I literally have it in my Twitter bio that I like spreadsheets, so a comedy show about spreadsheets felt like compulsory viewing for me. Unfortunately/fortunately, this show isn’t entirely about spreadsheets, but Steph Aritone’s attempts to showcase aspects of her life through the medium of Excel-generated graph is nevertheless entertaining.
The show has a great concept that differentiates it from other shows – I really like that Aritone is using her data analyst background to create a show that feels unique. It allows fairly familiar topics that have been mined for comedy (e.g. The joys of single life, anxiety about being normal, and the fun of ageing) by other shows to be explored from a different perspective with a fresh framing device.
Aritone also appears completely at home on stage. You feel like you’re in safe hands throughout the show which, especially for the Free Fringe, is always welcome. Special praise must go to her pronunciation of the word ‘marijuana’.
There is an argument to be had that the hands you’re in might be a smidge too safe as there are times the show feels overly scripted, and could have benefited from being a little bit looser. It would also be good to see Aritone cover some topics that are less conventional for comedy. For example, something that was touched on in the show was how she’s treated as a woman in data science. I’d love to see topics like this explored more. Combining unconventional topics with the existing unconventional framing device really could make for something very special.
Overall, a very entertaining way to spend 45 minutes. If you’re looking for slightly unconventional stand-up comedy, this would be a great show to go and see, especially if you’re a fan of spreadsheets (Also, if you fall into the latter category, please be my friend – thanks!)
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