Review: Zoo, VAULT Festival

A play about the perils of going home with someone called Ian… Zoo is also a pretty darn fantastic production at the VAULT Festival

“We are in for quite a night”

Well who would have thought it? A show that actually manages to make brilliant use of the Cavern, one of the most awkward of the VAULT Festival’s spaces. Co-directors Hamish MacDougall and Lily Bevan have clearly thought about how to maximise the potential this restaging of Zoo (previously seen in Edinburgh and at Theatre503), and make full and creative use of its echoing length – a real achievement.

It helps that Bevan’s play is one which lends itself to a letterbox-ish format. She plays Bonnie, a zoo keeper at Cherokee Valley Zoo and Conservation Centre in Miami and as a hurricane winds its way towards Florida, we also meet Lorna Beckett’s Carol, a North Yorkshire bat enthusiast and see how a friendship grows between the two women, sustaining them through some pretty harsh times, including meeting a man called Ian… Continue reading “Review: Zoo, VAULT Festival”

Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Specials 2008-2010

“Because your song is ending, sir…It is returning. It is returning through the dark. And then, Doctor? Oh, but then… He will knock four times.”

Cos he’s special, David Tennant got to spread his farewell over 4 specials from Christmas 2008 to New Year 2010, and as this also marked Russell T Davies’ departure from the show, the stories start off grand and rise to operatic scales of drama by the time we hit the megalithic The End of Time. That finale works well in its quieter moments but does suffer a little from an overabundance of plot and whatnot. The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead are good value for money romps but it is The Waters of Mars and all its attendant darkness that stands out most, teasing all the complex arrogance of a God-figure gone wrong. Continue reading “Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Specials 2008-2010”

Guest Review: Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan – Talking To Strangers, Soho

 A stalwart face in British comedy for over 20 years, Sally Phillips first ascended into immortality as one third of the on-screen talent for Smack The Pony, Channel 4’s landmark female-centric sketch show. Since then she has become a sort of watermark for quality in comedy – whether she’s turning up in the Bridget Jones movies or in HBO’s Veep, you know you’re in a safe pair of hands.

Such is the case with Talking To Strangers, which is co-written and performed with RADA alum Lily Bevan. A series of monologues in which characters talk to, you guessed it, strangers, Talking To Strangers originally aired on Radio 4 as a sketch series. As a stage show, it makes for a surreal hour packed with sharply observed character detail. Continue reading “Guest Review: Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan – Talking To Strangers, Soho”