Set at Woodstock ‘69, evident from the peace symbols which adorn the walls, the brightly coloured bunting, mandalas, and the offer of LSD upon entry. We meet Janis Joplin (Collette Cooper) backstage as the crowd waits for her to perform, chanting her name.
Between the outstanding performances of songs from Joplin’s back catalogue, We watch as Joplin muses on her past, dwelling on events and letting her inner critical voice take over from time to time. Cooper is astounding, flexing her talents throughout, she embodies Joplin as she performs, showcasing her famous raspy voice and electric stage presence. Cooper has the audience in the palm of her hand throughout the show, she’s able to make them sing, dance, and get up onstage with her. I have never witnessed someone take charge of an audience in this manner before, and I was mesmerised by her performance.
If I had any gripes it would be that occasionally the monologue sections felt slightly too long, but I did enjoy how these were delivered – it felt as though we were simply listening to her as if in conversation, she drew us in and kept us there, utterly engaged and focused on her every word.
The musical numbers are where this show succeeds and to watch TSP, the live band, and Cooper perform was an absolute pleasure. Apart from some better transitions and pacing, to ensure the monologue moments aren’t such a stark contrast in pace to the energetic performance segments, I can’t fault Cooper’s writing or the performances. In particular, Cooper, her performance perfectly captures the show-woman that was Janis Joplin. I’m struggling to find the words to describe just how good Cooper is – but put it this way, she has a little Piece Of My Heart now, baby!
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