Female rage combines with metal in this new gig theatre piece, written and directed by Samuel Rees.
The Hope Theatre provides an intimate space, perfect for gig theatre. Mirrors line the floor, adding a nice themed-addition to the otherwise undecorated space. But it doesn’t need much extravagance; the lighting (Laurel Marks) is brilliant and fills in all the gaps to turn this story-concert into a proper performance, sometimes casting M’s (Sian Maxwell) face in shadow and sometimes highlighting it perfectly, showing her rawness.
The moment Marks came into the room with slicked-back hair, clenched fists, and dressed in all black, I knew M wasn’t someone to cross. I was, quite frankly, scared of her. Keeping a subtle rage throughout the show, Marks’ performance is phenomenal. I knew she was angry, and I was excited to know not just how she came to be so enraged, but what she was going to do about it.
Unfortunately, the show focuses more on the origin story of her anger – a doomed-from-the-start relationship. Her first spoken words are “This isn’t a love story,” which was a very disappointing cliche opener to what I was hoping would be a refreshing retelling of the (in)famous legend. Instead of focusing on the man, I wish there would have been more on how she overcomes judgment in the media, how her despair and other blatant lies about women morph into rage, and what she does with that rage. There was a missed opportunity in reinventing Medusa, breathing her into life, fighting for and avenging women mistreated by men, victims of the patriarchy.
An aspect I did really enjoy is the use of second-person. It makes M’s words powerful and personal. Additionally, the music (Max Welton), all original and mostly metal with a mix of pop, is incredible and the star of the show. I did find a couple of songs jarring, however. The use of auto tune at the end comes out of nowhere and makes what is supposed to be a very serious, redemptive moment almost humorous. Also, while very pleasant, the acoustic guitar at the very end is out of sync with the genre of the rest of the show.
The music, lyrics, and performance are solid and the best aspects of Snakehead. To make it a truly amazing and thought-provoking show, linking it more clearly to Medusa and focusing more on M and female rage is needed.
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