The show’s title tells you everything you need to know, this indeed is a play that goes wrong – hilariously, chaotically, wrong.
From the minds of Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields of Mischief Theatre, the show premiered in the Old Red Lion Theatre, a pub theatre in Angel, Islington. The show has since gone from strength to strength with a West End tenure in its 9th year and an off-broadway production. It’s been performed in 30 countries and has won multiple awards.
Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society is putting on a murder mystery play, under Chris Bean’s direction. (He’s a man of many hats as he’s also doing the set and costume design, managing the box office, doing the PR, dramaturgy, dialect coaching, and fight choreography – perhaps too many hats!)
Daniel Cech-Lucas powers Chris with an incredibly short fuse one could liken to Basil Fawlty. Keith Ramsay displays exceptional comedic timing in the role of the butler Perkins, at times elongating lines with pauses to ensure we sit within the awkwardness his line has created. Every joke in Ramsay’s hands lands perfectly. Ross Virgo plays an endearing Cecil with asides to the audience galore; it’s impossible not to like him. Iona Fraser’s deadpan expressions are hysterical as she takes on the role of Florence as an emergency cover.
More than just a play, the entirety of Mark Bell’s production is as well-choreographed as a ballet. One wrong foot and I’m sure it could spell (even more of) a catastrophe for the cast on stage. Nigel Hook’s set is an absolute death trap. There were a couple of moments which weren’t quite seamlessly performed by the cast – if you looked closely, you could see hesitations or moves which looked choreographed rather than a natural occurrence of the set imploding, as it ought to appear. I’m sure throughout their run this will be pulled off more naturally.
No single entrance or exit takes place without something going awry, and yet the repetition of certain gags never once feels tedious. Small movements hold the audience’s attention, like a door handle rising back up after being tried. It really is an incredibly clever production.
Lewis, Sayer and Shields’ script is witty and entertaining, and this new cast brings it to life splendidly. It is a hilarious production – one that I’m sure will be in the West End for many years to come. For a show where so much goes wrong, it’s pretty good! I hope Mischief Theatre keep getting things wrong!
Since its Broadway premiere in 1976, Pacific Overtures has become a surprising addition to the musical theatre canon. Telling the story of Japan’s isolationist foreign policy transformed in 1853 by the arrival of American forces was and is not traditional musical theatre fare. Nor is the manner of telling; writers Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, coupled with original director Hal Prince, sought to tell this as a Japanese story with techniques borrowed from kabuki and with music structured around fourths, rather than Western triads. Although relatively little known within Sondheim’s body of work, it is one of his most ambitious … More PACIFIC OVERTURES – REVIEW – MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Following on from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, this boy band Christmas music has made its way to the Seven Dials Playhouse. With an obvious influence from Dickens’ classic Christmas story, Chris Kirkpatrick is visited by an Angel – Marky Mark and is allowed to make a wish. What follows is an hour of boy band fun. Yes, this plot might sound crazy… but it ain’t no lie. The plot is rather thin on the ground, and whilst at times the production really leans into the weird and hilarious, so much about it could be made bigger. The … More CHRISKIRKPATRICKMAS – REVIEW – SEVEN DIALS PLAYHOUSE
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