Review: You Stupid Darkness!, Southwark Playhouse

With its focus on the small things, Sam Steiner’s play You Stupid Darkness! is a delicate but delicious thing at the Southwark Playhouse

“I’ll go and get a Jaffa Cake”

The world outside is going to shit and all you can rely on is the kind word of a gentle soul, if any still exist. So far so 2020, but this is also the set-up of Sam Steiner’s warmly inclusive You Stupid Darkness!, a Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth production seen on the south coast last year and now making its bow at the Southwark Playhouse.

Something apocalyptic has happened, society seems to be on the edge of collapsing and the shops are beginning to run out of doughnuts. Despite this catastrophic breakdown, volunteers still come once a week to answer the phones at Brightline, listening patiently to outpourings of woe from strangers, offering the hope of connection – a hope they come to rely on just as much. Continue reading “Review: You Stupid Darkness!, Southwark Playhouse”

Review: Electra, Bunker Theatre

Dumbwise’s Electra fills London’s Bunker Theatre with plenty of noise but struggles with its mix of old and new

The ambition behind actor-musician company DumbWise’s Electra is unquestionable as they introduce a “live punk-rock score” to their dynamic adaptation. The reality is a tad murkier as the old smashes up against the new with sometimes messy results.

John Ward serves as both adaptor and director and you wonder if a fresh set of eyes might have help to wrangle this further into shape. Ward has taken elements of both Euripides and Sophocles’ versions of the Greek myth and added in a framework of contemporary references, but punk-like energy is hard to sustain as you approach your third hour, still referring to the gods. Continue reading “Review: Electra, Bunker Theatre”

2017 Offie Award Finalists

Offies Awards - Off West End Theatre Awards

Best Female 
Louise Jameson in The Diva Drag at The Hope 
Lydia Larson in Skin A Cat at The Bunker
Sarah Ridgeway in Fury at Soho Theatre 
Jenna Russell in Grey Gardens at Southwark Playhouse

Best Supporting Female 
Lynette Clarke in Karagula at The Styx
Joanna Hickman in Ragtime at Charing Cross Theatre
Sasha Waddell in After October at The Finborough

Best Male 
Fiston Barek in The Rolling Stone at The Orange Tree 
Phil Dunster in Pink Mist at The Bush 
Paul Keating in Kenny Morgan at The Arcola
John Ramm in Sheppey at The Orange Tree Continue reading “2017 Offie Award Finalists”

Review: Skin A Cat, Bunker Theatre

 “Have I got chickens?”

Where else would a new theatre open but underneath an existing one?! The Bunker has taken up root in a converted car park under the Menier Chocolate Factory and for its first show, has co-opted Edinburgh hit Skin A Cat. Written by Isley Lynn, it tackles the subject of sexual embarrassment with an admirable frankness that you don’t often see.

Lynn particularly looks at vaginismus, something she freely admits comes from personal experience, through the character of Alana’s journey of sexual maturity. Vaginismus is a psychosomatic condition that makes sexual intercourse painful or even almost impossible due to muscle spasm during penetrative sex and through an uncompromising performance from Lydia Larson, we discover what impact such a thing can have for a young woman navigating her way through contemporary society. Continue reading “Review: Skin A Cat, Bunker Theatre”