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ARCHIVED REVIEWS 2020


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Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope

Reviewed by: Elaine Chapman @ElaineC_reviews

Review date: 24th Jul 2021

Famous flamboyant, charasmatic homosexual writer, raconteur and actor Quentin Crisp aka Denis Pratt returns to the stage through an entertaining and heartfelt performance by the extremely talented writer and actor Mark Farrelly.

Refering to himself as a “Stateley homosexual of England” this phrase for me is a wonderful way to have described himself. Unique and stylish creating a path for himself to follow and understanding that he was flawed just like everyone else. Allowing the audience to see the vulnerable side of Crisp as well as the famous.

Wilton’s Music Hall plays host to this intriguing one man production. The fairly large venue didn’t at any point appear to drown a solo performance. Seeing the wonderful features of this old building bought back fond memories.

The philosophical side of Crisp was something I knew very little about before watching Farrelly’s production. The quotes and anecdotal references throughout the performance allowed the audience to see the deep thinking side come alive. Profoundly intune with himself and understanding a meaning for life that made perfect sense to me.

Ending the performance with some personal memories. We learn about the personal experiences that led Farrelly to write and perform this outstanding tribute to Quentin Crisp. I would highly recommend catching this online performance especially those who are unfamiliar with Crisp, as I was.

Five Stars.

www.stream.theatre/season/161

See the full review here theatreandartreviews.wordpress.com/

 

Posted on 24/07/2021

 

Tethered by Chewboy Productions

Reviewed by: Elaine Chapman @ElaineC_reviews

Review date: 22nd Jul 2021

If you ever wondered what goes on in the rehearsal space, between creatives, then Tethered or The Adventures of the Adequately Excited People, writer Georgie Bailey alongside Hal Darling, might just be in a position to answer your questions

Want and Moins artistic differences rise throughout rehearsals. Tethered together by a short length of rope deciding on which way to be pulled next to escape the life of being Tethered together.

Working with a script that is slick, with lashings of dark humour and fast-paced. The main part of the humour is delivered throughout in off piste slapstick style comedy. The pinning up of the birthday banner reminded me of the famous and talented double act Laurel and Hardy.

The duo works extremely well together. You could see how much they were in tune with one another throughout allowing the performance to flow effortlessly. It’s a pity for the pair that the props hadn’t read the script as the elastic kept breaking on the party hats, providing additional comedic value to the play.

It was interesting to listen to the conversations taking place between them as they discussed how they imagined the audiences would respond to their actions and different scenes. Breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience yet pretending we weren’t there and ignoring any reaction that anyone replied to their rhetorical questions.

An alternative production with a tight scripted fast-paced dialogue. An extremely clever example of new work that Fringe theatres can be proud to host.

Four Stars

Running from the 20th-24th July at The Lion and Unicorn in Kentish Town please use the link. below for further information.

www.thelionandunicorntheatre.com

See the full review here theatreandartreviews.wordpress.com/

 

Posted on 24/07/2021

 

Bow & Arrow The Outlaws Of Sherwood Review

Reviewed by: Anne Heaps

Review date: 25th Jun 2021

Synopsis
Bow & Arrow: The Outlaws of Sherwood is a brand-new adult comedy musical that will shock and make you laugh in equal measure.

Bow Scar and Arrow Hunter are well known throughout Sherwood, but not for anything good. They are lazy, jobless and more often than not come up with one money making scheme after another.

The main thorn in the side of Bow and Arrow is the female Sheriff who rules Sherwood with an iron fist…and whip! The Sheriff also leads the Extreme Alliance. A group of baddies which includes Lance ‘Glorious’ Hemsley, Miss Thorn, and Brutal and by hook and by crook they only look after themselves.

Luckily…or unluckily for Bow and Arrow they have a mentor in the form of Friar Tuck. A monk with very little discipline and only as eyes for the men folk of Sherwood. Men are often seen running away from Friar Tuck. Other times he finds himself in many embarrassing situations. Either way Friar lives life to the full.

As the story develops, we learn that the Sheriff and Lance ‘Glorious; Hemsley have a grand scheme to open a new adult club in the depths of Sherwood. However, concerned about a strange red light appearing in the forest, the iron fist lady enlists Bow and Arrow (who are heavily in debt) to go and find out what the red light is all about.

Suffice to say things quickly turn pear shaped for our not so brave duo when Arrow is kidnapped by a mysterious figure. With no choice and wanting to find her best friend in the whole wide world…Bow forms a search party to go and search for Arrow.

