When going through the Fringe programme looking for shows I was interested in, Grief Lightning was one that sold me purely on its description as it is possibly one of the weirdest ideas for a show I’ve ever heard – an academic is trying to convince an audience that the movie Grease is actually the death dream of one of the characters. This to me seemed like peak Fringe.
For this show to work, the performance by the lecturer has to be pitch-perfect. Obnoxious enough to be a send-up of academia, entertaining enough that you don’t hate the lecturer etc. Mary Angley manages to spin all of these plates at once. Watching her performance truly feels like watching a master at work.
The show itself also fully lives up to the expectations it sets for itself. This show genuinely is what it says on the tin and it’s as hilarious as you would hope that it would be. Something I wasn’t expecting however that was a pleasant surprise was how much a feeling of community built up among the audience as we all watched this very odd play. This is partly due to the subject matter at hand but is also helped by Angley’s incredible performance and their really effective use of audience interaction.
There were some parts of the show that I’m still not quite sure I understood which spoke more to social issues touched on in Grease, and aspects of the film that haven’t aged well. These sections do work but they do come a little out of nowhere and don’t fit incredibly well into the show as a whole. However, there is an argument to be made that these just make the show even more surreal.
If you’re looking for late-night Fringe entertainment, you could do far worse than Grief Lightning. Especially if you’re looking for the weird gems of the Fringe, this is the show for you.
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
Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, High Tide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE
Drum roll please…(Cue a literal drum rolling across the stage.) The Lyric pantomime is one of traditions with the return of many well-loved jokes and skits. Costumes and sets are all made at the Lyric itself by Good Teeth, with set pieces being reused year on year. This year Cinderella gets the Hammersmith makeover, with some success. The costuming is fun and vibrant, with the ugly stepsisters’ equine pyjamas and hoop-skirted ball gowns giving all the wrong kinds of extra you need for those characters. Cinderella’s on stage dress transformation is magical and really well-timed. The Dame, Lady Jelly-Bottom’s, outfits … More CINDERELLA – REVIEW – LYRIC HAMMERSMITH
Amy catches up with Linus Karp ahead of his performance of Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, at London’s Clapham Grand. Linus and Joseph of Awkward Productions are also the masterminds behind the new show Gwyneth Goes Skiing. Hello Your Majesty/ Candle Entrepreneur, how are you feeling coming back from a hugely successful fringe and triumphant tour across your kingdom, ahead of performing in front of 700 of your loyal subjects, and before (the list never ends!) opening a brand new show, which has recently gone viral? Exhausted, exhilarated and alive. We’ve had the most ridiculous year – I feel … More INTERVIEW – LINUS KARP – DIANA: THE UNTOLD AND UNTRUE STORY