become the theatre destination of 2013. As part of Trafalgar Transformed, a series of productions will be directed by Olivier award winner Jamie Lloyd, with Macbeth starring James McAvoy opening on 9 February. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Mydidae - review

Written by: Andrew Crane (@AndrewRCrane)

Soho Theatre, London
****

Expectations are high for Bafta award-winning writer Jack Thorne’s new play at the Soho Theatre, and with previous works including television’s This is England and Skins; it’s easy to understand why. This time round he’s penned the story of a couple, set entirely in their bathroom. A bizarre setting, yes, but it’s one that works.  Riotously funny, savagely powerful, and with emotional U-bends that leave the audience gasping for air, Mydidae does not disappoint.

Feathers in the Snow - review

Written by: Christianna Mason (@Christianna_L_M)

Southwark Playhouse, London
****

Feathers in the Snow is a fantastic title, but it’s a shame they only spend all of five minutes there, or indeed anywhere else. It’s as if the writer, Philip Ridley, has had one too many good ideas and then tried to fit them all into one play.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Unbroken Line - review

Written by: Kirstie Ralph (@kjralph)

Ovalhouse, London
***

Unbroken Line is a solo project, which fuses spoken word theatre, live painting and Balinese dance. The comic physical theatre piece is supported by the Arts Council England, exploring Jamie Zubairi’s dreamlike world in which he plays multiple characters. The venture is amiable and ambitious, effectively depicting Malayan foreigner Dolah exploring London via a mythical warrior Wirrah, who takes him on a wider journey in search of who he is, what he is and, ultimately, how he might make sense of his life. However, the success of the artistic vision of the piece ultimately suffers from its ambitiousness somewhat.

A Christmas Carol - review

Written by: Lily Grouse (@LilyKG)

Arts Theatre, London
****

Escaping into The Arts Theatre foyer from the chilly London streets, I was greeted by delicious smells of mulled wine and mince pies, fairy lights and festive decorations; for the first time this year, I was filled with a feeling that I can only describe as ‘Christmassy’. The intimate bar provided a perfect prelude to a wonderful evening of festive storytelling. I have seen many productions of A Christmas Carol over the past few years but none have left me as spellbound as this.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Echoa - review

Written by: Daisy Thurston-Gent 

LOST Theatre, London
****

Following a highly acclaimed international run, Compagnie Arcosm return to London’s LOST Theatre for another crack at their multi-disciplined triumph ‘Echoa’. A previous success at Sadler’s Wells, this fascinating show is beginning to prove that dancing is something we now need our ears for.

The Snowman - review

Written by: Sophie Foulds (@SophieFoulds)

Peacock Theatre, London
****

Christmas is here! The Snowman is back, along with all his snow friends including ballerinas, toy soldiers, and even dancing vegetables. Really. Now enjoying its 15th consecutive year, it still has the ability to fill the auditorium of the Peacock Theatre, both with seasoned theatregoers, and excited children waving their glowing snowmen toys along to Howard Blakeʼs unforgettable score. Scenario co-creators Howard Blake, Robert North, and Bill Alexander take Raymond Briggs classic children’s story and give it life, colour, and above all, a little bit of magic.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Machines For Living - review

Written by: Sophie Talbot (@sophietalbot_91)

Battersea Arts Centre, London
**

Crank Theatre’s devised piece is ambitious, aiming to explore the relationship between architecture and community during Britain’s 1950s high-rise flats era. The company show promise but ultimately fall short of a sky-high production.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

American Idiot - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been? 
Hammersmith Apollo, London
Was Peen keen?
****



The sensational cast and creative behind this flawless production tease London with a short season of the smash-hit musical at the huge Hammersmith Apollo to see out their tour of the UK and Ireland. It’s a huge moment in the history of London theatre and to miss it, especially if you’re a Green Day fan, should frankly be a crime.

Once Upon A Mattress - review

Written by: Caroline Mathias (@caroveraclare)

Union Theatre, London
****

Saturday night was freezing, and the wood-burning stove in the Union Theatre bar was very popular among the patrons of Once Upon a Mattress – The untold story of ‘The Princess and the Pea’. Formerly a Broadway hit, it’s a musical retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s well-loved fairytale. I’m feeling festive already. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

This Is A Reconstruction - review

Written by: Dombo (@DomOJFryer)

Where's Dom gone?
Camden People's Theatre, London
Was Dom fond?
***


What would you expect the human race to be remembered by? I bet it isn't television. This Is A Reconstruction is a piece explaining how the end of the world comes about December 21st 2012, retrospectively using the future's interpretation of our final phenomenon: television. It's really not as complicated as it sounds.

