Memories of the Early 1950s aims to rekindle the past, sparking discussions on the contrast between modern luxuries and a simpler era. Christine Hayward’s blend of songs and spoken word strives to capture nostalgia, but the execution leaves much to be desired. Classic tunes like “The Little White Duck,” “The Gypsy Rover,” and “Memories Are Made of This” try to transport the audience, but at times, they fall short.
The show’s goal to foster intimacy with the audience feels disjointed in Just the Tonic’s The Caves venue. The mismatch seems to diminish the show’s allure as if a puzzle piece was forced into the wrong spot. While the performance itself is well-structured and sweet, certain aspects don’t quite hit the mark. The lack of a microphone in a relatively large space, along with the venue’s inaccessibility and excessive seating, was slightly disappointing.
Hayward is a wonderful conversationalist and talented performer. But, the absence of costumes also contributed to a more casual atmosphere than anticipated. It’s worth noting that Hayward’s debut at the Fringe at 77 years old and her subsequent 78th birthday celebration during the festival is a commendable feat. Her interaction with the audience is evident, yet the show could benefit from further development. The work has found its place in care homes, women’s groups, and social clubs, indicating that it might be better suited for those environments.
Memories of the Early 1950s exists in the space between a genuine endeavour and a missed opportunity. While not fully realised, it stands as a testament to late-life aspirations. Hayward’s journey is undoubtedly inspiring, but the show’s execution yearns for a venue that harmonises with its essence and an approach that genuinely captures the era it seeks to portray.
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