TO HAVE AND TO HOLD – REVIEW – HAMPSTEAD THEATRE

‘[A]ll I could see was this generation of baby boomers who had the opportunity of going to university, did so, and then never came home’. So writes playwright Richard Bean, talking about the premise of To Have and to Hold, a play about Rob, a London-based writer, and Tina, a Somerset-based businesswoman, returning to see … More TO HAVE AND TO HOLD – REVIEW – HAMPSTEAD THEATRE

KNOCKING ON THE WALL – REVIEW – FINBOROUGH THEATRE

This month, The Finborough Theatre ends the 35 year absence of Ena Lamont Stewart’s Knocking on the Wall from UK theatres. Despite Stewart’s success with the postwar realist drama Men Should Weep, the rest of her work has never really entered the mainstream, and thus it is wonderful to see the Finborough raise an important … More KNOCKING ON THE WALL – REVIEW – FINBOROUGH THEATRE

SPUTNIK SWEETHEART – REVIEW – ARCOLA THEATRE

Although familiar with Haruki Murakami, I have not read his 1999 novel of identity, Sputnik Sweetheart. Bryony Lavery’s adaptation, premiering at the Arcola Theatre, certainly made me want to. The story of best friends Sumire and K, the latter of whom is hopelessly in love with the former, navigating the new world of adulthood; as … More SPUTNIK SWEETHEART – REVIEW – ARCOLA THEATRE

I HEART MICHAEL BALL – REVIEW – OLD RED LION THEATRE

My first confession is that I do very much heart Michael Ball. In this show, which begins as a semi-immersive meeting of the Michael Ball fan club, I was grateful not to be picked on as writer/performer Alex Millington turned to audience members in the intimate space of the Old Red Lion Theatre, asking them … More I HEART MICHAEL BALL – REVIEW – OLD RED LION THEATRE

FAKING BAD: THE UNAUTHORIZED PARODY METHSICAL – REVIEW – TURBNE THEATRE

I entered the Breaking Bad parody musical (or methsical, as it brands itself) at the Turbine Theatre with trepidation. Taking on more than 61 hours of television in a 2 hour show is bold, even if parodying it, and the pace of Rob Gathercole’s musical is testament to this. Series three, for example, is condensed … More FAKING BAD: THE UNAUTHORIZED PARODY METHSICAL – REVIEW – TURBNE THEATRE

FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS – REVIEW – RIVERSIDE STUDIOS

It has been seven years since Flowers for Mrs Harris opened in Sheffield in 2016, but it has finally come to London in Bronagh Lagan’s production for Riverside Studios, this time with Jenna Russell in the title role. It is a musical which has built up a lot of love in the last seven years, … More FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS – REVIEW – RIVERSIDE STUDIOS

YOU HEARD ME – REVIEW – BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE

It is often said that trauma is stored in the body. This principle underlies writer/performer Luca Rutherford’s piece You Heard Me, which over forty-five minutes uses predominantly physical theatre to demonstrate the body’s response to sexual violence as she relives the moment again and again. The story, one of being attacked whilst on a run, … More YOU HEARD ME – REVIEW – BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE

MLIMA’S TALE – REVIEW – KILN THEATRE

When Stephen Sondheim first saw A Chorus Line, he claimed that it suffered from one dramatic problem; with a line of characters all outlining their personal stories one by one, the audience begins to keep count and falls into boredom. This risk is even more paramount in Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale, where each scene follows a different … More MLIMA’S TALE – REVIEW – KILN THEATRE

BATTERSEA BARDOT – REVIEW – NEW WIMBLEDON STUDIO

One-person musicals are rare; Tell Me on a Sunday is perhaps the only well-known example of a commercially successful one-woman musical, and that is only one act. Ewen Moore’s new musical, Battersea Bardot, is thus ambitious; it is a one-woman musical in two acts, chronicling the life of troubled British actor Carol White. White first … More BATTERSEA BARDOT – REVIEW – NEW WIMBLEDON STUDIO

THE SHATTER BOX – REVIEW – LION AND UNICORN THEATRE

Proforca Theatre Company’s The Shatter Box, which runs until the 16 September at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre, is a mixed offering. Its tale of senseless violence in a prison where a prisoner must confess, under torture, to a truth that only a computer knows, is one of striking visuals and intense dialogue. Yet, at … More THE SHATTER BOX – REVIEW – LION AND UNICORN THEATRE

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – REVIEW – JACK STUDIO THEATRE

Every summer, productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream seem to roll around, and every time they are a tonic. The story is a familiar one, guaranteed to bring giggles aplenty from its farce and innuendo, and this production is no exception. In the black box space of the Jack Studio Theatre, Conor Cook and Heather Simpkin’s set … More A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – REVIEW – JACK STUDIO THEATRE

SONG FROM FAR AWAY – REVIEW – HAMPSTEAD THEATRE

Simon Stephens and Mark Eitzel’s one-hander about grief was written in 2014 for Ivo Van Hove, who directed a 2015 Young Vic production. This revival stars Will Young as Willem, a Dutch hedge fund manager in his thirties returning from New York to Amsterdam to mourn his brother who has unexpectedly died. The play, running … More SONG FROM FAR AWAY – REVIEW – HAMPSTEAD THEATRE

TARANTINO LIVE – REVIEW – RIVERSIDE STUDIOS

With the recent massive success of musicals made from film properties like Back to the Future and jukebox musicals like Tina, it’s no wonder that For the Record thought to mash the two together. Such is Tarantino Live, a musical that mashes up the greatest scenes from all nine Quentin Tarantino films mixed with live … More TARANTINO LIVE – REVIEW – RIVERSIDE STUDIOS

STRANGERS – REVIEW – LION & UNICORN THEATRE

Some pieces feel designed for a certain audience, and Strangers will certainly find theirs. Fringe theatre audiences are typically made up of young creatives. This play, about four women living in the big smoke but finding that their dreams have slowly been eroded by the toughness of life, will surely find its mark. Yet Strangers … More STRANGERS – REVIEW – LION & UNICORN THEATRE

TONY! [THE TONY BLAIR ROCK OPERA] – REVIEW – RICHMOND THEATRE

When I heard that Harry Hill was behind a new Tony Blair rock opera, I confess I was sceptical. How wrong I was. Hill’s book and Steve Brown’s music and lyrics combine to create a riot of an evening, with something in it for everybody. This show has been honed through multiple workshops and a … More TONY! [THE TONY BLAIR ROCK OPERA] – REVIEW – RICHMOND THEATRE

FALSE ACCOUNTS – REVIEW – UPSTAIRS AT THE GATEHOUSE

As we are told at the opening of False Accounts, the Post Office scandal is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice most of us have lived through. The introduction of a buggy computer system, called Horizon, and the refusal of the Post Office to admit that Horizon could make mistakes led to the false … More FALSE ACCOUNTS – REVIEW – UPSTAIRS AT THE GATEHOUSE

SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY – REVIEW – LYRIC HAMMERSMITH

Do you remember what it was like to be in school? Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, making its UK debut at the Lyric Hammersmith, will remind you. Queen bee Paulina is detested by the rest of the girls in her friendship group when she is absent, yet somehow her self-assurance … More SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY – REVIEW – LYRIC HAMMERSMITH