I love a bit of improv, it’s the epitome of the Fringe and the beauty of it is.. it’s different every time!
As you enter the space a whiteboard instructs the audience to begin thinking of a victim’s name, job, and unusual weapon. The audience decided on Porkie Ferdinand III, an avalanche engineer who was murdered with dental floss. One member of the cast guides the show by playing the detective, with the other four cast members playing our suspects. The audience was donned ‘Detective Clive’ and tasked with solving the mystery.
The cast is excellent, they are all in sync with each other and finish each other ideas instantaneously, working in harmony throughout. James Cann’s deadpan expressions elevated the humour of the show, and Nicola Lucey was a ball of energy with lots of great ideas and always has a funny response.
At times the pacing could have been improved, we spent rather a long time on certain ideas and scenes and I feel the detective could have guided this better to ensure a snappier show. Multiple scenes are improvised for us, displaying our suspects, and allowing us to become familiar with them. There is then a Q&A in which audience members can ask the suspects questions.
The ending felt slightly underwhelming for me, having the crowd just cheer to decide who the murderer is feels like a bit of a cop-out. I’ve watched improv like this before where a murderer is decided upon by envelopes handed to each cast member, one of which says murderer; which means we have to guess and try to work it out, rather than just choosing someone at the end.
CSI is completely random, and a fun way to spend an hour. I feel the formula could use some work, and I expected more hilarity than was provided – but the true brilliance of improv is that you’ll never get this exact show again, so who knows what it’ll be like when you go along!
Since its Broadway premiere in 1976, Pacific Overtures has become a surprising addition to the musical theatre canon. Telling the story of Japan’s isolationist foreign policy transformed in 1853 by the arrival of American forces was and is not traditional musical theatre fare. Nor is the manner of telling; writers Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, coupled with original director Hal Prince, sought to tell this as a Japanese story with techniques borrowed from kabuki and with music structured around fourths, rather than Western triads. Although relatively little known within Sondheim’s body of work, it is one of his most ambitious … More PACIFIC OVERTURES – REVIEW – MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Following on from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, this boy band Christmas music has made its way to the Seven Dials Playhouse. With an obvious influence from Dickens’ classic Christmas story, Chris Kirkpatrick is visited by an Angel – Marky Mark and is allowed to make a wish. What follows is an hour of boy band fun. Yes, this plot might sound crazy… but it ain’t no lie. The plot is rather thin on the ground, and whilst at times the production really leans into the weird and hilarious, so much about it could be made bigger. The … More CHRISKIRKPATRICKMAS – REVIEW – SEVEN DIALS PLAYHOUSE
The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503