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April 2019

Review: Wow Everything Is Amazing in an imagined digital future (Battersea Arts Centre)

While the raps, music and dance bring a celebratory, uplifting feel there are hints at the price of it all.

Sounds Like Chaos_WOW Everything Is Amazing_BAC _ Albany. Photo Ali Wright (3)
Sounds Like Chaos - Wow Everything Is Amazing. Photo: Ali Wright

Youth theatre group Sounds Like Chaos imagine the digital world 50 years in the future, presenting the vision as a pseudo-church service where citizens worship at the altar of the internet. 

To one side is a congregation, dressed in jumpsuits complete with the logos of digital companies. On the other is a 'choir' wearing a futuristic version of the traditional chorister robes.

They worship and offer praise to 'Godhead' who glides up the aisle on a self-balancing scooter (hoverboard) on a promise to 'be here for you'.

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Olivier Awards: The two winners I'm particularly chuffed about

Flicked on social media this morning to cast my eye over the winners of the Oliver Awards and particular chuffed to see two names on the list.

First up was Flesh and Bone which won Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre (basically best fringe production). 

I gave it five stars when I saw it for its clever mix of Shakespearean lyricism and East End vernacular.

Flesh and Bone

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Review: Cillian Murphy's performance flies in Grief Is The Thing With Feathers, Barbican Theatre

Murphy's performance is a triumph, pitching with precision from one emotional extreme to another.

Cillian Murphy Grief Is The Thing With Feathers

Cillian Murphy and writer Enda Walsh's collaborations on stage tend to lean towards the surreal and avant-garde and Grief Is The Thing With Features is no exception.

Based on the award-winning novel by Max Porter, a man (Murphy) is holed-up in his London flat grieving the loss of his wife and the mother of his two sons.

The cacophony of different emotions he and his family is feeling invites a visit by Crow, a destructive, tricky character who threatens to stay until the father and sons no longer need him.

Cathartic vehicle

While crows traditionally represent death and tragedy in literature, here the creature is also a cathartic vehicle through which the family can express those deeper, raw emotions and ultimately learn to survive their grief.

Walsh has chosen to have Murphy play Crow as well as the father.

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National Theatre Live Trailer: Sally Field and Bill Pullman All My Sons, Old Vic - does it do the play justice?

Trailers for plays are generally a bit rubbish, aren't they? Film trailers give too much away and play trailers often tell you virtually nothing.

This trailer for the National Theatre Live screening of All My Sons at the Old Vic feels like a small step in the right direction - I wonder whether the fact that it will be shown alongside film trailers in cinemas to promote the event has focused attention on its purpose?

There is a hint of the story - family tension/marital tension - but if you know nothing about the play would it intrigue you enough to want to see it?

Or is the Old Vic and National Theatre Live relying on the star pull of Sally Field and Bill Pullman?

This is a play about truth, lies, love, loss and fatal decisions and you get little of that.

What do you think?


Review: Why Admissions at Trafalgar Studios made me angry

Is it part of the irony within Joshua Harmon's Admissions that a play about white privilege and the hypocrisy of white liberals has only white characters?


Set in New England, the play centres on a middle-class family. Mother Sherri (Alex Kingston) is head of admissions at a posh private school and doggedly determined to increase diversity among staff and pupils while her husband Bill (Andrew Woodall) is the equally liberal head of the school.

Their son Charlie (Ben Edelman) and his best friend Perry, whose mother (Sarah Hadland) is white and father mixed race, have both applied to Yale but when Charlie doesn't get accepted, the family's liberal halo dramatically slips.

Charlie believes his friend's admission to Yale is down to diversity targets rather than merit.

He expresses his opinion at length in a nasty and hysterical rant, levelling similar criticism at equality targets just for good measure. His parents listen passively, passing comment only when he has finally run out of steam.

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