Frank Skinner is a veteran on the fringe circuit, as shown by his show’s title: 30 Years of Dirt. Skinner first appeared at Edinburgh Fringe in 1987, and decades later he’s back.
Skinner states his aim for this show was for it to not be filthy, telling us he’s made a career of ‘knob jokes’ and filth, and now wishes to change that. His hour of comedy seems rather filth free, and most of his jokes feel quite safe – nothing in this set pushes boundaries.
He mainly speaks about getting older, sports, and his recent MBE honour. There is some very clever and witty writing in places, and he expertly delivers each punchline. Throughout the set, Skinner speaks to audience members and then goes off on tangents based on their conversations. There appears to be no overarching theme and a lack of structure; the largest laughs seem to come from the moments when he speaks to audience members and ad-libs with them.
It’s an hour of great stand-up, Skinner aptly displays his talents to the audience and proves why his name has become synonymous with the festival. His delivery has a casual feel to it, with him appearing completely at ease on stage – it’s clear he enjoys this and feels right at home in this packed-out room. Although this show does not contain anything new or exciting, people will go because it is Frank Skinner and I’m sure they will enjoy his performance – but it’s not the best stand-up at the fringe this year – it’s safe, something we’ve seen before, and far from ground-breaking. But perhaps that’s exactly what we need sometimes.
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