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Review of Pippin at the Bridewell Theatre London

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Pippin: Credit Michael Smith
In the year 769, the great King Charlemagne welcomed his first born son into the world. Quite a lot is known about the child, but this is not some boring history lesson, as in the mid-1960s composer Stephen Schwartz decided the son’s story was an ideal subject for a musical. A few years later, and with a book a by Roger O. Hirson, the show was born. Its name is Pippin and is currently being given a well deserved run out by Sedos at the Bridewell Theatre. Narrated by the Leading Player (Corin Miller), this is the story of young Pippin (Joe Thompson-Oubari) and his travels as he tries to find out where he belongs in the world. Yes, he is the eldest son of Charlemagne (Kris Webb) and heir to the throne – much to the annoyance of his stepmother Fastrada (Vicky Terry) and half-brother Lewis (Paul Nicholas Dyke) – but he feels there should be more to his life than this. Having completed university, Pippin sets out to find his place. He tries being a soldier, the…

Review of Open Clasp’s Rattle Snake at Soho Theatre

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Open Clasp Snake Coercive controlling domestic abuse may not sound like a good subject to turn into an entertainment for the masses. When the play is based on real-life stories from women that have suffered and survived such abuse, then it starts to sound even less like something I would want to see. However, being nothing if not professional, I went along to the Soho Theatre to see Open Clasp’s production Rattle Snake. In a cube-shaped stage, two women sit at a dinner table facing each other. They don’t speak to each other but they are interacting by carrying out a set of what looks like ritual moves with the glasses on the table. As they get faster, one of the women makes a mistake and the two freeze, looking around in fear, waiting for something or someone to react to the mistake. When nothing happens, the two relax slightly, then start again. After a while, they stand and talk to the audience. We learn that they are Suzy (Christina Berriman Dawson) and Jen (Eilidh Talman) and they…

Review of Tiny Theatre Company’s 143 at TheatreN16

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Seeing work by new theatre companies is always exciting. So I was happy to head off to Styx, the new home of Theatre N16, to see 143, the first production by Tiny Theatre Company. The numbers here refer to 1 writer (Isabelle Stokes), 4 actors (Olivia May Roebuck, Alexandra Brailsford, Aizaac Sidhu and Danny Merrill) and 3 plays. The first of which was Pearlwith Alexandra and Danny as Ava and Daniel respectively. Two young people who meet through a friend of a friend and somehow hit it off, despite Ava’s intense dislike of Daniel – not to mention his reputation of which he seems inordinately proud. Told as a series of inner monologues being shared with the audience, we follow their relationship from its very shaky beginnings through to the realities of living together and the fears that can become overwhelming when two people are together. The couple are not really suited, Ava is practical and logical, whilst Danny is a bit of a dreamer who always hopes that problems will sort themselv…

Review of Sweeney Todd at the Stockwell Playhouse

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Sweeney Todd: Production photo by Stephen Russell. Sometimes we all want a piece of fiction to be true. Let’s be honest for years, politicians have been getting the two mixed up for years. However, there are stories, which seem to have entered folklore to the point where it is difficult to know if they are real or just the product of an author’s imagination. Once such tale is Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which started life as a Penny Dreadful back in 1846 and has been re-written, turned into a play, a musical and a film. Various productions of the musical have been put on both here and over the pond, and I recently caught the latest, from Geoids Musical Theatre at the Stockwell Playhouse. It’s 1846 and two men are returning to London after an absence of some time. One is a sailor by the name of Anthony Hope (Richard Upton) and the other is a man he rescued from the sea. A mysterious and very intense man by the name of Sweeney Todd (Thomas Isherwood) who has been out…

Review of Kes at The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

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Kes at Jack Studio Theatre Back in my school days, I, along with everyone else had to read a book called ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines. At the time, I thought it was an okay book, but I didn’t really think too much about it. The book was made into a film by Ken Loach in 1969 and finally a play by Robert Alan Evans which is currently being presented at the Jack Studio Theatre in Brockley. A middle-aged man (Rob Pomfret) is troubled. images, sounds and memories are racing through his mind, taking him back to his childhood, in a northern mining town in the late 1960s. We travel back in time with him to a milestone day in his younger life when he was plain Billy Casper (Simon Stallard) a fifteen-year-old boy from a working-class home, with a brother down the mines, a flighty mother and an absent father. By any standards, Billy’s life is pretty bleak. School is horrendous for the young lad, and there is little to look forward to when he leaves and faces a future, like so many of h…

Review of Chess at the London Coliseum

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Michael Ball Photography BrinkhoffMögenburg It’s always nice when two of your favourite things come together – for example, musical theatre and ABBA. So when I was asked if I wanted to go and see the new version of Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice’s musical Chess at the Coliseum. I leapt at the chance. Set during the height of the cold war, Chess is the story of two Chess Grandmasters – Frederick Trumper (Tim Howar) from the USA and Russian Anatoly Sergievsky (Michael Ball) – battling it out to be world champions under the watchful eye of The Arbiter (Cedric Neal). Both men are totally different. Trumper is loud, brash, arrogant and often ends up arguing with his ‘second’ Florence (Cassidy Janson). On the other hand, Anatoly is a family man, married to Svetlana (Alexandra Burke) and, by all appearances, a dedicated ambassador of the Soviet Union, particularly under the watchful eye of his state-appointed ‘second’ Ivan Molokov (Philip Browne). As tensions rise between the tw…

Review of Skin Deep the Musical at Stockwell Playhouse

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Skin Deep the Musical Feather Fan There are two things that unite pretty much every single person on the planet. The first is that we all have a body and the second is that there is something about that body that we would like to change. No matter how perfect everyone else may think our body is, there is something that, us is not right. Now if I were to list everything that I dislike about my body then this would be the longest review in the history of reviewing. However, maybe we should all take a deep breath, relax and just enjoy what we have. That’s the central theme of Lambco Productions new show Skin Deep the Musical which I saw at the Stockwell Playhouse. Skin Deep is an in-depth and extremely entertaining study of human attitudes to their bodies. Hosted by Diana Diamonte (Shani Cantor) Skin Deep takes the audience and Diana’s boys – Dan (William Frazer), Max (Adam O’Shea), Phil (Nick Brittain) and Richard (Daniel Timoney) – on a tour of the various things that bug them about the…