257 posts categorized "Fringe/pub theatre" Feed

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.

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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.

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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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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Review: Drag, self-discovery and civil war in Lipstick: A Fairy Tale of Iran, Omnibus Theatre

Mixing the more colourful and camp with the harsh realities of inequality and creative restaint for the Iranian women is a powerful storytelling device.

1_Nathan Kiley in Lipstick A Fairy Tale of Iran_Flavia Fraser-Cannon
Nathan Kiley in Lipstick A Fairy Tale of Iran. Photo: Flavia Fraser-Cannon

A catwalk divides the seats at the Omnibus Theatre on which drag queen in green sequined dress is lip synching.

However, this isn't a Friday-night cabaret performance of a power ballad or pop song instead she tells the story of an Iranian woman, blinded and disfigured in an acid attack by a jealous man.

Mixing contrasting forms with narrative is a clever and powerful feature of Sarah Chew's play based on her real experiences when her six-week, Arts Council-funded cultural exchange trip to Iran coincided with the Green uprising.

While Orla (Siobhan O'Kelly) is in Iran, her best friend Mark (drag artist Nathan Kiley) is putting the finishing touches to their new club back in Soho.

Candid voicemail messages

As the story of Orla's trip unfolds, Kiley plays all the other characters as well as Mark who leaves long, amusingly candid voicemail messages for her.

It is inventive storytelling mixing boylesque, drag, Vaudeville with more traditional forms, and at times it feels like a fairytale - a dark, modern fairytale laced with very real modern life horrors.

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Review: The Orchestra, Omnibus Theatre - interesting snapshot of an often overlooked period of social history

Anouilh's humour doesn't ignite as well as it probably should but The Orchestra is otherwise an interesting snapshot of a period of social history that is often overlooked.

2 Stefania Licari (Suzanne Delicias) pic credit Jacob Malinski
Stefania Licari (Suzanne Delicias). Photo: Jacob Malinski

Set just after WWII, Jean Anouilh's black comedy The Orchestra is set in a French café during an evening performance when the harmony in the playing isn't matched by the musicians' conversations between pieces.

Mme. Hortense (Amanda Osborne), the leader of the orchestra flirts with piano player M. Leon (Pedro Casarin) which inflames jealousy in his lover Suzanne (Stefania Licari).

And while the tension increases between the three, the rest of the orchestra bicker, show off and complain about their lives.

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