TV Review: It’s A Sin

La. It’s A Sin is a triumphant piece of television written by Russell T Davies, a crucial if challenging watch about how HIV/AIDS cut through the gay community in 1980s London

“We’ve got this great big killer disease and it’s happening in silence”

On the face of it, a five-parter on the AIDS crisis in 1980s London isn’t what you’d necessarily pick to schedule in the depths of a Covid-blighted January. But Russell T Davies and Channel 4 have absolutely hit the mark with It’s A Sin, Dipping every couple of years into the lives of a group of friends who find each other in London’s queer corners, this journey from 1981 to 1991 takes place under the ever-growing and ever-threatening shadow of HIV/AIDS.

It’s the kind of script where you can feel that every word has been intimately felt, with characters based on Davies’ own life, At the heart of it lies Olly Alexander’s Ritchie, an 18 year old would-be law student just waiting to explode out of the closet from his Isle of Wight homelife. It being the 80s, he soon finds himself in a chaotic but fab houseshare in which a new queer family develops – Roscoe (Omari Douglas) escaping his Nigerian family’s plan to straighten him out, the dreamy Ash (Nathaniel Curtis) with his douching advice, quiet Welsh boy Colin (a superb Callum Scott Howells) and Jill (an equally excellent Lydia West) who tempts him over onto the drama course and establishes one of the key relationships of the show (reflecting one of Davies’ own and in a neat touch, the real Jill appears as the fictional Jill’s mum). Continue reading “TV Review: It’s A Sin”

Film Review: Pieces of a Woman (2020)

Vanessa Kirby is searingly good in the ferocious and grief-stricken Pieces of a Woman

“Tell her what it’s like for you now, what this feels like”

Back in 2011, it was clear to see that the cast of Royal Court play The Acid Test would be destined for great things and it is pleasing to see Phoebe Fox and Lydia Wilson graduating to such interesting careers. The third key member of that company though – Vanessa Kirby – has managed to climb the gradient to another level, parlaying her big-time break through role as Princess Margaret in The Crown to roles in two major action franchises in Fast & Furious and Mission: Impossible and now Oscar buzz for two of her roles this past year.

First up here is Pieces of a Woman, directed by Kornél Mundruczó from a screenplay by Kata Wébe and based on their play for TR Warszawa. It is a powerful and punishing look at the shattering effects of the loss of a newborn on a young-ish couple expecting their first child. Born out of the experiences of the writer/director couple, the film hooks on an astonishing single-shot take that lasts for 23 queasily, uneasy minutes that takes us through the increasingly traumatic labour of Kirby’s Martha, supported by partner Sean (Shia LeBeouf) and last-minute replacement midwife Eva (Molly Parker). Continue reading “Film Review: Pieces of a Woman (2020)”

TV Review: Trying (Apple TV)

Rafe Spall and Esther Smith impress in British comedy Trying, helped by the likes of Imelda Staunton and Cush Jumbo

“Hitler?
‘Badminton?'”

Just a quickie for this, as I’ve only just started to actually have a look at what is on AppleTV since they decided to extend my free trial. Created and written by Andy Wolton, Trying is a rather sweet and very typically British sitcom that follows Jason and Nikki, a 30-something couple as they struggle to conceive naturally and decide that they would like to adopt. Led by Rafe Spall and Esther Smith, the show is lots of fun and is blessed with some wonderful supporting performances.

Forever skirting that comedy/drama line, Trying is unafraid of tackling some rather meaty issues. Infertility and what that does to a couple, the inequities of the adoption system, funding for ESOL classes… And even the simplest idea of how relationships grow and are tested by the act of self-reflection – how do you measure achievement when London property prices lock you into renting forever and opportunities to climb the job ladder are way too few and far between. Continue reading “TV Review: Trying (Apple TV)”

News: Arrows & Traps presents Talking Gods

This spring, Arrows & Traps presents Talking Gods, a digital season of five reimagined Greek myths. These moving reworkings of classic Greek tales present snapshots of the modern world filled with pathos and comedy, music and love and tragedy and loss. During the week-long digital festival, one play will premiere every night, and each play will be followed by a live Q&A on Zoom and then remain online for free.

