Review: BLUSH, Soho Theatre

“Cock, non-bio.
Cock, non-bio.
Cock, non-bio.
Cock.”

Charlotte Josephine’s BLUSH makes its way to the Soho Theatre after a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year and ahead of a tour across the South of England (and Birmingham). And it’s a play that manages to hit two of my bugbear phrases in theatre writing, in that it is both ‘darkly comic’ and ‘extremely timely’. But though reviewers and publicists may desperately overuse both terms, it doesn’t make it any less true here.

BLUSH is concerned with revenge porn, weaving together five stories of people who have found themselves swept up in this most modern of afflictions. An older sister looks on helplessly as her 18 year old sibling has intimate photos published online by a boyfriend, a father struggles with his porn addiction, a jilted lover is surprised at the reaction she gets when she posts her ex’s nudes, Josephine and her co-performer Daniel Foxsmith show us the many ways in which the issue can impact our lives. Continue reading “Review: BLUSH, Soho Theatre”

Review: Weald, Finborough Theatre

“The earth sings when he touches it”

The slow decline of the English rural economy and the way of life that accompanies it has proved a fruitful one for playwrights and it is a subject to which Daniel Foxsmith has turned, drawing on his own brief experiences in a livery yard, for his third play Weald for Snuff Box Theatre. And hand in hand with this changing world come questions about our place within it, once clearly defined gender roles now more fluid, Foxsmith suggesting that modern masculinity is in crisis for both young and old in this intriguing two-hander directed by Bryony Shanahan. 

Now in his 50s, grizzled and weatherbeaten, Sam has worked the yard as long as he can remember but life seems to be passing him by – his wife has left him and he’s sold off the farmhouse to make ends meet. And it’s a life to which Jim, a 25-year-old full of cocky swagger, has returned, after flying the coop six years ago for life in London. There’s much history between the pair, not least in the manner of Jim’s parting and as he wangles his way back into his old job, secrets old and new start to spill forth like imaginary animal feed into a bucket.  Continue reading “Review: Weald, Finborough Theatre”

Review: Enduring Song, Southwark Playhouse

“Potestne fieri utu nus homo dua orda habeat? Ut pacem cupiat sed tumultum petat?

Bear Trap’s production of Jesse Briton’s Enduring Song is filled with youthful exuberance and a wild sense of energy that rushes through the Southwark Playhouse. It’s an energy that works excellently in some cases – the paciness of the scene changes for example – but frustratingly elsewhere as untrammelled enthusiasm overwhelms narrative clarity. There’s just so much shouting and screaming and running around that the whole experience becomes quite wearing.

Briton’s play is set in 1096 at the time when the First Crusade was just about to be launched and in contrasting the experiences of the knights laying siege to the city of Antioch with those of the women left behind and fighting to keep their farm in Avignon working, the historical parallels throughout time ring clear – every army has to choose exactly what it is they are fighting for and also leaves behind loved ones who must struggle on through, not knowing if they’ll ever be reunited. Continue reading “Review: Enduring Song, Southwark Playhouse”