Analysis
Bow and Arrow was performed at “The Blackie”, a wonderful iconic building in Liverpool. It’s being performed over 2 nights. It’s running time approximately 120 minutes excluding a 15 minute interval. The venue also had a licensed bar and it also has wheelchair access.

Bow & Arrow – The Outlaws Of Sherwood is described as a socially distanced comedy for adults only with strong and risqué language.

There were one or two very strong performances from the cast in particular Friar Tuck (Peter Sebastian). He also engaged with the audience and stole the show. His song “We’re all Going on a Gang Bang” has got to be seen to be believed. Another strong performance came from Bow Scar (Lauren Lilly Wootton), she was brilliant in her role and she could certainly sing! We were also impressed with Gob’s performance and also enjoyed “Ursula” The Witch (Bethany Clark).

There were popular songs throughout the show such as ‘Love Shack’ and many more.

There were four dancers one of which was Holly Murphy who was excellent. One of the dancers wore a waist cinsher thoughout.

The cast must have worked very hard during lockdown to give such a great show.

I found the whole performance very entertaining. It was a very witty script written and directed by Barry Levy.

Summary
If you are easily offended this is not the show for you. If you want a fun night out. Highly recommended.

Notes
Target Audience: 18+
Content: Strong language
Recommendation?: Yes

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect
Bow & Arrow Further Links
Bow & Arrow runs at the Playhouse Theatre from Thursday June 24 to Friday June 25 2021.

See the full review here https://writebase.co.uk/2021/06/25/bow-arrow-the-outlaws-of-sherwood-review-the-black-e-liverpool/

 

Posted on 26/06/2021

 

Take Off Your Cornflakes

Reviewed by: Elaine Chapman @ElaineC_reviews

Review date: 5th Jun 2021

The White Bears latest production Take Off Your Cornflakes had its first of two press nights this evening (4th June) to which it saw Mark Lockyer leave the stage to rapturous applause. After performing to sellout audiences across Ireland in 2019 the production is currently making its UK premiere.

London bus driver Tom (Mark Lockyer) begins his journey of early-onset dementia in an upbeat, comedic manner keen to reassure his wife Trish that he isn’t going to be beaten by this. However, at the young age of 53, this cruel disease slowly ebbs away at his memory during the 60-minute performance.

Fulfilling the two roles alongside one another was outstanding. Trish’s character was depicted by a slight rise in Lockyer’s tone of voice and subtle feminine mannerisms which allowed the audience to follow whose monologue was centre stage at any one time. We follow the couple’s up and downs in a compassionate and heartfelt performance as this cruel condition takes over and destroys their world.

The abstract patchwork stage setting is a touch of genius in my opinion. Each of these patches has been stitched together off centre (as seen in the photo above) characterizing fragments of how Tom’s memories return to him in sections during his clearer moments. Piecing together the life he once lived which is decreasing fast.

As Lockyer delivers an outstanding performance as husband and wife Tom and Trish. We understand how dementia is affecting their life and relationship through the couple’s correspondence to their long-standing friends who have moved to Australia. The couple explaining separately how their lives are changing beyond recognition.

Take off Your Cornflakes was originally set on the buses in Dublin by writers Rose Henderson and Pat Nolan when it was first performed at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2017. Lockyer’s idea to adapt and place Tom on the iconic big red London buses brings this incredible play to a new audience.

Director Michael Kingsbury has brought to stage a compassionate love story. From his eye for detail in the fantastic patchwork staging to the dual roles played by Lockyer all come together to take the audience on an emotional and educational journey into the heartbreaking world of dementia, through the eyes of the patient and the loved ones left alone to watch helplessly as the symptoms of dementia take hold and destroy their daily lives.

Productions and performances such as these remind me why I passionately support the Fringe Theatres. Please use the link below for further information and to book tickets.

Five Stars.

www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk

See the full review here theatreandartreviews.wordpress.com/

 

Posted on 11/06/2021

 

From me to us? By Wayne Steven Jackson

Reviewed by: Elaine Chapman @ElaineC_reviews

Review date: 12th May 2021


From me to us? By Wayne Steven Jackson is part of the Battersea Arts Centre’s season Wild Times which is available to stream between the 10th-16th of May 2021.

As the world around us is evolving and laws change to adapt to our new ways of life. These laws incorporate lifestyles, all family dynamics and scientific developments. It’s only when we stop to take a look back that we can see how these past changes have made a huge impact on our future lives. Jackson weaves his story between the past and present to explore how these changes unbeknown to him changed his life in significantly.

On January 3rd 2019 section 54b of the surrogacy act changed, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial) Order 2018 came into force and introduced s.54A into the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, which permitted applications for a parental order to be made by a single applicant. This law provides the axis in which the entire story revolves around.