Dick! - review

Written by: Ed Theakston (@EdTheakston)

Leicester Square Theatre, London
****

Pantomime is a form of theatre with a long and somewhat varied history. Men indulging in their guilty pleasure of dressing in girls clothes and girls in boys clothes, awful humour, cringing parents and children getting their first theatrical experience. We all hold panto near and dear to our hearts, even if a little hesitantly. Stuart Saint’s Dick! at Leicester Square is a deliciously naughty, raucous guilty pleasure.

Monday, 3 December 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream - review

Written by: Lauren Buckley (@LaurenBuckers)

Blue Elephant Theatre, London
****

A Midsummer Night’s Dream with no Puck is like a light with no bulb; it just can’t work…or can it? That was my first question upon realising that only four Sprites and no famous imp appeared in the cast list of Lazuras Theatre’s production of The Dream at the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell. This was not the only change to the script of this stylishly modern interpretation of one of the Bard’s most well-known plays but my first clue that this was going to be a very different adaptation of the play.

Cinderella - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Lyric Hammersmith, London
Was Peen keen?
*****



Providing a pitch-perfect, joyous stomp up to Christmas, this is quite simply 2012’s must-see festive show. This more than vibrant production is crammed full of gags and awe-inspiring performances, and demands you partake to a point where everybody becomes more than willing. A slight confession: my life has been inundated with appalling (read ‘eye-gouging’) amateur panto, so to say we weren’t on good terms is the understatement of the decade. This being my first professional panto experience (cue gasp), I’m officially a convert already gagging for my next one.

The Prince and the Pauper - review

Written by: Naomi Lawson (@NaomiMLawson)

Unicorn Theatre, London
****

As the days get colder and the wind more biting, the Unicorn Theatre invites us into the warm to share the festivities in this storytelling bonanza for ages 6 plus. Jemma Kennedy presents her adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, the ultimate tale of mistaken identity which sees one young boy travel from rags to riches and another the opposite way entirely. Under Selina Cartmell’s direction, the ensemble (led by twins Danielle and Nichole Bird as the young Prince Edward and Tom Canty) brings the glitz and grime of the Tudor world to life.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

DEFRAG_ - review



Camden People’s Theatre, London
****

Apocalyptic scenarios incorporating computers and artificial intelligence are hardly new ground to be explored in fiction. It's a sci-fi sub-genre saturated by a plethora of dystopian visions, so surely nothing fresh could surface in this theme? Wrong. DEFRAG_ not so much re-imagines the genre, it’s rather a complete system reboot with a software overhaul of dry wit and compelling showmanship. This is quintessential fringe theatre, inventive and original to the core, or in this case, the CPU.

Straight - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Bush Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?
****



A re-sparked friendship turns into a somewhat improbable bromance more special than most. But DC Moore’s production directed by Richard Wilson, based on the US film Humpday written and directed by Lynn Shelton, shows us the situation in a convincing manner and more prominently, makes us belly laugh the whole way through.

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Part II - review

Written by: Miranda Blazeby (@MirandaBlazeby)

Guildhall School (Silk Street Theatre), London
****

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is characteristically and unmistakably Dickens. Here we have a multitude of fast paced, colourful and often caricatured characters fighting their way through a satirical commentary which examines the pitfalls of a social hierarchy that rewards the rich and condemns the poor whilst paying little attention to the fundamental importance of good and evil. At the centre of almost every story, Dickens places a character, usually male and eponymous, who is as plainly truthful, honest and pure as his villainous counterpart is deceitful, cruel and abhorrent. As we have had Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, here we have Nicholas Nickleby who carries the plot on his shoulders, rescuing a plethora of characters from societal injustice whilst simultaneously bringing to justice all those responsible, specifically his own tyrannous uncle Ralph Nickleby.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Neon Friday - review


Written by: Ed Theakston (@EdTheakston)

Battersea Arts Centre, London
****

Forced Entertainment have a unique reputation for creating theatre that pushes the boundaries of what an audience might expect a theatre production to do. To call this a theatre production would not do Forced Entertainment and artistic director Tim Etchell’s Neon Friday justice; it was a night of varied entertainments in a neon-filled building. There was something very special about the atmosphere the evening created in a bustling BAC.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Viva Tonight, Viva Forever!: the doors of Piccadilly Theatre open to one of the most anticipated musicals in the past decade

A brand new musical, based on the multi-million selling music of The Spice Girls opens its doors to previews tonight. 

