Review: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice brushes up well as a classy and confident new British musical

“You must be a young lady of extraordinary power”

Thwarted out of its planned run at the Southwark Playhouse at the beginning of the year, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice has worked its own kind of magic to re-emerge as an online production, available now to stream at stream.theatre over the next couple of weeks. And we should be mighty glad that it has, as it turns out to be a refreshing twist on familiar material, family-friendly without talking down to its audience and ultimately, a really rather lovely new British musical .  

Acknowleding the relative paucity of Goethe’s original poem, Richard Hough’s book imagines a much richer world in which brooms can eventually go crazy. The show is set in Midgard, a place up in the far north with a unique and precarious relationship to the aurora borealis,  one which is challenged by the desire for economic progress. There, only a single-father sorcerer and his rebellious daughter exploring her own magical potential can save the day, but they can barely talk properly together. Continue reading “Review: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

Review: Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure

Taking immersive theatre online in great style, Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure offers huge entertainment in The Case of the Hung Parliament

“This isn’t a game we’re playing, this is a murder investigation”

Les Enfants Terribles are well established as doyens of immersive theatre so it is little surprise that their pivot to online work is a hugely satisfying experience. Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure sees them partner with virtual reality company LIVR to create something that sits between “theatre, gaming, escape room and board game” as we don the deerstalker in order to try and solve The Case of the Hung Parliament.

The Home Secretary, The Foreign Secretary and the Lord Chamberlain have all been found hanging from a noose, Sherlock has gone missing and Watson is all of a tizzy since the Prime Minister is next on the hit list. So there’s nothing for it but to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in to trying to solve the case in the time left (never has 75 minutes gone so quickly!) as a range of suspects is provided and a number of locations stuffed with clues ready for the finding. Continue reading “Review: Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure”

Review: Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People

Creation Theatre’s Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People takes us on a delightfully dark journey through the world of fairytales

“Never underestimate the power of the full moon”

Fresh from winning an ONCOMM Award for their inventive reinvention of Wonderland in Alice – A Virtual Theme Park, Creation Theatre are continuing their exploration of the digital auditorium with their newest production Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People.

Before starting, we’re encouraged to light a candle and switch off the lights, which might seem a little much at first but actually turns out to be a highly effective method of creating a different, special, theatrical even, atmosphere far removed from the many Zoom meetings that make up so much of working life now. Continue reading “Review: Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People”

Film Review: Saint Maud (2019)

Intensely disturing and superbly acted, the psychological horror of Saint Maud is a stunning debut film from Rose Glass, 

“To save a soul, that’s quite something”

I don’t often reach for a horror film myself but the critical buzz around Saint Maud proved irresistible, along with the presence of Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle in the lead roles. And I’m glad I did, even if it proves to be a genuinely disturbing and perturbing filmic experience (and bravo to whoever is designing the artwork, the film’s posters are just stunning).

Clark plays Maud, a private agency nurse who has found herself in Scarborough in the midst of some kind of crisis. She believes that God is talking to her and when she takes on the role of caring for the terminally ill Amanda, a gregarious former dancer played with biting relish by a fantastic Ehle, she believes herself to be called to divine action to save a lost cause. Continue reading “Film Review: Saint Maud (2019)”

Trailer released for The Banishing

Sound the #Heffklaxon! John Heffernan stars with Jessica Brown Findlay and John Lynch in The Banishing – the new horror film from Christopher Smith

In the 1930s in the heart of England, a young reverend and his family move into a manor house, which soon proves to have a horrifying secret. When a vengeful spirit haunts the little girl and threatens to tear the family apart, they are forced to turn to black magic or risk losing their daughter forever.


The Banishing will be released in cinemas and on digital platforms March 26th 2021, courtesy of AMC Networks’ Shudder, in partnership with Vertigo Releasing

News: Casts Announced for Next Three New Sound Stage Productions

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with Naked Productions are delighted to announce casts for three forthcoming Sound Stage plays.

  • Tennis Elbow by John Byrne (30 April – 2 May 2021) is directed by Elizabeth Newman and stars Maureen Beattie, Brian Ferguson, Jessica Hardwick, Cherylee Houston, Louise Jameson, Anne Odeke, Sally Reid, Kirsty Stuart, Samuel West and Fiona Wood
  • Hindu Times by Jaimini Jethwa (28 – 30 May 2021) is directed by Caitlin Skinner and stars Rehanna McDonald, Adam McNamara and Daniel Portman
  • The Mother Load by Lynda Radley (25 – 27 June 2021) is directed by Isobel McArthur and stars Nalini Chetty, Anna Russell-Martin, Wendy Seager and Rosalind Sydney

Continue reading “News: Casts Announced for Next Three New Sound Stage Productions”

2021 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners

In this ‘special circumstances’ year, the Offies 2021 Awards Ceremony celebrated the creativity and resilience of artists in fringe, alternative and independent theatre in a time of crisis who have found new ways to produce fresh and inventive work for thousands of stay-at-home audiences.

The Offies are OffWestEnd’s main awards, for shows with at least 10 performances, and awards were given to the best of the shows presented before lockdown and the few who managed to go ahead in the summer
months.

The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in May 2020. Additionally, the winner of the OffFest award for theatre shows in festivals was also announced, alongside extra OneOff awards for innovative work and initiatives in 2020, especially in the light of the Covid lockdown. Continue reading “2021 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners”

Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Five The Classics of Broadway

The Theatre Channel returns with Episode Five, full of The Classics of Broadway sung by the likes of Bonnie Langford, Gary Wilmot and Marisha Wallace

“Tell me, why should it be true,
That I get a kick out of you”

Over four instalments last year, Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café’s The Theatre Channel managed the not-inconsiderable feat of finding its niche within the crowded marketplace of streamed theatrical content and also elevating its quality. Such is its quality with its consistently high production values, you really do get the feeling of seeing bona fide musical theatre rather than just another concert.

It doesn’t come easily though and the filming of Episode Five – The Classics of Broadway was hit particularly hard with the double whammy of the third lockdown and director and choreographer Bill Deamer having to shield. But we all know the show must go on and with Thom Southerland being brought in as co-director, this musical journey down the Great White Way arrives in fine form, maintaining that impressive standard. Continue reading “Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Five The Classics of Broadway”

Review: West End Musical Drive In, Episode 1

This capture of last summer’s West End Musical Drive In delivers much of the thrill of live performance, with Shan Ako and Layton Williams in particularly fine form

“Honk your horns”

Last summer saw the team behind the West End Musical Brunch pivot within the constrictions of social distancing to create the West End Musical Drive In concert series. And with great consideration for those of us who don’t drive, the shows were filmed and five of them are now being streamed on a weekly basis via Stream.Theatre.

Layton Williams is the headliner for this show and it is is not hard to see why. Supported by an ensemble from the forthcoming tour of Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, he struts with outrageous levels of charisma and fashion-forward thinking through numbers from that show, Kinky Boots, Rent and much more besides. Continue reading “Review: West End Musical Drive In, Episode 1”

News: full cast announced for digital Dorian Gray

The co-producers of the upcoming digital adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray have today announced the production’s full casting and creative team.

Joining previously announced Fionn Whitehead, in the title role, are Alfred Enoch as Harry Wotton, Joanna Lumley as Lady Narborough, Emma McDonald as Sibyl Vane and Russell Tovey as Basil Hallward with Stephen Fry as the Interviewer. Continue reading “News: full cast announced for digital Dorian Gray”