The finalists of The ONCOMMs 2021

The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in
May 2020. 

1. Recording pre-lockdown (direct)
(i.e. with little or no editing)
Going Viral / Daniel Bye
Hysteria / Spymonkey
Jane Clegg / Finborough Theatre
The House Of Bernarda Alba / Graeae

2. Recording pre-lockdown (edited)
(i.e. with significant editing)
Bubble / Theatre Uncut
Cyprus Avenue / Royal Court & Abbey Theatre
SeaWall / Simon Stephens
The Encounter / Complicité Continue reading “The finalists of The ONCOMMs 2021”

Review: My White Best Friend, Bunker Theatre

My White Best Friend (and even more letters left unsaid) sees the Bunker Theatre start the process of going out in a blaze of glory

“It’s all we can do to listen”

There’s a couple of months before the Bunker Theatre closes its doors but it does seem a rather wonderful f*** you to bring back their inordinately successful mini-festival and sell out every night before the run even started. Developers may gain from taking over this space but as evidenced here in this kind of forward-thinking, thought-provoking production, London’s theatre ecology stands to lose a lot.  

Co-curated by Rachel De-Lahay and Milli Bhatia (who also directs), My White Best Friend (and even more letters left unsaid) is a raucous piece of gig theatre, centred on a provocation to a range of cracking writers to write letters “that say the unsaid to the people that matter most”. Those letters are then read to a standing audience, sight unseen by different actors every night. And there’s a DJ-led afterparty too, even on a Monday night! Continue reading “Review: My White Best Friend, Bunker Theatre”

Review: Upper Cut, Southwark Playhouse

“I have to be a politician, who ‘happens’ to be black. Not a black man who ‘happens’ to be a politician”

Within the first ten minutes, Juliet Gilkes Romero’s Upper Cut has gone through the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, race riots, and stop and search to name just a few of the hot button topics around race in this country and this is unfortunately symptomatic of a play that is underpinned by a huge amount of research yet also overladen by it. Her tale tracks the divergent careers of two black British politicians over the last 25 years – Michael rising from militant beginnings to the deputy leadership, Karen unable to reconcile her zeal with the strictures of an institutionally racist political system.

Difficulties come from all sides though. Its structural tricksiness – the story is told in reverse – has no dramatic imperative, politicians shifting position throughout their career is hardly novel and even the contrasting directions of Karen and Michael adds little interest. And the uneven spacing of the scenes – the first five bound from November 2012 to June 1987 whilst the next five crawl through to September 1986 – has a deathly impact on the pace of the play’s later stages. Continue reading “Review: Upper Cut, Southwark Playhouse”