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Do You Really Want To Hurt Me at The Old Red Lion Theatre | Review

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https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/196487/really-want-to-hurt-me-at-the-old-red-lion-theatre-review/

When you were a kid, did virtually every adult you ever met tell you ‘ah yes, schooldays, best years of your life’? I know I got told that a few times. Of course, for some people, the days at school are easy, fun and enjoyable. For others, those that may be a little bit different, they can be your worst nightmare come true. A fact that is at the heart of Ben SantaMaria’s play Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, at the Old Red Lion, Islington Performed by Ryan Price, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me is a one-act monologue of a gay boy’s time at senior school in Exeter in the mid-1980s. Starting in 1984, we follow the boy’s story as he tries to come to terms with his sexuality and becoming a man at a time when homophobia was rampant and the AIDS virus had become newsworthy, with media outlets talking about the ‘Gay Plague’. Fortunately the boy has a Walkman and, thanks to the wonders of tape dec…

Review of The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse

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https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/196428/review-the-york-realist-donmar-warehouse/#

Lesley Nicol (Mother) and Ben Batt (George) in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Robert Hastie. Photo by Johan Persson The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is the place where we receive our sustenance and is the only room that everyone in a house is likely to visit and meet other members of the household. This is particularly true in a small property such as a cottage on a farm, the setting for Peter Gill’s 2001 play The York Realist which has been revived at the Donmar Warehouse. Yorkshire farm labourer George (Ben Batt) lives in a tied cottage with his elderly Chapel going mother (Lesley Nicol) and his life pretty much revolves around the farming calendar. The two of them roll along nicely together. George’s mother is getting on in years and is not as fit as she once was, but she always ensures he has a hot meal waiting and a clean shirt ironed. There is only the two of them …

Review of The Tempest at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

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https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/196211/review-the-tempest-brockley-jack-studio-theatre/

The Tempest at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre Cole Porter famously wrote “Brush up your Shakespeare, Start quoting him now, Brush up your Shakespeare, And the women you will wow” nice words but for the Controlled Chaos Theatre Company fairly pointless as they present their all-female version of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the Brockley Jack. I’m sure you know the basics of the story. Prospero (Jo Bartlett), rightful Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda (Michelle Pittoni), have been stranded for twelve years on an island after Prospero’s brother Antonio (Shereener Browne) – aided by Alonso, the King of Naples (Orla Sanders) – deposed him and set him adrift. Gonzalo (Alma Reising), Prospero’s friend and the King’s counselor, had secretly supplied their boat with the essentials of life, including some of Prospero’s prize books. On the island, Prospero has caused his servant Ariel (Carmell…

A Serious Play About World War II at the VAULT Festival – Review

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https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/196133/a-serious-play-about-world-war-ii-vault-festival/

When you have won every comedy award possible, what else is a production company to do? Well, in the case of Willis & Vere, who did so well last year at the Vault Festival with their show The Starship Osiris, the next challenge was to move from comedy to drama. So this year, they have brought their new show A Serious Play About World War II to the Vault and I was lucky enough to get to see it. This is no ordinary production. It begins with Ian Fleming (no relation I think) playing some mournful music on a violin. The music sounds like it is Jewish in origin and the reason for that becomes clear when George Vere and Adam Willis come on to the stage to talk about this project. George and Adam have carried out a lot of research before writing their show which tells the story of holocaust survivor Hirshel Günzberg. A Jewish boy was taken to Auschwitz when he was just 8-years-old. Obviously, Geo…

CARMEN 1808 at Union Theatre London – Review

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https://www.lastminutetheatretickets.com/londonwestend/carmen-1808-union-theatre-london-review/

Carmen – Credit Scott Rylander Ah, the classics. As everyone knows there are two types of performances that involve people singing on stage. There is opera – grand stories, big voices, elitist and not for the plebs – and there is musical theatre – shallow plots, jazz hands, available to the Saturday night, ‘gotta catch a show crowd’. And as everyone really knows, the last sentence is rubbish. Opera can be accessible and musical theatre can be amazingly deep in plot and composition. And, of course the two genres can be mixed which is precisely what Phil Willmott has done with Carmen 1808 at the Union Theatre. Spain in 1808 is under the control of Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops. Our narrator, the painter Francisco Goya (Alexander Barria) sets the scene. The Spanish nobility have accepted France’s rule and the French army – along with their new comrades in the Spanish army – ensure that ther…

Review of Mad As Hell at Jermyn Street Theatre

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https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/195858/review-mad-as-hell-jermyn-street-theatre/

Vanessa Donovan and Stephen Hogan in Mad as Hell, credit of Eddie Otchere. There is always a frisson of real excitement when I find out the production I’m off to see is a world premiere. Knowing I will be one of the first people to view and comment on a show is both exciting and humbling at the same time. So, it is with some trepidation that I write about Mad as Hell receiving its world premiere at the Jermyn Street Theatre. In a Jamaican bar, a local girl is having a good time. Her name is Eletha Barrett (Vanessa Donovan) and works as a dance hostess with an enlarged moral sense. Yes, she will accept money to dance with men but that is as far as it goes. Sitting watching her is a middle-aged white guy (Stephen Hogan) in a rumpled suit. The two strike up a conversation and Eletha seems unimpressed with the man, even when he boasts that he is the renowned actor Peter Finch. Peter may be three sheets to …

Review of The Soul of Wittgenstein at the Omnibus Theatre

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https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/195750/review-the-soul-of-wittgenstein-the-omnibus-theatre/

Wittgenstein: Richard Stemp and Ben Woodhall- Photographer Lidia Crisafulli When looking for a profound opening statement to a review, it’s not often I delve into the world of musical theatre. But this quote from The King and I immediately sprang to mind as being very appropriate to The Soul of Wittgenstein which has opened the Omnibus Theatre. The quote goes – “If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught”, and it fits the bill perfectly. Late 1941 and a middle-aged man – real name Ludwig Wittgenstein (Richard Stemp) – is getting ready for work. He is unhurried in his preparations and meticulously irons each item of clothing before putting it on. We move now to Guys Hospital where, in a private room, a young man by the name of John Smith (Ben Woodhall) is lying in bed. He is joined by Ludwig dressed in a porter’s jacket and here to administer John’s drugs. Initially, John is sus…