Jackson’s performance tells the story of “Adam” who uses the law to adopt his two children from a surrogate birth. Previously this could never have taken place. In simple terms if the law had remained unchanged it would have allowed the surrogate Mother to always be the child’s legal guardian.

Introduced as an “incomplete story of fragments, past and present” alerts the audience to be prepared to listen closely to what you are about to hear. However, by the time Jackson, reaches the end I felt that section of the journey to be completed and life could continue to move forward.

From Me to Us is an extremely thought-provoking beautifully presented performance by Jackson. Which has been formulated with warmth and deep heartfelt compassion.

If you would like to catch this digital performance please check out the tour details below. I would certainly recommend taking an hour out of your time to watch Jackson’s performance and become educated in a section of surrogacy law, that I knew nothing about.

Four Stars

CREDITS Written and performed by Wayne Steven Jackson
Music composed by Chris Benstead Videography by Ben Horrigan for Studio 91
Media Supported by Arts Council England.

SOCIAL MEDIA#FromMeToUs #WildTimes2021
#PWYCTwitter: @waynesjackson @battersea_arts BAC
Instagram: @batterseaartscentre BAC
Facebook: /batterseaartscentre LISTINGS Title: From Me To Us Artist: Wayne Steven Jackson Venue: Battersea Arts Centre, digital performance

Available to stream any time between 10-16 May 2021. Price: Pay What You Can (Suggested Price £6) www.bac.org.uk/whats-on/from-me-to-us

Season booking www.bac.org.uk/whats-on/from-me-to-us
Box Office: 020 7223 2223
Age guidance: N/A
Running time: 1hour.

From Me to Us goes on digital tour in June 2021. Norwich Arts Centre 17-23 May 2021. www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield 31 May – 6 June 2021 http://www.thelbt.org/

See the full review here theatreandartreviews.wordpress.com/

 

Posted on 12/05/2021

 

Beyond the Edge by Paul Symonloe (offthewallplays.com)

Reviewed by: Drama & Theatre Magazine: (for schools and colleges).
www.dramaandtheatre.co.uk

A play tackling big themes with optimism, and a little far-fetched dramatic license beyond the Edge is described as ‘an optimistic school drama about climate change’. It follows the events after a bridge collapse on a road in rural Devon during a geography field trip. The play focuses on two teachers; the prickly Mr Mungo and the fiery Miss Fiel and their charges.
The students are feisty Dulcie who is continually pursued by the over-confident Jag, Jimmy who is troubled by a recent bereavement, and Myra who feels lost without the information she needs about her birth family.
The play begins as the characters are stranded with limited supplies and no phone reception. The teachers set about reassuring the students that help is on the way.
We then see the development of each character as Mr Mungo reveals his feelings about his failed marriage, Myra discloses how lost she feels without knowing her background and Jimmy divulges that his difficulties with their predicament stem from his father drowning in the same river that has collapsed the bridge.
Meanwhile, Jag continues to pursue Dulcie in a stereotypically oafish, teenage way until she reveals that she might like him if he was himself. All of this action is underpinned by the theme of climate change, which Miss Fiel strongly believes is the reason for the extreme weather conditions that have caused their situation. Although Mr Mungo is not a denier, he is, at first, unwilling to accept that he could be part of a solution. As the play comes to an end and rescue is on the way, Miss Fiel reveals that she is actually Myra’s birth mother who had been forced as a teenager to give up her baby.

This play raises many issues that secondary students can relate to, and as a performance I feel my students would be able to identify with the characters and the themes. For study, there are a lot of duologues in the play that would lend themselves to exploration at Key Stage 3 and 4, as well as opportunities for off text work based on the characters and themes.

The conclusion is far-fetched, but the optimism of the suggestion that we can all do something to help with climate change is clear.

Alicia Pope did a degree in English and Theatre & Media Drama at the University of Glamorgan followed by a PGCE at UWE in Bristol. She is currently in her eleventh year of teaching.

 

Posted on 24/03/2021

 

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Reviewed by: Elaine Chapman @ElaineC_reviews

Review date: 27th Feb 2021

Southwark Playhouse had planned to bring to the stage The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by the renowned musical theatre writers Richard Hough and Ben Morales Frost. However, due to further restrictions, the Theatre wasn’t in a position to perform in front of a live audience and decided to continue with their plans to put this onto the stage and have filmed the production to be screened online.

Eva (Mary Moore) has her debut musical performance as the rebellious daughter of a long-suffering Dad (David Thaxton). Not happy to just settle and let life be guided for her Eva wants more and sees the world through a different lens to her Father. Quite rightly so as the upcoming generations need to see a difference for things to change.

