Review: Princess Essex / HEADCASE, Bush Theatre

Princess Essex and HEADCASE prove two contrasting and enjoyable entries of the Essex on Stage festival at the Bush Theatre

“I’m much more likely to engage in a fantasy than reality”

Originally planned for the VAULT Festival, Essex on Stage – platforming Essex and Outer East London writers – has found a new home at the Bush Theatre’s studio. First up in a double bill for me was Anne Odeke’s Princess Essex, fresh from its own tour of Essex community venues. It’s an adventurous one-woman show that riffs on the story of the first black woman to enter a beauty pageant in the UK and tries to fit a whole lot more besides.  

The tale of Senegalese Princess Dinubolu, especially as rewritten here as an alias for enterprising Southend woman Joanna, is engaging and highly entertaining in Odeke’s hands. And you almost wish she’d focused on that alone, as the framing device of a contemporary schoolgirl giving a presentation on the princess weighs the show down a little with its mechanism of fact delivery. That said, there’s some truly arresting information in here – you just want it to be integrated in a different way to allow more focus on Joanna. Continue reading “Review: Princess Essex / HEADCASE, Bush Theatre”

Winners of the 2022 Olivier Awards

Cabaret and Life of Pi sweep the board at this year’s Oliviers. Deserving winners all but you can’t help but feel it would have been nice to share the love just a little bit more. I still have no desire to Back to the Future though 🤷‍♀️

Best revival
A Number at the Old Vic
WINNER – Constellations – Donmar Warehouse at Vaudeville Theatre
The Normal Heart at National Theatre – Olivier
The Tragedy Of Macbeth at Almeida Theatre

Best entertainment or comedy play
The Choir Of Man at Arts Theatre
Pantoland at the Palladium at the London Palladium
WINNER – Pride And Prejudice* (*Sort Of) at Criterion Theatre
The Shark is Broken at Ambassadors Theatre Continue reading “Winners of the 2022 Olivier Awards”

2022 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations

Not a lot to complain about for once (The Drifters Girl aside), this set of Olivier Award nominations read pretty much OK, though you do wish they’d open the categories to five nominees given how much talent there is to recognise. Anyone you would have added?

Best revival
A Number at the Old Vic
Constellations – Donmar Warehouse at Vaudeville Theatre
The Normal Heart at National Theatre – Olivier
The Tragedy Of Macbeth at Almeida Theatre

Best entertainment or comedy play
The Choir Of Man at Arts Theatre
Pantoland at the Palladium at the London Palladium
Pride And Prejudice* (*Sort Of) at Criterion Theatre
The Shark is Broken at Ambassadors Theatre Continue reading “2022 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations”

2022 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners

The Offies recognise and celebrate the excellence, innovation and ingenuity of independent, fringe and alternative theatres across London, helping to raise their profiles and rewarding the new talent that they nurture, which is essential for the future of the theatre industry.  

Though theatre has been slowly recovering from the Covid pandemic in 2021, there have been enough high-quality Offies nominations post lockdown, to enable the judging panel to select 86 finalists across nearly 30 Offies categories.  The winners were announced at the Offies awards ceremony on 20 February 2022. Continue reading “2022 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners”

The finalists of The Offies 2022

The Offies recognise and celebrate the excellence, innovation and ingenuity of independent, fringe and alternative theatres across London, helping to raise their profiles and rewarding the new talent that they nurture, which is essential for the future of the theatre industry.  

Though theatre has been slowly recovering from the Covid pandemic in 2021, there have been enough high-quality Offies nominations post lockdown, to enable the judging panel to select 86 finalists across nearly 30 Offies categories.  The winners will be announced at the Offies awards ceremony, to be held online this year on 20 February 2022. Continue reading “The finalists of The Offies 2022”

Nominations for the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards

The Black British Theatre Awards (BBTAs) is the UK’s first award show to celebrate the excellence and influence of Black performers and creatives within the UK theatre industry.

CREATIVES GROUP

BEST DIRECTOR AWARD FOR A PLAY OR MUSICAL
Anthony Simpson-Pike, Lava, Bush Theatre
Miranda Cromwell, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Tinuke Craig, The Color Purple – at Home, Curve, in association with Birmingham Hippodrome

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Femi Temowo, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Ian Oakley, From Here, Chiswick Playhouse
Nadine Lee, Bagdad Cafe, The Old Vic

BEST PRODUCER AWARD
Almeida Theatre, and breathe
Chris Steward and Shanay Holmes, West End Musical Celebration at Palace Theatre
Tanisha Spring, A Killer Party

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER AWARD
Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe, The Sun, The Moon and The Stars, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Ingrid Mackinnon, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Sarah Golding, Cruise, Duchess Theatre Continue reading “Nominations for the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards”

Review: Lava, Bush Theatre

Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo is truly excellent in Benedict Lombe’s blistering monologue Lava at the Bush Theatre

“It is time. It has always been time”

Wigan doesn’t get mentioned in many plays it has to be said but it does pop up rather unexpectedly in Benedict Lombe’s Lava, now playing at the Bush Theatre. It is part of the journey that Her has experienced, from Congo to London, via South Africa and Ireland; a journey that Her is being forced to revisit when she applies for a new British passport.

Lava is a ferocious piece of writing, matched perfectly in Anthony Simpson-Pike’s production here with the fabulous talent that is Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, a true star-in-the-making. From the crackling energy of the opening moments of the show, this is monologue as masterclass, as she confidently owns the auditorium and invites us to bear witness to the story being told. Continue reading “Review: Lava, Bush Theatre”

London theatre update for June

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company has announced that tickets are on sale for a brand new production of Terence Rattigan’s much loved play The Browning Version. The production will play for 3 weeks at Riverside Studios from 5 – 29 August with Branagh directing. Tickets are available now from branagh-theatre.com.

The cast is made up of all RADA graduates with Branagh playing Andrew Crocker-Harris. He will be joined by Kemi Awoderu (Taplow), Joseph Kloska (Frank Hunter), Lolita Chakrabarti (Millie Crocker-Harris), Wendy Kweh (Dr Frobisher), Victor Alli (Peter Gilbert) and Sarah Eve (Mrs Gilbert).

The production will be designed by Frankie Bradshaw, Lighting Design will be by Paul Pyant and Sound Design by Emma Laxton. Continue reading “London theatre update for June”

News: the Mono Box presents Reset the Stage

The Mono Box is delighted to announce RESET THE STAGEa collection of 7 filmed monologues written by 7 emerging, ethnically diverse writers performed by established actors on the empty stages of 7 London theatres in lockdown will stream live online on Thursday 17th June at 7.30pm.

This series of short films featuring actors Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Star Wars: Rogue One, Sex Education), Ken Nwosu (Killing Eve, Sticks & Stones) and Danny Kirrane (Don’t Forget the Driver, Peterloo) The evening will be introduced by Patrons of The Mono Box, Sir Derek Jacobi, Youssef Kerkour, Susan Wokoma and James Norton. All ticket sales will raise money for the continual work of the company nurturing and providing opportunities to emerging theatre talent.  Continue reading “News: the Mono Box presents Reset the Stage”

News: My White Best Friend goes online via the Royal Court

Writer Rachel De-Lahay and director Milli Bhatia have commissioned ten writers to pen letters that say the unsaid, for a new, online version of their festival My White Best Friend (and Other Letters Left Unsaid).

Produced by Tobi Kyeremateng with support by the Royal Court Theatre, the online festival will run over a week with a pre-recorded letter by Rachel De-Lahay read each night alongside two letters by some of the most exciting voices in the UK read live. Continue reading “News: My White Best Friend goes online via the Royal Court”