This has likely been one of the most anticipated musicals of the decade, and now we actually get to see it. After the case was announced a while back, rehearsals commenced and previews are running until 11th December when the musical officially opens.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Lovesong at RADAR 2012 - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny

Where's Peen been?
Bush Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?
***



How many times do we have to be asked, “How many times you gotta be taught the same lesson?” Honestly, once was enough.

RADAR 2012 at the Bush Theatre: New Writing Beyond Its Definition

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Bush Theatre, London





RADAR 2012 has been a festival centered on ‘new writing’ at the Bush Theatre, which was aimed at being “a platform to lead us forward”. On the final night, a genuinely interesting and thought-provoking platform from beginning to end saw some great speakers at the peak of their career discussing what ‘new writing’ means and means to them, where it can go from here, and even how it came about in the first place.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Call Me Merman - review

Written by: Ed Theakston (@EdTheakston)

The Tabard Theatre, London

****

Ethel Merman is an icon. She is a musical theatre institution. She originated some of the most iconic roles of American musical theatre in the twentieth century. It therefore seems fitting that the larger-than-life Rosemary Ashe should be the woman to star in this one-woman tribute to ‘la Merm’.

I Stand Corrected - review

Written by: Sophie Talbot (@sophietalbot_91)

Ovalhouse, London
****

It’s “because it’s bent” Mojisola Adebayo remarks tongue-in-cheek, referring to her struggle to steady a microphone stand. The audience laughs appreciatively at this nifty irony in the midst of a production responding to the prevalent ‘corrective’ hate rapes in South Africa and anti-gay marriage stances in Britain.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Judith Lucy - review

Written by: Dombo (@DomOJFryer)

Where's Dom gone? 
Soho Theatre, London
Was Dom fond?
***


There's nothing funny about being late. And this isn't just advice I would pass onto Judith Lucy - my guest also kept me waiting for half an hour too. But do try passing this on to the aforementioned Aussie comedian, a woman who, to her credit, seems to be able to find the funny side of anything.

Heir Of The Dog - review

Written by: Andrew Crane (@AndrewRCrane)

The Dogstar, Brixton
**

For the evening’s entertainment, Almost Random Theatre offered us 3 bite-sized performances around the theme of God, collectively entitled Heir Of The Dog. Why they chose this title was unclear; it seemed more than an ‘almost random’ label for the theologically themed evening, and these performances certainly shouldn’t be prescribed as a hangover cure.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Long Live the Mad Parade - review

Written by: Tom Woods (@Thomas_E_Woods)

Where did Woods watch it?
Ashcroft Theatre (Fairfield Halls), Croydon 
Was Woods won over? 
****


If you saw the image of the queen from the Olympic opening ceremony that was doing the rounds a few months ago, you may well say that she looks “f***ed owff” – which is precisely the set up for Long Live the Mad Parade by David Spicer - a royally entertaining comic fantasy which will leave you grinning from ear to ear.

A Clockwork Orange - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Soho Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?
****



There is a very valid and poignant message to be taken from A Clockwork Orange, and it’s one that is new to few people. After all; this has been a novel, a film, and a play for quite some time and frankly if you don’t know the story, you should. In the wake of the 2011 London riots (granted, a year ago, but they’re pretty difficult to forget), we see a gang of ‘ultra violent’ teenagers up to what they do best, and Alexandra Spencer-Jones’s production does not think twice about hammering home the stuff that we need to know in a spectacular fashion. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Dark Earth and the Light Sky - review

Written by: Stanley Eldridge (@StanleyEldridge)

Almeida Theatre, London
****

Plays about writers, bio-plays, tend to stray from balanced pieces of drama into opulent devices of worship very quickly. There’s certain romanticism in using the same form, the same pen as one’s hero might have used to extol their glorious life. The Dark Earth and the Light Sky proves to be a thoroughly interesting piece, precisely because it sidesteps any sickly bio-play trap. Nick Dear has produced an engaging piece about the poet Edward Thomas, whose work spanned the years surrounding World War One, in which Thomas fought and died.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Table Set For Two - review

Written by: Josh Brown (@JoshPBrown)

Sutherland House, Royal Holloway University of London
***




“Thank God we got caught in the rain.” Undoubtedly, there is something strangely romantic about the rain.  Perhaps it is the serenading claps of droplets as they meet the ground or perhaps it is the fresh smell of lightly kissed tarmac or maybe, just maybe, it is the intimacy of an endearing embrace sheltered beneath an umbrella.  Yes, The Underground Clown Club returns with the sister piece to their earlier production of The Ball or How to Dance, but after such a successful production could the clowning duo maintain such standards? 

