249 posts categorized "Fringe/pub theatre" Feed

Review: F*ck You Pay Me, Bunker Theatre - lifting the lid on life working as a stripper

Backstage there is camaraderie among the strippers and 'office' politics, personal dramas and worries just like any place of work.

Fuck You Pay Me  The Bunker (Credit David Monteith Hodge) Joana Nastari (2)
Joana Nastari  F*ck You Pay Me The Bunker. Photo: David Monteith Hodge

There's a DJ deck and DJ (Charlotte Bickley), faux fur walls and palm trees and three mini circular stages. This is a strip club, Holly's (Joana Nastari) place of work and she'll take us behind the scenes to her world as a stripper to see the good, the bad and the ugly aspects.

Holly isn't student who needs the cash, neither is she paying for a drug addict, she likes the work, the flexibility of it and can earn good money.

Her job title maybe stripper but that means she is also in sales, marketing, PR, acting and dancing but she doesn't have the same level of workers rights.

Continue reading "Review: F*ck You Pay Me, Bunker Theatre - lifting the lid on life working as a stripper" »


Review: The Half God of Rainfall, Kiln Theatre - Battling deities, basketball and a god for modern women

In the same way that the Marvel Universe mixes superpowers with mortal flaws, the scope of The Half God of Rainfall stretches to another galaxy but all the time remains profoundly human.

Kwami-Odoom-and-Rakie-Ayola-in-Inua-Ellams-The-Half-God-of-Rainfall-c-Dan-Tsantilis-2
Kwami Odoom and Rakie Ayola in Inua Ellams' The Half God of Rainfall. Photo: Dan Tsantilis

Inua Ellams' play The Half God of Rainfall at the Kiln Theatre is an epic battle of gods from Greek and Yoruba myths anchored in contemporary culture by the sport of basketball and a bit of girl power.

Given the god-like status afforded sporting stars - if you are a fan of basketball there are plenty of nods - it's not a huge leap from battles on the court to battles among deities.

#metoo and mythology

And neither is it a leap from the #metoo campaign to the abused women of Greek mythology.

Straddling the realms of gods and humans is Demi (Kwami Odoom) born out of the violent rape of his mortal mother Modupe (Rakie Ayola) and thunder god Zeus.

Rakie-Ayola-in-Inua-Ellams-The-Half-God-of-Rainfall-c-Dan-Tsantilis-8
Rakie Ayola in Inua Ellams' The Half God of Rainfall. Photo: Dan Tsantilis

Demi's emotions can make it rain to the point of flooding and he also has a god-like knack for scoring basketball hoops.

However, he lives in times when the gods feel easily threatened by powers beyond their own and status.

Protection from jealousy

His fiercely protective and devoted mother takes him from his small village in Nigeria to the US to keep him out of the way but when Demi becomes a star basketball player Zeus's jealousy puts him in danger.

Ellams script paints a vivid picture that is both intimate and epic and it wouldn't work as well if not for the skilful performances of Odoom and Ayola.

Kwami-Odoom-in-Inua-Ellams-The-Half-God-of-Rainfall-c-Dan-Tsantilis-4
Kwami Odoom in Inua Ellams' The Half God of Rainfall. Photo: Dan Tsantilis

They effortlessly mix the stature of ancient myth with a contemporary inflection.

Demi is, for the most part, a kid with innocent wonder, sometimes petulant, sometimes cheeky but with a good heart.

However, it is Modupe who, in channelling the power of a mother's love and female exasperation at the male ego, the violence and abuse, proves the hero.

She is a god for modern women.

Powers and flaws

In the same way that the Marvel Universe mixes superpowers with mortal flaws, the scope of The Half God of Rainfall stretches to another galaxy but all the time remains profoundly human.

It is one hour and 20 minutes without an interval and I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

See it at the Kiln Theatre until 17 May.

You might also like to read:

Interview: Libby Liburd and Cathy Tyson talk about writing and performing in women's boxing drama Fighter.

From the archive: How the theatre obsession started as explained in my first Rev Stan's Theatre blog post.

 

 

 


Review: Fighter, Stratford Circus Arts - A single mum steps into the ring to fight for equality

Fighter's message is punchy and it's an important story to be told.

(c) Alex Brenner  no use without credit  Libby Liburd - Fighter (_DSC1109)
 Libby Liburd and David Schaal in Fighter. Photo: (c) Alex Brenner


Set in a boxing gym, Libby Liburd's play Fighter opens with girls and boys (from Fight for Peace's Newham Academy) training alongside each other.

The year projected on the wall at the back of the stage slowly dials back to 1998 and as it does the girls slip away. When single mum Lee (Libby Liburd) enters the gym, she is stepping into a man's world.

At this point in time, women have only been allowed to box as amateurs in the UK for two years and Tommy (David Schaal), who owns the gym, says he only trains men. 

He points Lee in the direction of the nail bar down the road.

Continue reading "Review: Fighter, Stratford Circus Arts - A single mum steps into the ring to fight for equality" »


Review: Funeral Flowers, Bunker Theatre - getting drawn into the world of a 17-year-old trainee florist

Emma Dennis-Edwards has created a character that gets under your skin - you laugh with her, feel for her and desperately want someone to ask the right questions and be there for her.

Funeral Flowers by Emma Dennis- Edwards (courtesy Kofi Dwaah) (25)
Funeral Flowers by Emma Dennis-Edwards. Photo: Kofi Dwaah.

