The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in
GAYATRI The Royal Queen Consort of the Majapahit Kingdom / 7evenotes Production / Alexander Triyono & mhyajo / Available via https://res.cthearts.com/event/34:3465/34:59436/
The Black Cat / Threedumb Theatre / The Space / Unfortunately this show is no longer available.
Trestle / OVO Productions / Maltings Theatre / View until 10 April at https://maltingstheatre.co.uk/whats-on/trestle
A Brief List of Everyone Who Died / Patch of Blue / Finborough / View at https://www.youtube.com/user/finboroughtheatre
Talking Gods (series of 5 plays) / Arrows & Traps / View at https://www.arrowsandtraps.com/talkinggods
Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life / Keith Alessi / View at https://online.thespaceuk.com/show/tomatoes-tried-to-kill-me-but-banjos-saved-my-life
Touchy / 20 Stories High / View via https://www.20storieshigh.org.uk/show/touchy/ Continue reading “The finalists of The ONCOMMs 2022”
As distinct from my favourite shows of the year, this list celebrates the fact that sometimes the good and the not-so-good co-exist right next to each – some of my favourite moments.
For reference, here’s my 2020 list, 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list, 2016 list, 2015 list and 2014 list.
Helen McCrory, in memoriam
I still don’t really have the words to talk about how sad the passing of Helen McCrory is, such a favourite actor of mine for so long. But what was joyful was hearing the absolute esteem in which seemingly every one of her colleagues held her, a testament to the person as well as the performer.
Being scared, by women
After having declared that scary theatre just didn’t work for me, the Terrifying Women made me eat my words in quite some style with their Halloween special. Continue reading “10 top theatrical moments of 2021”
Talking Gods sees Arrows & Traps move online with a creative hybrid of theatre and film hoiking Ancient Greek mythology into the modern age
“Do you know what comes up first when you type Zeus into Google?”
The world of Greek mythology has long proved fruitful fodder for playwrights and it is to here that Ross McGregor has turned for his season of modern Greek myths – Talking Gods. And whilst the titles of these five digital plays might resonate – Persephone, Orpheus, Pygmalion, Aphrodite and Icarus – the approach that McGregor’s writing takes means that these characters are refracted in sometimes significantly different ways. It’s a wise move, which proves something of a commentary on the act of myth-making as well, an acknowledgement that to remain relevant one needs must adapt whether celestial or commonplace.
So the art that bewitches Pygmalion so becomes an online avatar in the video game he is creating (a superb performance from Edward Spence), Ares may be the god of war but not even he can outrun PTSD here (edgy brilliance from Buck Braithwaite), Icarus is worried less about wings than the family secrets that are pouring out following the death of his father. Recasting the stories this way also allows a more direct way for the plays to speak to contemporary issues – family atomisation, climate change, identity struggles and isolation in so many different forms. Continue reading “Review: Talking Gods, Arrows & Traps online”
This spring, Arrows & Traps presents Talking Gods, a digital season of five reimagined Greek myths. These moving reworkings of classic Greek tales present snapshots of the modern world filled with pathos and comedy, music and love and tragedy and loss. During the week-long digital festival, one play will premiere every night, and each play will be followed by a live Q&A on Zoom and then remain online for free.
The Greek myths have been a cornerstone of Western culture for millennia, telling stories of gods and monsters but conveying deep wisdom about the human condition. Writer Ross McGregor uses them to examine vital contemporary issues, some of which have become heightened during the pandemic, in his five new plays. Continue reading “News: Arrows & Traps presents Talking Gods”
As a dance musical, Can-Can! is a high-kicking delight at the Union Theatre
“My cheeks are clenched”
Courtesy of choreographer Adam Haigh, there is some seriously impressive dance going on at the Union Theatre right now. You might expect some good moves from a musical Can-Can! but the full company sequences that book-end the show are full of verve and vitality and some jaw-dropping moments, which are all the more impressive for taking place on a stage as intimate as this.
Phil Setren’s production wisely scatters more dance performances throughout the show, ensuring that we’re never too far from a routine, as the rest of the musical is something of a mixed affair. A grab-bag approach to its construction means it often feels scattered – based loosely on Pinero’s Trelawney of the Wells but moved to Paris, its populated with both real life figures from La Belle Époque and fictional characters. Continue reading “Review: Can-Can!, Union Theatre”
“She’s that naked girl on that chair right?”
The story of Keeler that is told here purports to be the inside story of the Profumo Affair and is based on Christine Keeler’s own book on the matter with Douglas Thompson, The Truth At Last. Gill Adams is credited as the playwright, although curiously does not merit a biography in the programme and as it actually turns out, Keeler exercised much control over the writing of the play, approving every single word. Thus what we are left with is a heavily partisan account of someone concerned with redressing the balance of public perception in her favour, hardly the makings of great drama.
We revisit the scandal of the early 1960s from its beginnings in the Soho club where she worked as a titillating dancer and was spotted by the sleazily avuncular eye of Stephen Ward, an osteopath with grand designs on society. It was he who introduced her to the high society party lifestyle that brought with it brief but heady affairs with, amongst others, John Profumo, secretary of state for war, and Eugene Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché. When this came to light in the paranoid Cold War atmosphere, one of the first public scandals of its nature, the ensuing trials, resignations, suicides and infamous photo shoots shocked the nation. Continue reading “Review: Keeler, Richmond Theatre”