Medea - review

Written by: Alex Hiscocks (@alexislawl)

Richmond Theatre, London
***

I'm going to make a shameful confession: I was not familiar with Medea when I caught it at the Richmond Theatre. I knew it was a tragedy; a woman scorned after betrayal from her husband and that was about it. I was keen not to spoil the plot so made sure to avoid any synopsis so as to see it with an untainted vision, which I'm certainly glad I did. Mike Bartlett nobly adapts Medea for the modern eye and if you're even slightly interested in Greek theatre and tragedy, you'll be doing yourself a wrongdoing by missing this modernised take on an ancient text.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Forced Entertainment's 'The Coming Storm' at BAC

This coming Friday, the 23rd November, see's a special double-bill of Forced Entertainment and Tim Etchell's work take over Battersea Arts Centre, as the venue stages both performances and fills itself with their neon signs, music, and some jazzy cocktails that you're sure to never have tried before. We'll certainly be heading along, and letting you know exactly what we thought, but figured you might be keen to get some tickets too. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Illusions at RADAR 2012 - review

Written by: Wendy Haines (@Wendyfer1)

Bush Theatre, London
****




Illusions is a play by Russian Playwright Ivan Viripaev, on this occasion translated by Cazimir Liske and presented by Actors Touring Company at the Bush Theatre. It’s a lot like Closer by Patrick Marber, but with less irritating characters who keep their feelings pent up to avoid playing Wife Swap, as opposed to swinging with open arms. The play is being performed as part of RADAR 2012 at the Bush Theatre, a festival to celebrate the future of new writing.

Encompass Productions presents Bare Essentials II: The Emerging Artists Showcase

Written by: Samantha Wynn 

Battersea Barge, London

Last Wednesday saw Encompass Productions present the second edition of their new writing event. With Encompass hosting the event and featuring their own work and performers throughout the evening, they also chose to sit back and leave the limelight to be filled by other companies and artists performing their latest work. If any of you attended the first edition of Bare Essentials, you will remember that the Barge almost sank to the bottom of the Thames with the amount of people turning out to support these up and coming artists. Only half the expected amount of audience members attended on this cold November evening, but it didn’t stop those who did attend to show a warm welcome and support of the new, innovative work.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Blow Out! - review

Written by: Christianna Mason (@Christianna_L_M)

Etcetera Theatre, London
**

I have nothing against farce but when you try to mix it with serious, heavy drama scenes (thick with clichéd lines and speeches) the result is somewhat cringe worthy. It starts out as a potentially innovative production with an interesting opening sequence and a curious premise but then spirals into a weird muddle of styles. The wide variety of genres used is simply confusing.

Constellations - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been? 
Duke of York's Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?
*****



Somewhere, in a parallel universe, this play hasn’t been written and performed and a whole load of people are missing out on something spectacular. Thankfully, in this universe, it’s now in its second run (after its first at the Royal Court earlier this year) and continues to receive loud cheers and rapturous applause. We’re definitely the lucky ones.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Carbon Dating - review

Written by: Elodie Vidal (@ElodieVidal)

Jack Studio Theatre, Brockley 
**

Carbon Dating knows how to hook its audience. The play goes off to a great start, featuring audience involvement, an intriguing stage design and dynamic directing; unfortunately, it struggles to live up to expectations as the play goes on.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Blue/Orange - review

Written by: Kirstie Ralph (@kjralph)

Richmond Theatre, London
****

An uninhabited, pristine consultation room of a psychiatric hospital was our introduction to Penhall’s acclaimed play. The room, with its gleaming metal, polished glass and white faux leather chairs oozed clinical professionalism, alongside a fruit bowl of oranges which is perhaps more common in a “Bupa” hospital than one of a failing NHS; little did we know that the oranges would become the focal point for a play which addresses issues that are much less obvious and attractive.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Seagull - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Southwark Playhouse, London
Was Peen keen?
***



Anya Reiss is arguably one of the most exciting new British playwrights, so it seems appropriate that she be the one to put a fresh spin on one of Chekhov’s masterpieces. It’s an enjoyable production that never quite takes flight; and at times, it comes close to a crash landing.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Theatre Uncut: Brand New StART

This week (tomorrow!) brings you an overwhelmingly exciting event that we think you must know about. 