Angelique's boyfriend Micky is in trouble with his gang leader and wants her to help him out - if she doesn't he says she'll be making his funeral flowers.

The 17-year-old at the centre of  Emma Dennis-Edwards' play is living with a carer while her mum is in prison, learning floristry at college and dreams of setting up her own business.

A cascade of flowers down the back wall of the performance space together with buckets of flowers give the theatre a hint of that wonderful florist's scent and Angelique a place to escape the outside world.

Continue reading "Review: Funeral Flowers, Bunker Theatre - getting drawn into the world of a 17-year-old trainee florist" »


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'.

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


Review: Cry Havoc, Park Theatre - can forbidden love bridge the cultural divide?

Cry Havoc is refreshing take on the immigration story but this is not quite matched by other elements of the play.

CryHavoc - James El-Sharawy and Marc Antolin - Photo by Lidia Crisafulli - Press 8
Cry Havoc, Park Theatre - James El-Sharawy and Marc Antolin. Photo by Lidia Crisafulli


Tom Coash's play is inspired by his time living in Egypt and learning of how a gay man had been arrested and tortured by police.

Marc Antolin plays Nicholas a naive, romantic Brit who wears a coat of colonial arrogance. James El-Sharawy plays Mohammed his boyfriend who has just been released from prison having been picked up in a sweep on a club by police.

Tortured, scarred and scared, Mohammed has already been rejected by his father, ostracised by the local community and knows he could be targeted by the police again. 

Nicholas thinks he has the answer: Take Mohammed back to England and sets about trying to get him a visa. 

Continue reading "Review: Cry Havoc, Park Theatre - can forbidden love bridge the cultural divide?" »


Review: Random Selfies, Ovalhouse - life through the eyes of a 10-year-old city girl

Kenny's writing is a window into a world of a 10-year-old where life is a series of fine balancing acts.

031919OvalHouseRandomSelfiesProduction-1-0029
Christina Ngoyi in Random Selfies, Ovalhouse. Photo: The Other Richard

Random Selfies by award-winning writer Mike Kenny (The Railway Children) is the story of child loneliness in a busy world.

Loretta or Lola as she prefers to be called is 10-years-old, lives with her mum and annoying younger brother in a ground floor flat in a big city.

She's finally got her own room, her older sister having left home - the circumstances of which Lola seems reluctant to talk about - but her privacy isn't complete because her mum won't knock.

Continue reading "Review: Random Selfies, Ovalhouse - life through the eyes of a 10-year-old city girl" »


Review: My White Best Friend (And Other Letters Left Unsaid), Bunker Theatre

My White Best Friend (And Other Letters Left Unsaid) is clever, fresh, provocative and important theatre.

My White Best Friend - Inès de Clercq - Credit The Bunker 1
My White Best Friend - Inès de Clercq. Photo: The Bunker

There is a clubby feel to the Bunker Theatre.  A DJ in the corner, people standing in groups talking, drinking, laughing - there is no seating.

Projected on the wall is a countdown until the start, the DJ occasionally interrupting the music to make announcements about the bar and a reminder of how much time is left.

Curated by Rachel De-Lahay and Milli Bhatia, the performance will be three letters, each night opening with My White Best Friend written by De-Lahay and read by Inés De Clercq. The letters that follow, will be new each night and read by different performers each night.

Continue reading "Review: My White Best Friend (And Other Letters Left Unsaid), Bunker Theatre" »


Interview: Writer Kieran Hurley on bringing Fringe hit Mouthpiece to London and how theatre needs to change

I think that some of the people running theatres need to really ask who they’re making work for, and why, and what kinds of work they value.

Kieran Hurley

Following a 5 star run at the Traverse Theatre, Fringe First winner Kieran Hurley brings Mouthpiece to Soho Theatre next month.  Here he talks about the play, the point of theatre and making it more inclusive.

How would you describe Mouthpiece?

It’s a two-person play about a teenage artist with a traumatic home life, and a jaded middle-aged writer who meets him and turns his story into a play.

Performed by two wonderful actors in Lorn Macdonald and Neve McIntosh it also has a cracking original score by Kim Moore. It is funny and sad and angry, it’s a bit sexy and a bit weird, and it’s all done and dusted in about 90 minutes or so.

The play questions the purpose of art and theatre, what do you think the point of theatre is?

For all my continual frustrations with it, theatre is still where we come together to be present with each other and present with stories that help us understand how we live and how we might live better.

Continue reading "Interview: Writer Kieran Hurley on bringing Fringe hit Mouthpiece to London and how theatre needs to change" »


Vaults Festival review: Dead End, The Vaults - was it dead funny?

The vaults

There's a lot we don't know about death and a lot we don't know about the characters in Kathryn Gardner's play Dead End.

Things like why gravedigger Sue (Kathryn Gardner) keeps hiding the tools of the bumbling, church groundsman (Paul Collin-Thomas) and what happened to her friend Carol (Chloe Wigmore) whose ghost she chats to.

And why she suddenly wants to investigate the death of a cat she's been carrying around in a cool bag for two weeks or won't go over to grave plot 12b.

No answers

Don't ask about the dead body the groundsman sees and reports to the police because you won't get any answers.

Continue reading "Vaults Festival review: Dead End, The Vaults - was it dead funny?" »