The Greek myths have been a cornerstone of Western culture for millennia, telling stories of gods and monsters but conveying deep wisdom about the human condition. Writer Ross McGregor uses them to examine vital contemporary issues, some of which have become heightened during the pandemic, in his five new plays. Continue reading “News: Arrows & Traps presents Talking Gods”

Top 5 Funniest Celebrity Dating Stories

As much as we like to put celebrities on a pedestal, at the end of the day, they are just people like you and me (at least when it comes to love!). Everyone has probably marked for themselves the best dating website that satisfies them to the fullest extent, and everyone probably has some horror stories to go along with it. If you’ve just gotten back from a bad date, don’t despair!

Here are five times it didn’t work out for our favorite celebrities either. Continue reading “Top 5 Funniest Celebrity Dating Stories”

News: updates for Frozen in the West End.

With so much uncertainty still blighting the West End, Frozen the Musical has announced that it is taking tickets offsale and postponing its premiere until a new timetable can be confirmed. But to sweeten the pill, they’ve also revealed the final members of their company.

Chris Fung and Kerry Spark will join the already announced cast, led by Samantha Barks (Elsa) and Stephanie McKeon (Anna), as well as Obioma Ugoala (Kristoff), Craig Gallivan (Olaf), Oliver Ormson (Hans), Richard Frame (Weselton), and alternating the role of Sven, Mikayla Jade and Ashley Birchall. Continue reading “News: updates for Frozen in the West End.”

Assorted January news

Photo © Pip

Fionn Whitehead, star of Dunkirk and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, will take on the titular role in an upcoming contemporary digital adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, from the team behind the celebrated digital production of What a Carve Up!, is set to push the theatrical form like its predecessor; utilising elements found in radio plays, films, documentaries as well as traditional theatrical techniques.

Set in a profile pic-obsessed, filter-fixated world where online and reality blur, influencer Dorian Gray makes a deal. For his social star never to fade. For the perfect self he broadcasts to the world to always remain. But as his mental health starts to decline, as corruption and murderous depravity start to creep into his world, the true and horrific cost of his deal will soon need to be met.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, which runs for two weeks from 16-31 March, will reunite Henry Filloux-Bennett, writing the new adaptation, and director Tamara Harvey. Continue reading “Assorted January news”

News: new dates announced for Monday Night at the Apollo

Revised dates have now been confirmed for Monday Night at the Apollo – a brand-new concert series for 2021, to be performed in front of socially distanced audiences at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, and simultaneously livestreamed to viewers at home via the theatre discovery platform Thespie, which is dedicated to bringing the best live and recorded theatre to audiences around the world

Originally scheduled for January and February, the concerts have been postponed because of the national government restrictions and venue closures. Tickets are on sale now for Monday 12 April, Monday 26 April and Monday 10 May. In light of the current restrictions, the producers will still review each date as it approaches and react accordingly according to government guidelines at the time. Continue reading “News: new dates announced for Monday Night at the Apollo”

News: new audio-digital theatre platform SOUND STAGE launches

New audio-digital theatre platform SOUND STAGE to premiere new plays from Mark Ravenhill, Roy Williams, Timberlake Wertenbaker and John Byrne

Pitlochry Festival Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in collaboration with Naked Productions are thrilled to announce Sound Stage – a new immersive audio digital theatre which from late March will premiere 8 new plays written by amongst others Mark RavenhillRoy Williams, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and John Byrne.

 Sound Stage is an exciting new audio-digital venture, designed by theatre makers and leading technologists, giving audiences a unique and engrossing online theatre experience of new plays from the best in British theatre which in the future Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh hope to produce on stage.

Sound Stage will operate an online booking system for all productions. Just like booking a ticket for the theatre, audiences will be able to book ahead for a performance and time of their choice. Continue reading “News: new audio-digital theatre platform SOUND STAGE launches”

Yes, You Can Get a Guaranteed Installment Loan With Bad Credit

Having bad credit can mess with a person in all kinds of different ways. It can make it harder for a person to buy a house, a brand new vehicle, or get a credit card. It can also stop a person from getting loans the traditional way, through their bank or other local lenders, thanks to most financial institutions not wanting to do business with folks with bad credit.

So what can you do if you don’t have the best credit but still need money for something? While it might seem like your options are limited in your local area, you aren’t completely out of solutions. There are all kinds of platforms and lenders online who are more than happy to work with folks who have no credit or bad credit. Everyone deserves a chance to have access to money they need, right when they need it—regardless of their credit scores. Continue reading “Yes, You Can Get a Guaranteed Installment Loan With Bad Credit”