Here's the good news: our good friends, Look You Made Productions, have teamed up with Theatre Uncut (who we have previously raved about, a lot, right here) to bring you an evening of rehearsed readings from some chosen playwrights, which include the likes of Neil LaBute and Anders Lustgarten. 

The Fish Tales of Alaska - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
The Yard, London
Was Peen keen?
****




This is a multi-disciplinary performance packed to the brim with punch, awe and salmon. It is Fringe theatre at it’s best; an all-female cast of good vocalists, compelling dancers and a leading lady to soak up all of the well-deserved sympathy tells us a tale by means of one of the freshest, most intriguing productions of late 2012.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Chewing Gum Dreams at RADAR 2012 - review

Written by: Tom Woods (@Thomas_E_Woods)

Where did Woods watch it? 
Bush Theatre, London
Was Woods won over? 
****


When was the last time that you felt old? Chewing Gum Dreams By Michaela Coel takes its audience back to school in a hilarious, poignant and occasionally sadly nostalgic tale about the 67 Bus, playground gossip and sex.

Monday, 12 November 2012

RADAR 2012 at The Bush Theatre: One Idea That Could Change Our Theatrical Landscape

Written by: Tom Woods (@Thomas_E_Woods)

Bush Theatre, London





Wednesday the 7th of November marked the start of the Bush Theatre’s RADAR 2012 platforms. Kicking off with ‘one idea that could change our theatrical landscape’ they run until the 22nd of November, and include sneak peaks of some fantastic new writing. If you haven’t already, I cannot urge you strongly enough to get a ticket and attend.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Shakespeare Conspiracy - review

Written by: Ryan J. Brown (@freakyriddles)

Chelsea Theatre, London
****

At the centre of Shepherd’s The Shakespeare Conspiracy is the inspired notion that all of William Shakespeare’s characters are 100% living, breathing, and dysfunctional earth dwellers. Honing in on societies’ infatuation with a decent conspiracy, particularly the multitude surrounding the Bard, Shepherd intelligently creates a fast-paced, melodramatic and meta-theatrical delight that draws its audience in with a constant blend of glowing pop-culture references and intelligent narrative.

Killing Romeo - review

Written by: Natasha Shah (@Tash_Shah)

Etcetera Theatre, London
***

Romeo and Juliet might have been star crossed lovers, but it turns out the actors playing them were neurotic, vicious egomaniacs; at least that’s the case in Etcetera Theatre’s latest production. In Jazz Martinez Gamboa’s writing and directorial debut, two young actors in their final year of training rehearse scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as they battle to be signed by an agent. However, as the tension and frustration builds, their relationship grows complex and they find themselves unable to work together with any success. The language of Romeo and Juliet is interwoven into the text and the characters at times use Shakespeare’s prose where their own fails them.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Atheist - review

Written by: Christianna Mason (@Christianna_L_M)

The Lion and Unicorn Theatre, London
****


Cynicism, sex and scandal: The Sun, take note. Augustine Early, an American journalist (Jonathan Chambers) talks us through his sleazy and opportunistic crawl to fame. A despicable premeditated trajectory, he manipulates any surprises to his advantage giving no regard to basic human decency. This one-man show churns us through an explicit series of deliciously disgraceful events.

Blackshaw New Writing Night

Written by: Caroline Mathias (@caroveraclare)

Upstairs at The Horse, London


Blackshaw have been running New Writing nights for nearly two years, and have developed a format for the evening that really works. The audience are given wristbands so we can pop out between pieces, and each performance is followed by an opportunity to give feedback – either written anonymously or spoken into a dictaphone; and writers can pose specific questions if they want to know more about their audience’s response. This evening the programme featured four theatre pieces, but poetry, novel extracts and music are all accepted for this bi-monthly event.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Radio Times - review

Written by: Adam Carver (@CarverAdam)

Richmond Theatre, London
***


Upon arrival at the Richmond Theatre for the opening night of Radio Times: The Musical several actors dressed in period 1940s costumes greeted me; and a foyer emblazoned with equally fitting war-time posters which, coupled with the timeless elegance of the theatre itself, set the scene perfectly for the Blitz based musical comedy Radio Times.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change - review

Written by: Seona McClintock (@seonamcclintock)

Riverside Studios, London
**


It’s easy to see why this show is one of the longest running Off-Broadway: it tackles with wit the relationship issues that crowd after packed crowd can identify with, but it needs to pack a few more punches to make it to the Great White Way. But it has made it to the Riverside Studios in London where the pattern is broadly the same. This musical revue strings together a series of sketches and songs about relationships since the dawn of time, from Adam and Eve to the average modern-day cinema-going couple, from first dates to funeral homes.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Hatpin - review

Written by: Wendy Haines (@Wendyfer1)

Blue Elephant Theatre, London
***




The Blue Elephant Theatre is a small venue in an area of London that isn’t exactly bursting with culture. The organisation brings community and youth theatre to Camberwell despite austerity, an admirable pursuit which many other disadvantaged areas seem to be mimicking.

