In true Scottish spirit, Me, Myself and Mary (Queen of Scots) starts and ends with banter, where both, Mary Fraser – our modern guide through this story, and Mary, Queen of Scots compete for laughter and the title of a most tragic life. Who will win?
With a recent obsession with all things Scotland (Outlander, anyone?) and the always romanticised view of the legendary Mary, Queen of Scots, there is an abundance of historical material begging to be used over and over again in film and theatre. The modern angle of comparing the life of the Queen and this of a Shetlander, Mary Fraser, is a brilliant idea which is, unfortunately, lacking in execution. The story of Mary Fraser is told irregularly, and her relationship with her sister is missing the depth and complexity one could expect as it is compared to that of the rivalry between Mary, Queen of Scots and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I.
Still, Marjolein Robertson is hysterical and driven by repetitive laughs from the audience, her high energy is unlike anything I’ve seen, relentlessly jumping from one character to another, out of breath, but never out of more jokes and impressions. A few minutes into the show, Robertson quickly becomes a caricature of her character, Mary Fraser, forcing laughter the moment she approaches a spot on the stage where we know to expect her ridiculously outrageous impression of Mary, the Queen. Brilliant and tireless, Robertson really uses all skills at her disposal to the fullest making the hour pass by quickly and lightly.
Raymond Friel writes an engaging script combining fun with historical facts and naughty content, yet one can’t help but think that genres get a little mixed up here, the show is unsure if it wants to be a comedy for adults or whether it should be a performance for children, Jordanna O’Neill’s direction of this almost confirms the latter with the plot and creative choices seeming to be lost between the worlds of adults and kids. John Kielty’s beautiful score guarantees to take you back in time to 16th-century Scotland but in the end, you may leave unsure of where you’ve just been to and what you were meant to take out of the show.
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