What’s in the basement? What’s happening to Sloane? What is wrong with this house!?
Sloane’s (Riley Elton McCarthy) Granny is dying so they’ve moved into the spooky family estate with botanist husband Gwyn (Hans Mueh); accompanied by Realtor friend Beckham (Ryan Pangrace). Sloane is fixated on finishing their play about Granny and the house within this environment. As the house gets eerier the cracks in the relationship dynamics between these three emerge. Featuring a queer cast, creatives, and characters and touching on themes of grief and trauma, this haunting yet bitterly funny thriller delivers an exciting and interesting watch.
This is not your stereotypical horror, McCarthy displays a unique and intellectual writing style; combining a mix of natural, poetic dialogue, wit, and narration. The strong cast brings these truthful, developed characters to life. There is a wonderful connection between themselves creating a brilliant energy in the room, as well as their connection with the audience. This is accompanied by a lovely exploration of physicality, and eye line.
The staging and direction (McCarthy) have the cast manoeuvring the space excellently; with bodies becoming one with furniture, interesting transitions, and integration of props. The lighting by Tully Goldrick and sound design by McCarthy, along with Chloe Kramer’s intermittent haunting appearances elevate the feeling of anticipation and suspense throughout, which they achieve well given the limited resources of a fringe production. We also get lovely snaps of humour to cut through this feeling at the appropriate times; a highlight for me being Beckham’s Instagram streams showing off the property.
Notably, the exploration of grief, trauma and anxiety was realistic and tasteful.
Ivories is a unique and intriguing tragicomedy-thriller hybrid, with a fantastic team that has clearly put so much love and care into the production. I would love to see this play performed on a larger scale; to enhance the visual and audio effects.
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