As we take our seats Latin choral music plays, suddenly Abigail Jensen bursts on stage and immediately breaks the fourth wall by shouting to the person at the sound desk, that she shouldn’t play the Latin stuff as this play isn’t serious.
Jensen plays Joan, a woman who was brought up catholic in the Midwest – she went to catholic school and attended mass three times per week. The play centres around her abandoning her chastity pledge at the age of 25 and exploring her sexuality. Although the show never digs deep into why she became disillusioned with Catholicism, or the repercussions of this with her family, but focuses solely on her sex life afterwards.
Catholic hymns are peppered throughout the show, with dance breaks choreographed to complement them, which adds an extra layer of amusement. Jamie Cowan plays the man that Joan loses her virginity to, in a palpably awkward scene which is impeccably directed – all of the sex scenes happen with the two (or three) stood side by side, which heightens the humour. Cowan plays a variety of sexual partners throughout the show, and Niamh McGarvey also multi roles as healthcare professionals and partners alike.
The show also speaks about contraception methods, their side effects, and their costs – because this is set in the USA. And the lack of sex education people at catholic schools receive.
Jensen plays Joan as bubbly and excitable throughout, which slightly undercuts the tone shifts when the play becomes more emotional or passionate, as her delivery doesn’t change, which makes the character lacks nuance. Some of the fourth wall breaks feel unnecessary, and some are brilliant – some fine-tuning of this would aid a more humorous and effective show.
Sex Diaries of an Ex-Catholic is funny and candid – I just wish there were some deeper dives to allow for more complex character evolvement. But it’s great to see Joan’s sexual liberation, and for it to be joyous.
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