I thought the idea of the Aurora lights rebelling and fighting the townsfolk worked incredibly well. Although you will need to watch the production to find out exactly what happens when they clash.

Anna Kelsey has created a dark and intriguing stage portraying the dark and damaging effect caused by industrial pollution. It goes on to accompany the wonders of Eva’s magical powers and allow the sparks from her spells to light up the stage and add another depth to the special effects.

While you are watching The Sorcerer’s Apprentice it is important to be able to suspend your disbelief. They have recreated the scene from Disney’s Mickey Mouse version where the broomsticks come to life and dance around Eva. Although the actors are visible it’s an extremely impressive choreographed scene by the talented choreographer Steven Harris.

Creatives have learned to adapt through this pandemic. Enchanting productions such as these can be adapted for screen. Therefore, once the Theatre’s can reopen their doors live screening and pay to view audiences could be able to access productions which were previously unavailable to them.

Four Stars

Streaming from Friday 26th February – Sunday 14th March 2021.

www.tsamusical.com

See the full review here theatreandartreviews.wordpress.com/

 

Posted on 28/02/2021

 

Love Roulette by Production Line

Reviewed by: Elaine Chapman @ElaineC_reviews

Review date: 14th Feb 2021

Imagine Blind Date meets speed dating and add a surreal twist to it and you have found yourself in the world of Love Roulette written by Claire Wood and directed by Ross Hope.

The game begins with viewers being introduced to the five contestants who have signed up to find “love”. The viewers comment and score each of the potential matches out of ten after watching the pair chat for four minutes.

As the chat develops darker sides of some of the contestants appear which at times felt rather unsettling and this can be openly discussed on the live chat feed which is open for all to read and it was quite descriptive too.

Although the concept of the game might not be very original. As it has been written and produced for a live zoom platform experience it allows for it to be spontaneous and uncensored which at times was hilarious.

It is entertaining and funny at times and with the viewer’s participation throughout the performance each show is going to be slightly different from the one before. Each performance lasts for just over an hour and a half which means it doesn’t feel like it has been rushed through.

Four Stars.

Performances are 13, 14, 18, 19 & 20 February at 8pm
Tickets are free and are available from https://productionlines.eventbrite.co.uk www.productionlines.co.uk

Although the tickets for each performance are free Production Lines has asked for its viewers to consider donating Acting for Others, which provides financial and emotional support to theatre workers in times of need through its 14 member charities.
justgiving.com/fundraising/roulette

See the full review here theatreandartreviews.wordpress.com/

 

Posted on 15/02/2021

 

Walk of Shame by Glass Half Full Theatre

Reviewed by: Elaine Chapman @ElaineC_reviews

Review date: 11th Jan 2021

Writers Stephanie Silver and Amelia Marshall-Lovsey bring to the online stage “Walk of Shame”, produced by Caley Powell for Glass Half Full Productions.

Stephanie Silver’s performance as Alice the disillusioned, bored girlfriend of Billy. Where the idea of another night in doesn’t appeal to her. After cooking her fish and chips from his freezer he mixes the mayonnaise in the ketchup which Alice loathes and he knows this. This tiny catalyst is the final straw and her anger rages inside and she decides to go out and “get some”.

The no holds barred attitude from Alice leaves the viewer under no disillusion about what she is looking for and how/where she intends to find it. Then enters Liam (Sam Lando) who fuelled up on cocaine and alcohol shares the same aim as Alice, to get “some”.

There are no grey areas around the rules of consent. No means exactly that, No. Alice clearly states “No” drugs and alcohol are no excuse for not understanding this. Which in Liam’s state and through his dialogue means he reads the situation differently or does he?

The powerful language throughout the performance pushes home the passion and energy of Alice’s intense emotions. Fueled by rage her heart steers the storyline throughout most the performance.

Once again Glass half Full Theatre bring to life another modern-day issue without any “sugar coating” or censorship. Please be aware that this production carries a strong trigger warning.

Glass Half Full plan to take this production on tour when restrictions are lifted. Taking this powerful piece directly to their targeted audience in Colleges and Universities educating the students to understand and be clear about the rules of consent. An important rule to be understood and adhered to by everyone.

This product along with 51 other shows is part of the new Season 2 at the Online Space (link available below) from the 8th-31st January 2021. It’s all free to watch yet any donations made would be gratefully received.

Four Stars

https://online.thespaceuk.com/

https://lightsdownprod.wixsite.com/about/
@LightsDownProd https://www.facebook.com/LightsDownProductions/

See the full review here theatreandartreviews.wordpress.com/

 

Posted on 11/01/2021

 






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