Review: Glitter Punch, VAULT Festival

Glitter Punch, VAULT Festival, London

What a play! Lucy Burke’s Glitter Punch proves an absolute highlight of London’s VAULT Festival, Emily Stott also makes herself a name to watch.

“It’s me and you, against the world – John and Molly”

Oh I haven’t wanted to walk out of a show this much in ages. In the best possible way, you understand. The relationship at the heart of Glitter Punch is a thing of absolute wonder, as written by Lucy Burke and acted so damn well perfectly by Emily Stott, I just didn’t want it to end. And if I had walked out, it would have been a happy ending for everyone and everything would have been golden.

But life is rarely like that. And when the punch to the gut comes – and by God is there a punch to the guts, two in fact – the weight of the world comes crashing down and you’re left re-evaluating everything you’ve just seen. The little details that didn’t quite jibe, the inconsistencies that felt a little odd, things you barely noticed suddenly become clear. The certainties you held, thrown up in the air as they’re uncompromisingly tested. Continue reading “Review: Glitter Punch, VAULT Festival”

Review: Romeo and Juliet, Union Theatre

“I am in love with a man”

Productions of Romeo and Juliet are not uncommon in the SE1 postcode, especially ones full of direct address to the audience and scored with live music. But what is surprising that there’s a considerably more moving and engaging production of Shakespeare’s tragedy to be found at the Union Theatre than the current one in residence up the road at the Globe. It’s no less radical a reinterpretation – the two lovers are reconceived as gay footballers here – but where Andy Bewley’s production really succeeds is in capturing the exultant highs of heady teen romance and the troubling lows of battling a world that doesn’t accept you.

The move to the football field is lightly done as far as the text in concerned – a city divided by its football loyalties makes sense. The Capulets’ team are the red shirts of AC Verona whilst in the blue are the Montagues of Verona FC with Juliet and Romeo as the stars of their respective youth academy teams. And Joe M Mackenzie’s adaptation pays dividends in many respects – Romeo’s flirtation with Rosaline manifests itself as homoerotic touching so often seen on the football field, taunts – homophobic or otherwise – spark real anger across the terraces, gender-swapping Paris as a would-be WAG positions her perfectly as the beard Lady Capulet needs her to be. Continue reading “Review: Romeo and Juliet, Union Theatre”

11 of my top moments in a theatre in 2014

I’ll be doing a regular top 10 alongside all the other end-of-year totting up of the theatrical delights on offer in 2014 that will eventually be written up but I thought it might be interesting to first look at it from a slightly different angle, thinking about the single moments – rather than the productions as a whole – that took my breath away (or were hair-raisingly good…) Undoubtedly there will be some crossover between the two lists, but there are things here that crop up the mind just as often as the plays I’ve labelled my favourites so here we go – naturally, some production spoilers abound…
Continue reading “11 of my top moments in a theatre in 2014”

Review: Our Town, Almeida Theatre

“The morning star always get wonderful bright the minute before it has to go”

Some images sear themselves into the mind, never to be forgotten and for me, the staging of the third act of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town was such a one – something so simply done yet achingly powerful in effect, all the more so given it isn’t immediately apparent. And after Mr Burns, it is the second time in three plays that the Almeida has delivered a doozy of a third act – one can’t help but feel sorry (or laugh) at the doofuses that left at any of the intervals.

It is interesting to see the strength of the reactions to David Cromer’s version of this show – in the Evening Standard, Fiona Mountford decries it as glib, desultory and that final act as smug(!) and Jake Orr dismissed it thus Continue reading “Review: Our Town, Almeida Theatre”