WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase

Less a review and more of a feature on this innovative programme – WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase

“I don’t want to be the last chair”

You want to believe that the world of theatre-making is open to everyone, that institutions are craving to hear new authentic voices, but the reality is is that it really isn’t that simple at all. Just look at theatres like the Hampstead and the Almeida who have taken the radical step of announcing Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters in their new seasons. Admittedly auteur-led but still, where’s the support and encouragement for those that want to tell their own stories?

It’s in the grassroots that’s where, in schemes like WoLab’s Actor-Writer showcase which invited aspiring artists to participate in this summer-long course to further develop and nurture their skills not just as actors and writers but as rounded theatre professionals with an eye on marketing and producing as much as making. It’s a stirringly positive enterprise from WoLab AD Alistair Wilkinson and one which proved most entertaining when the ‘graduating class’ were invited to perform specially written monologues and duologues. Continue reading “WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase”

Review: Shakespeare’s Mad Women – A Love Letter to Shakespearean F?!kboys, TheatreN16

Lady Macbeth, Ophelia and Juliet get a moment to themselves in the intelligently amusing Shakespeare’s Mad Women – A Love Letter to Shakespearean F?!kboys, at TheatreN16

“If the world wants mad women, they can have them. This place is enough to drive anyone stark, raving insane”

Lady Macbeth, Ophelia and Juliet walk into a bar…it sounds like the set-up for a great joke. Swap out the bar for an amorphous corner of the afterlife and you get the set-up for the delightfully titled debut production from Lady Garden Theatre, Shakespeare’s Mad Women – A Love Letter to Shakespearean F?!kboys, taking a short run at TheatreN16 after playing the Brighton Fringe last month.

This is the bit of the afterlife where Shakespeare’s female characters end up, specifically the ones who take their lives because of a man, and heaven knows there’s a lot of them. Juliet is the latest to join the group and when she arrives, she is naturally thoroughly discombobulated: instead of finding her Romeo with arms open wide, there’s two strange women drinking tea. Continue reading “Review: Shakespeare’s Mad Women – A Love Letter to Shakespearean F?!kboys, TheatreN16”

Review: Brains, TheatreN16

“Jeff, there’s no time for hysterics”

One of the most impressive things about the set-up at Balham’s Theatre N16 is its commitment to nurturing new work and new companies in the face of an increasingly hostile funding climate. So the likes of Thick & Thin Theatre, a London-based company founded last year, are supported to develop and mount their work, such as their new play Brains, written and directed by Cameron Szerdy.

Brains is set in an office at the pharmaceutical company MediBite Inc. in a near-future world that has been ravaged by a virus that has turned much of the population into zombies. When the discovery of a potential cure well and truly sets the pigeons among the staff there, from ball-busting CEO Ursula to disengaged intern Tina, no-one is quite prepared for the cut-throat insanity that is revealed. Continue reading “Review: Brains, TheatreN16”

Review: HE(ART), TheatreN16

“This? In your chest? It can be stronger than it’s ever been”

An interesting change of tack here from Andrew Maddock, who has been steadily carving out a niche for himself in doing creative things in and around the world of monologues (qv #1, #2, #3). Opening at Balham’s TheatreN16, HE(ART) starts in a Maddockian (Maddockish? Maddockesque?) way with two separate duologues intercut with each other, and playing out at the same time. But over the running time of just more than an hour, it transforms into transgressively exciting.

Staged in the round (well, the square) in a boxing ring-like space in this production by Lonesome Schoolboy, In the one corner we have young couple Alice and Rhys doing battle over what kind of art they want to buy for their living room. And in the other, there’s siblings Kev and Sam, gearing up for an altogether different kind of conflict, characterised by the fact that the former should be in prison.  Continue reading “Review: HE(ART), TheatreN16”

Review: I’m Not Jesus Christ, Theatre N16 at Wandsworth Arts Fringe

“I’m the Schumacher of storytelling”

There aren’t too many opportunities to see a bit of Romanian theatre in London so from the start, Papercut Theatre’s production of Maria Manolescu’s I’m Not Jesus Christ is fascinating. Part of a bit of ambitious programming at this year’s Wandsworth Arts Fringe festival, it is playing at the Theatre N16, currently residing at the Bedford pub in Balham

Developed and translated during the International Residency at the Royal Court in 2007, I’m Not Jesus Christ is based on an unlikely but real life story. Michael Schumacher super-fan and 11-year-old Mihai decides to celebrate his upcoming birthday by getting a prostitute, an encounter that goes disastrously wrong when his mother Maria comes home early.  Continue reading “Review: I’m Not Jesus Christ, Theatre N16 at Wandsworth Arts Fringe”