The Snow Spider - review

Written by: Dombo (@DomOJFryer)

Where's Dom gone?
Ovalhouse, London
Was Dom fond?
***


It is an odd thing to find yourself surrounded by people a third of your size. Yet when watching IO Theatre Company's new adaptation of acclaimed author Jenny Nimmo's The Snow Spider, this is what happens. Children's theatre seems to be fluent with the Zeitgeist right now in Britain, with seemingly more shows popping up than seen before.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

La Fille à la Mode - review

Written by: Sophie Foulds (@SophieFoulds)

Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
***

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous!” according to Coco Chanel. Dante or Die Theatre (in partnership with Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust) attempts to decipher this notion and the notion of the ʻIt Girlʼ in its re-worked production of La Fille a La Mode; the title inspired by the historic Theatre Royal Haymarket’s first ever production in 1720. Daphna Attias and Terry OʼDonovans choice to settle their promenade, dance-theatre piece within the grand theatre creates an instant sense of mystery and allurement; there is a certain romance about the place. Though one could question what relevance (title aside) did the theatre have to such a specific subject matter, that it would need to transcend periods of time and not get stuck in the history and time that the Haymarket holds.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Home - review


Written by: Rachel Hopping (@roadtorach)

Where did Hop pop? 
The Last Refuge, London 
Was it top for Hop? 
****

Hidden just off Peckham’s bustling Rye Lane, The Last Refuge provides the perfect shelter from the ghostly Halloween chill. A formidable, industrial door, marked only by curling chalked lettering and friendly fairy lights conceals a phenomenal hidden world in vivid contrast to its industrial setting. It’s the last place you’d expect to find such rare and beautiful theatre. But behind the scraping metal door, a cosy, candlelit bar - chock full of antique furniture and bric-a-brac - softens the harsh warehouse walls. Step through the chalk daubed back doors and enter yet another space entirely.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Othello - review

Written by: Woods (@Thomas_E_Woods)

Where did Woods watch it?
Jack Studio Theatre, Brockley 
Was Woods won over?
****



Given that most English A-Level students in the country have written about how Shakespeare’s themes are ‘timeless’ at least once, it is very welcome when a production really gets a modern adaptation so right.  Whereas so many adaptations offer two hours of convoluted and ham fisted attempts to shoehorn the most recent modern conflict into Anthony and Cleopatra, or awkwardly justify Elsinore as a police state gripped by terrorism threats, Culturcated Theatre company pulls off a stunning performance of Othello that works so well in a South East London Council estate that it almost feels like it was written for it.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Qudz - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
The Yard, London
Was Peen keen?
***



In an understated way that The Yard is perfectly suited to, this is one of the great 2012 theatrical productions. A mixture of live music, shadow performance and infliction of sensual material upon the audience comes together to make a truly moving production, written and directed by the Associate Artistic Director of the venue. It presents the opposition of Bush and Saddam from a perspective that a lot of London audiences will be oblivious to, making it something well worth seeing.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

55 Days - review

Written by: Stephen St Clement

Hampstead Theatre, London
****





Howard Brenton’s new play charting the 55 days leading up to the execution of King Charles I is a slow-burning drama that more than makes up for in intensity what it occasionally lacks in dynamism. England is undergoing seismic change, where the absolute power of the monarchy is about to be challenged like never before. As Douglas Henshall’s Oliver Cromwell explains prophetically: “We are not just trying a tyrant, we are inventing a country.”

Friday, 26 October 2012

You Can Still Make a Killing - review

Written by: Alex Hiscocks (@alexislawl)

Southwark Playhouse, London

****







You Can Still Make a Killing is possibly the most superbly written and relevant piece of new writing this year, with dialogue so electric and a story so gripping, that the audience’s heads snap left to right in eager anticipation of the next volley of dialogue. I’ll summarise briefly: while the subject matter is still fresh in the minds of Britain, you owe it to yourself to see this play.