Edward II Review – Greenwich Theatre London


Lazarus Theatre’s Edward II 2017 – Photo by Adam Trigg “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” or so the saying goes. But, what is power in this context? For example, an absolute monarch appears to have total power over their domain but, in reality, this is an illusion and their hold on the throne and all that goes with it is very fragile and subject to the will of many others. Lazarus Theatre Company demonstrates this superbly in their new production of Marlowe’s Edward II at the Greenwich Theatre. Edward I is dead and his fourth son inherits the throne and assumes the title of Edward II (Timothy Blore). Edward is young, only 23 at the time of his accession, and his youth shows when, despite all the warnings of his court, Edward invites his favourite minion Piers Gaveston (Oseloka Obi) to return to England and join his court. Although not a nobleman by birth, Edward bestows t…

Review of This Story of Yours at the White Bear Theatre


David Sayers as Baxter and Brian Merry as Johnson in ‘This Story of Yours’ – © Lesley Cook Headshots
Often, when I go and see a show, part of the fun is trying to work out the ending as the story progresses. Sometimes though, the audience knows exactly what is going to happen at the end. For example in John Hopkins’ This Story of Yours currently at the White Bear Theatre. The end is directly referred to throughout. In a dark sitting room, Detective Sergeant Johnson (Brian Merry) is sitting alone knocking back the whisky. In fact, he is drowning in it and is not so much three sheets to the wind as totally hammered. He attempts to put a record on the record player but fails to coordinate and ends up making so much noise that he wakes his wife, Maureen (Emma Reade-Davies) who tentatively comes in to find out what has upset her husband. Johnson explains that earlier that evening he beat up a suspect i…

Review of 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane


Everyone heading off to drama or stage school has a dream. They all want to be a star. Now some may deny it and say they would just be happy with an established career but secretly every one of them wants that five-pointed gold star on their dressing room door. The best way to achieve that stardom may be to start in the chorus then work your way up to lead actor. But, for the hero of 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, there is a shortcut. 1933 and as the Great Depression really starts to bite, it’s announced that famous musical theatre director Julian Marsh (Tom Lister) is putting on a new show. Every hoofer in New York wants to be working on it and none is more determined than former Miss Allentown Peggy Sawyer (Clare Halse) but she’s too late to audition and everything seems to be going wrong for her. Can anything be done to rescue Peggy’s dream and get her on a Broadway stage performing…

Review of The Narcissist at The Hen and Chickens Theatre


Self-help books, CDs and DVDs are ten a penny these days. There are whole sections in Waterstones and Foyles dedicated to helping you improve yourself. However, while all of these try to teach the reader how to feel better about themselves, very few – possibly with the exception of Sarah Knight’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k” take things to a real extreme. That is until Flux Theatre presented The Narcissist which I saw at the Hen & Chickens Theatre. How to describe The Narcissist? Now that really is a question. Well, writer/performer Will Adolphy has put together a sort of ‘Ted Talk’ with a difference. At the heart of his message is himself, me, you, everybody and the fact that we are, or possibly should be, the most important people in our world. That’s not to assume we are – particularly when confronted with the rather stark answer to the question, “what will happen whe…

Review of Bananaman The Musical at Southwark Playhouse


Bananaman The Musical – Matthew McKenna (Bananaman) Photo by Pamela Raith Ever dreamed of being a Superhero? Yep, me too. I would love to wake up one day transformed from my normal weeble-like body into a man of muscles who can fly, save the world and generally be loved and admired by everyone. However, as they say, be careful for what you wish for. A point that is nicely demonstrated in Bananaman The Musical receiving its world premiere at Southwark Playhouse. Living in 29 Acacia Road – possibly one of the most boring roads on the planet – geeky teenager Eric Wimp (Mark Newnham) dreams of excitement. Unfortunately, the most exciting thing in Eric’s life is finding out what strange combination of ingredients his mother (Lizzii Hills) has put together for his lunch. School life is no better for Eric and about the only positive in his life is his friendship with Vlogger and would-b…

Top 10 of 2017

Since July 2014, I've seen and reviewed 588 shows altogether.  2017 was a fairly quiet year with a total of 132 shows visited by yours truly.

So, in the best traditions of end of the year ideas, here is my list of the top 10 shows that I've seen this year.  Please remember, this is my list not anybody else's and if you don't agree with the pick, well, what can I say?

1.Priscilla Queen of the Desert,  Bridewell Theatre This story of friendship and hope took two drag queens and a trans woman from Sydney to Alice Springs, in a big pink bus. Along the way, the met new friends and face rampant homophobia. SEDOS brought every element of the show together beautifully, and to a standard that you would expect to see in the West End. Sold out virtually as soon as it was announced, this was the ‘must see production of the year. 2.La Cage aux Folles, New Wimbledon Theatre This is was a touring production of a show that demonstrates the importance of family and how much a parent will s…

Thark at the Drayton Arms Theatre – Review


Thark I’m a great fan of the 1920s. OK, I’m not old enough to remember them but thanks to books like the Jeeves and Wooster series, I do feel that I know the era pretty well. I’m also a fan of farce as a theatrical genre and a combination of both seemed too good to miss. So off I toottled to the Drayton Arms to see a performance of Ben Travers’ quintessentially English farce Thark. At the home of Sir Hector Benbow (Mathijs Swarte) his butler Hook (Daniel Casper) has just received some news. He has become a father – admittedly of a girl but he can cope with that. As he tries to head off to go and see his wife and child, he gives instructions to Warner (Sophia Lorenti) the maid as to what to do when a female visitor arrives. Sir Hector is out at the races with his nephew Ronny (Robin Blell) while his wife Lady Benbow (Charlotte Vassell) is away, so it is up to the servants to ensure that Sir Hector’s guest gets…