Rehearsal pics: Lisa Dwan in No's Knife, Old Vic

Not a great deal to go on, what with it being a solo performance but we just love Lisa Dwan so that is alright. Directed by Joe Murphy this production of Samuel Beckett's No's Knife promises to be filled with piercing insight, rage, wit and humour; a journey into the heart of Beckett, unlocking his contemporary relevance to gender identity and the human condition. Runs at the Old Vic from 29 September to 15 October.




First look at rehearsal images: Shopping and F***ing, Lyric Hammersmith

It's twenty years since the explosive premiere of Mark Ravenhill's black comedy Shopping and F***ing. Olivier Award-winning Sean Holmes directs the play which follows three disconnected young adults whose lives have been reduced to a series of transactions in an emotionally shrink wrapped world. You can catch it at the Lyric Hammersmith from 7 Oct to 5 November and in the meantime here are some rehearsal pics.



London fringe theatre news round up - upcoming and titbits

Code 2021 (c) Secret Studio Lab (4)
Code 2021 (c) Secret Studio Lab

* 21 characters, two actors, one romantic story - Pride and Prejudice has been adapted for the stage and opens at the Jermyn Street Theatre at the end of November. It's one of my favourite novels so look out for my review.

* The UK's first true story-telling festival opens in London from Oct 16-22. Events at the Tellit festival includes spoken word, theatre, movement and comedy and is on at various venues across London.

* The Acedian Pirates, the debut play from Jay Taylor (Nell Gwyn, Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies), opens at Theatre503 on Oct 26 to Nov 19 promising to challenge our understanding of mythology and ask key questions about military occupation.

* First of two 'secret' theatre productions is Chelsea Theatre's A Doll's House which is performed in a house, the location of which is revealed 24 hours before (various dates from now until December.

* Second 'secret' theatre is Code 2121 which is performed somewhere in East London near Bethnal Green - instructions delivered on ticket purchase - and is based on a story where criminal trials are judged by an audience who get to investigate the crime scene and judge the fate of the accused. It is on now until Oct 20.

Review: The hilarious and hot Naked Magicians, Trafalgar Studios

Christopher Wayne & Mike Tyler
Christopher Wayne & Mike Tyler

The blow up doll on the stage is a clue. If you don't get that, there is a warning before The Naked Magicians show starts that if you are easily offended then you should 'probably f*ck off now'. And that is the tone of the show: it is rude, irreverent, a little more than suggestive and brilliant fun.

Lets be honest, the suggestion of nudity is probably what makes most people buy the ticket and that doesn't come until the end but it doesn't matter, the show is so good you forget that's what is promised.

It is part comedy part magic, full of laughs (my face was aching by the end) and while the magic tricks aren't the most sophisticated they are nonetheless impressive.

Stand up Maureen Younger gets the audience warmed up ready for the Naked Magicians - Australians Mike Tyler and Christopher Wayne. There is plenty of audience participation. If getting dragged up on stage to 'help' with some magic is your idea of a nightmare then make sure you choose seats towards the middle of the row and at least few rows back from the front.

There was one woman 'volunteer' who brilliantly flawed the magicians with a comment - she saw where they were going and got there first. They took it brilliantly and it added to the fun.

A couple of the tricks the whole audience can get involved with - one of which is particularly impressive but I won't say any more because it will spoil it if you go.

They are only around until the end of this week so if you fancy something silly, funny and with adult themes then hurry along to the Trafalgar Studios.

The show is roughly two hours long including an interval and I'm giving it 5 stars. If you hadn't worked it out already it has an 18+ age restriction.


Review: The gently moving Pianist of Willesden Lane, St James Theatre

17197494-mmmainMona Golabek's mother Lisa was born in Vienna and dreamed of being a concert pianist but as the clouds of the second world war loomed she was ripped from the family and city she knew and the piano lessons she loved.

Herself a pianist, Mona tells her mother's story* of a lucky escape from Vienna on the Kindertransport to life in the blitz in London with other refugees. The narrative is beautifully interwoven with piano pieces performed by Mona that are either pertinent to the story or beautifully capture the moment.

As war stories go this is gently told; there are horrors but you feel that somehow you are protected from most of it. Instead the heart of the story is Lisa's love of playing and her determination not to let her mother down and carry on learning. The power of music to uplift is the plays soul.

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Production photos: Mark Rylance in Nice Fish and how to get a free ticket @nicefishtheplay

Didn't get a ticket to see Mark Rylance's Nice Fish when it comes to London from New York  in November? Fear not. First up the run at the Harold Pinter Theatre has been extended by three weeks to 11 February. But if you want a chance to nab a free ticket (in a private box) then come dressed as a fish or fisherman (with your fishing rod).  These tickets are available on a first come first served basis from 6pm on the night of the performance (1.30pm for matinees). One ticket per person so your friend/companion/lover/other half will have to dress up too.

Want to know more about the play, tickets etc then head to


London Fringe theatre news round up

Pic from Skin a Cat

Fresh from the inbox so far this week:

  • Neil McPherson's It Is Easy To Be Dead is transferring from the Finborough after a sell out run to the Trafalgar Studios 2 from Nov 9. It was nominated for seven Off West End awards.
  • Isley Lynn’s Skin a Cat will be transferring to The Bunker - the new venue at Waterloo - from Oct 12 following its sell-out, award-winning run at the VAULT Festival earlier this year.
  • Camden People's Theatre fourth feminist theatre festival Calm Down, Dear opens on Sept 20 with Blush from Snuffbox Theatre which won The Stage Award at Edinburgh this year.
  • The 1st Open Central Asia International Festival, which will play host to a variety of events celebrating Central Asian arts – work from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan - opens on Oct 5. For details of all the various events go to

Review and production photos: Dreamplay, The Vaults


I'm gathered with a crowd just outside one of the arches at The Vaults, some people are sat in deck chairs, a cellist is playing. Then a woman dressed in an oversized coat appears, unable to speak she lunges at people straining to vocalise her feelings, the sounds pleading, distressed, frustrated and sometimes aggressive. The audience shuffles awkwardly hoping not to have to meet her direct gaze.

We are then ushered into the arches to watch a 'girl' dressed in cycling gear vomiting into a toilet and calling for her mother to be let out, apologising for something she's done. Then we move to seats and a woman's movement is controlled by the cellist who has reappeared. The faster she plays the faster the woman has to move. It's one of the very few light moments in this play which, considering its title, could probably do with a few more.

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Production photos: The Libertine with Dominic Cooper (and a monkey puppet)

It's currently enjoying a stint at the Theatre Royal Bath before transferring to the Theatre Royal Haymarket later this month but how excited are we about seeing Dominic Cooper in The Libertine? (I still remember him in his vest in Phedre.) And, of course it also stars Stan-fav Jasper Britton which is adding to the excitement. While we are patiently waiting, here are some production shots* - love the monkey puppet:


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