Review: Cancel the Sunshine, Hope Theatre

“The biggest barrier in my life is me”

There’s something mildly ironic about a play about being caught up in the world of depression being staged at a theatre called the Hope. For in Cancel The Sunshine, Maya Thomas’ young protagonist is living pretty much without it, the tendrils of mental illness extinguishing the light she yearns to reach for as the damage of the past and the difficulties of the present weigh heavily upon her.

Writer Chantelle Dusette pulls uncompromisingly from her own experience of depression and so the breath-taking intensity of the monologue speaks with an authentic voice, and it is one which is powerful and poetic but pummeling and punishing too. Her main character is determined to present a put-together image to the outside world but inside she’s somersaulting, swooping between manic highs and lows, struggling to deal with even the most seemingly innocuous of small details.  Continue reading “Review: Cancel the Sunshine, Hope Theatre”

Review: Titus Andronicus, Arcola Theatre

“Look down into this den and see a fearful sight of blood and death”

The 80s appear to be fertile ground for reinterpretations of classics – recent weeks have seen Romeo and Juliet in Camden market and Sweeney Todd above a greasy spoon, utilising the societal upheaval of the time as a backdrop, and so too does Zoé Ford with this unique and exuberant take on Titus Andronicus. Using This Is England as a key reference point, this is a world of viscerally tribal skinheads and goths (standing in for the Goths) and one in which the enraged pursuit of bloody vengeance feels entirely appropriate.

This is a production that is broad, ballsy and extremely bloody. David Vaughan Night’s Titus is all bovver-booted swagger, Maya Thomas’ cogent Lavinia is distressingly tragic and Rosalind Blessed’s vibrant Tamora is a commendably strong presence as the two warring factions trade rape, murder, mutilations, even cannibalism, as the stakes and everyone’s pride remains too high to entertain anything but the most desperate fight to the end.  Continue reading “Review: Titus Andronicus, Arcola Theatre”