Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things

South West London Law Centres, a charity that provides specialist legal advice in social welfare law for people who cannot afford to pay privately for a lawyer, are holding a comedy fundraiser event, Jokes For Justice, on February 23rd 2017 at The Bedford Pub, Balham. Nish Kumar, Jonny and The Baptists and Sophie Willan will be performing on the night to help raise funds to continue their work across South West London. After the devastating legal aid cuts of 2013, our income has been slashed by over 40% and ten other Law Centres have already closed down – funds are desperately needed to support access to justice for those most in need within our communities.

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Re-review: Let The Right One In, Royal Court

“I know how good you are to me. I’m grateful”

An unexpected revisit to Let The Right One In, especially since I’d seen it just three days before but @pcchan1981 had a spare £10 ticket going and so I offered myself up as his last resort, happy indeed to have the chance see it again at the Royal Court, ahead of a rumoured West End transfer (the presence of Bill Kenwright as a co-producer suggesting this isn’t as unlikely as it may seem). Original review is here and I can’t really offer up any new insights rather than to say try your best to see it now as it flows beautifully in the relative intimacy of the Royal Court and the awesome staging of the penultimate scene might get lost in a West End house.

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval) 
Booking until 21st December

Review: Let The Right One In, Royal Court

“Would you still like me if I turned out to not be a girl?”

Adapted by Jack Thorne from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel and its two subsequent film versions, Let The Right One In could be said to fall into the teen vampire genre that has proved so enduringly popular of late, but that would do a huge disservice to all concerned, not least with this National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Court co-production. As two youngsters neglected by society cling onto each other to avoid falling through the cracks in a snow-swept Swedish town where a serial killer appears to be on the loose, they discover that one is not quite like the other…

Directed by John Tiffany with long-time associate Steven Hoggett by his side, the show produces moment after moment of elegiac beauty interspersed with the harsh brutality of real life which intrudes like jagged breaths of wintry air. Hoggett’s unmistakeable physical language is sparingly but beautifully deployed, the strangeness of situation enhanced through movement and Ólafur Arnalds’ score swoops with plangent intensity, underscoring many of the show’s most powerful sequences. Accompanied by Gareth Fry’s evocative sound design, the production constantly teeters on an anticipatory edge, toying with the film’s horror origins but converting it to a more fitting level of suspense for the stage. Continue reading “Review: Let The Right One In, Royal Court”

Re-review: Jumpy, Duke of York’s Theatre

“You think ‘I’m being a strong woman’, that’s a misinterpretation…”

Not too much to say about this last minute revisit to Jumpy before it closed this weekend, aside from the predictability that I would end up there despite repeatedly assuring the world I wouldn’t. My original review from its run at the Royal Court can be read here and much of it still stands as my response was largely the same second time round and, rather pleasingly for a play in the West End, it was a sell-out. I was admittedly a little surprised when I first heard this would be one of the plays transferring to the Duke of York’s as whilst I found it good, I didn’t think it was necessarily that great (unlike many others).

But holding onto the vast majority of its cast (just two replacements were needed), April De Angelis’ play maintained its essential quality with a stirring central performance from Tamsin Greig as a woman in the midst of a mid-life crisis as crises with her teenage daughter, tensions with her husband and losing her job all leave her reeling. De Angelis wraps all of this into a comedy though and so there’s a lightness to the whole affair which at once feels like its strength and its weakness.  Continue reading “Re-review: Jumpy, Duke of York’s Theatre”

Review: Jumpy, Royal Court

“Well it’s been a bumpy ride hasn’t it”

A new play by April De Angelis and directed by Nina Raine, Jumpy has all the makings of another success for the Royal Court and great word of mouth has meant that it is now sold out for the run. It’s a portrait of a fractured family: Hilary is under pressure at work, her husband Mark is becoming increasingly distant and her relationship with her bolshy teenage daughter Tilly is practically non-existent. Despite having just turned 50, life doesn’t seem to be getting any easier and it plays out in a mixture of comedy and moving drama.

Tamsin Greig is brilliant as Hilary, going through something of a midlife crisis as her disillusionment with so much of her life catches up with her, distant memories of protesting at Greenham Common provoked by the antics of her sexually precocious daughter, a terrifyingly convincing turn from Bel Powley, who even at 15 dresses highly provocatively, goes clubbing looking for footballers yet overestimates her capacity to deal with the responsibilities of such behaviour. Dealing with the inevitable ramifications brings Tilly’s boyfriend and his parents in to the picture, another couple fractured in their own way and whose interactions impact just as much on Hilary as they do on Tilly. Continue reading “Review: Jumpy, Royal Court”

Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s Globe

“There was a star danced, and under that I was born”

Much Ado About Nothing fans really are in for a treat this summer with two major productions running on either side of the river. The blockbuster version at the Wyndhams has the starrier casting to be sure but there is real delight to be had Bankside too as the Globe have tempted Eve Best from the world of American television (if only for a limited time) to star alongside Charles Edwards in this more traditional, but perhaps more engaging version of this most romantic of Shakespeare’s comedies. Claudio and Hero’s relationship is at the centre of this play and how Don John’s machinations threaten to thwart their true love, but it is in their friends Benedick and Beatrice’s sparring and refusal to admit their mutual love that really elevates this play into something special and that is what we have here at the Globe.

What is comes down to is the most delightful performance from Eve Best as Beatrice, my first opportunity to see her on stage and one which you should not miss. Unafraid to show the vulnerable, almost desperate side to the character as well as the customary sparky humour that serves as her distancing technique, she envelops every single member of the audience in her confiding embrace and I loved her from the start, even whilst cruelly dashing Don Pedro’s hopes. Charles Edwards’ rather foppish Benedick is a brilliant counterpart too, whose public school mannerisms are hilarious and an almost effective way of keeping his heart from bruising. And together they make a beautifully well-matched couple whose eventual union really gladdens the heart. Continue reading “Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s Globe”