TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 2)

With its love for Enya and Rory Kinnear camping it up, Series 2 of Beautiful People is another riotous delight

“There’s not many blokes who can say they’ve been felt up by Ross Kemp”

I loved reminding myself of the first series of this most camp of shows and the second series of Beautiful People was just as much fun, albeit with more bits I had forgotten. Or more accurately, there’s bits that resonate differently with different actors – Rory Kinnear doing gay this way is quite something!

Jonathan Harvey’s adaptation of Simon Doonan’s memoirs remain highly witty and as the timeline pushes more into teenage years, it also becomes more overtly gay in a sweet but insistent way, mirroring the journey towards being comfortable enough to come out. Continue reading “TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 2)”

TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 1)

Perfect fun for lockdown viewing, Series 1 of Beautiful People is an indisputable camp classic

“Reading’s such a dump guys, I don’t know how you do it”

There’s camp and then there’s camp. The first episode of Series 1 of Beautiful People contains, among other things, Égoïste advert reenactments, Tennessee Williams-based inner monologues to the tune of  ‘I Will Survive’, future dames Sarah Niles and Olivia Colman wrestling to the tune of ‘Spice Up Your Life’, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor covering ‘Jolene’. Naturally, it is huge amounts of fun.

Written by Jonathan Harvey from Simon Doonan’s memoirs, this 2008 comedy drama follows the life of thirteen-year-old Simon, who isn’t letting the fact that he lives in the sururban drudgery of Reading get in the way of being absolutely fabulous. He dreams of moving to London but until then, we get to see tales from his eventful childhood. Continue reading “TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 1)”

Review: Macbeth, Greenwich Theatre

Lazarus Theatre’s ensemble-based take on Macbeth at Greenwich Theatre proves thrilling in its stylish directorial vision

“In these cases, we still have judgement here”

A glance at the credits suggests that this is Ricky Duke’s Macbeth, as much as Shakespeare. Dukes directs his own adaptation here and has also designed this production for Lazarus Theatre and at its best, it is thrilling in its stylish directorial vision. With its eye on the ensemble, its the physicality of this production that marks it out as a refreshing change to the norm.

Played in contemporary dress, this Macbeth finds itself unmoored from any real specific context. Guns and gas masks sit alongside sharp suits for the company but the world of the play is ultimately, suitably strange. Apparitions haunt the stage, watching scenes impassively; coronations burst out of glitter drop falls; war is fought through the scattering of mountains of paperwork. Continue reading “Review: Macbeth, Greenwich Theatre”

Review: Edward II, Tristan Bates

“Why would you love him who the world hates so? 
‘Because he loves me more than all the world'”

Modernised, intensified, eroticised – this isn’t Marlowe as you know him but you kinda get the feeling that Kit would have approved of Lazarus Theatre’s re-imagining of Edward II. From the atmospheric parade of its opening to the desperate brutality with which it ends, Ricky Dukes’ production immerses its audience in a world of toxic masculinity and political power-play that rings as true today as it surely ever did. 

Edward II’s first act upon becoming king – after donning a sharp gold suit and the most luxurious of fur-lined robes – is to reclaim his lover Gaveston from exile and install him in his court, against the express wishes of the vast majority of his court, not least Edward’s queen Isabella. And so a battle royale begins, not just for the crown itself but for the right to live the life you choose, regardless of how society perceives it. Continue reading “Review: Edward II, Tristan Bates”