NO I.D. first premiered at Theatre Peckham as part of Peckham Fringe 2022; the show then ran at this year’s VAULT Festival, and won the VAULT Award for show of the week. It’s now transferred to the Royal Court Theatre for a short run – it’s always great to see the progression of new work from Fringe festivals to larger stages.
Tatenda Shamiso’s play centres around his own experience as a black transgender immigrant living in the UK. Set in Tatenda’s home, Claudio Casino’s set consists of a brown sofa, a lamp, and a keyboard, the space is cluttered with paperwork and files. The show opens with Tatenda trying to navigate an automated phone service – he is trying to change his legal name and gender – although it soon is explained that there isn’t a hotline that can do this for you, it’s much more complex and time-consuming. Tatenda then tells his story to us, the audience, and Andrew the telephone operator (when he finally gets passed the automated service).
Shamiso’s performance is remarkable, from a vacant stare whilst on hold to the hotline, to tap dancing to Anything Goes, to being wrapped up in paperwork, and with some (minor) audience interaction scattered throughout – he provides a multifaceted performance with many layers to peel back. Shamiso is an endearing and engaging storyteller, instantly forming a connection with his audience, which allows him to cause us to both laugh at his silliness and shed a tear at the profundity of the piece.
Music is intertwined within the performance, with beautiful arrangements by Gabriel Dedji, and tender, smooth vocals displayed by Shamiso, the lyrics of these songs are honest and gut-wrenchingly beautiful.
Sean Ting-Hsuan Wang’s direction means the hour-long piece progresses with momentum which does not cease. There are some stunning visual moments and equally some stark, almost jarring ones – as we see Tatenda’s gender dysphoria, something which is incredibly complex, reduced to mere paperwork.
Shamiso shines a light on part of the trans experience which is not spoken about very often, understandably so, as this is a community which are made to feel as though they have to explain, prove, and defend their existence to others. There are so many people within society that need to see this show.
NO I.D. is fresh, honest, and even heartbreaking at times, but ultimately leaves you feeling hopeful and liberated. The play requires a quiet moment at the end, for you to fully absorb and digest what you have just witnessed, but it’s one of the most beautiful and impactful shows I’ve seen this year.
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
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, HighTide’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 daughter’s … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE