Three ways to see Fleabag in the West End (and beyond) for less than £20

If you weren't lucky enough to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge's play Fleabag before it became a TV series and really famous then there is another chance.

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Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Photo: Jason Hetherington

Tickets for the West End run at the Wyndhams in the Autumn are going like hot cakes but there are other ways to get tickets - and at a more palatable price.

1. Online lottery - 50 seats at £15 will be available for every performance via TodayTix
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2. Standing tickets - A limited number of £10 standing tickets will be available from the Wyndham’s Theatre box office on the day of each performance

3 Live broadcast - Fleabag will be broadcast live to cinemas around the UK and internationally on 12 September with National Theatre Live.  


Fleabag is at the Wyndhams Theatre from 20 August to 14 September.

And yes, I can smuggly say, I did see Fleabag before it was famous. Not at the Edinburgh Fringe but upstairs at the Soho Theatre when it transferred and I remember it vividly and fondly.

My thoughts on it can be found here.


Review: Equus, Trafalgar Studios - A thoroughbred production?

Equus holds a special place in my theatre-going past because it was seeing the 2007 production with Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths which reignited my love of the theatre. Would this production live up to its predecessor?

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Ethan Kai as Alan Strang in Equus. Photo: The Other Richard

Peter Shaffer's 1973 play is based on a real incident in which a teenage boy blinded six horses. 

In his play, he explores possible reasons for the horrific act through 17-year-old Alan Strang's (Ethan Kai) sessions with his psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Zubin Varla).

Dysart has to build up trust with the troubled teen before, detective-like, he can unearth what motivated him to carry out such a violent and abhorrent act. 

Scenes from the past

Scenes from Alan's past are re-enacted during his conversations with the psychiatrist.

We see his early encounters with horses, his passionately religious mother and atheist, straight-laced father and his growing pathological obsession with horses. 

It is Alan's zeal and fervour which makes Dysart question his own life and the purpose of what he does - what is he saving the boy from?

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Quick review: Wife, Kiln Theatre - smart, vibrant and with a delicious sly dig at theatre

Saw Wife at the Kiln Theatre a few weeks ago but it was a really busy time with work and I got distracted from writing my review - which I now want to quickly rectify because I really enjoyed it.

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Karen Fishwick (Daisy) and Sirine Saba (Suzannah) in Wife © Marc Brenner

Samuel Adamson's play spans 60 years and while there is a connection between the different generations it isn't as simple as parents, children and grandchildren.

You have to pay attention as it time jumps, seeking out the connection when it isn't always immediately obvious, starting with an encounter in 1959 between a married woman and an actress.

The actress is starring as Nora in Ibsen's A Dolls's House and that first scene sets out the stall for the key themes - gay relationships and the changing role of women within the structure of marriage and family.

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Coming soon klaxon...a fringe play you should see

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One of the highlights of my trip to the Edinburgh Fringe last year was Nouveau Riché's Queens of Sheba.

It was an exhilarating watch and sparked a strong emotional response so I'm chuffed to see that it is touring the country in the Autumn.

Details of the tour can be found here and if you are London-based, like me, then Queens of Sheba will be at the Battersea Arts Centre 18-23 November.

It's a show I can't recommend enough and if you want to know more, you can read my review here.


Review: The Illusionists, Shaftsbury Theatre - thrills, laughs and magic fun for grown-ups and kids

The Illusionists are back in London for the summer season with their mix of illusion, thrilling feats, humour and family fun.

The Illusionists programme

Seven illusionists with seven different styles of 'magic' from the nail-biting and seat squirming to the awe-inspiring and gasp-inducing make up an exciting and varied evening's entertainment.

And while you won't find rabbits being pulled out of a hat there is still a lot that is familiar - sleight of hand, female assistants sliced up in boxes, objects disappearing and death-defying escapes.

But The Illusionists has the slickness and gloss of 21st-century sophistication - Paul Daniel's magic show this isn't - mixed with a new style of  'magic' making the most of digital technology for something that you may not have seen before.

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Review: Seven Methods Of Killing Kylie Jenner, Royal Court - makes a lot of what is on stage look stodgy and staid

It made me feel young and old, angry and ashamed, it was interesting, revealing and funny.

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Seven methods of killing kylie jenner, Royal Court: Photo Helen Murray

London's theatre scene is awash with productions which offer a 'fresh' take on classics but Jasmine Lee-Jones' play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner demonstrates exactly what really 'fresh' theatre is - and should be.

Closeted in her bedroom, Cleo (Danielle Vitalis) is venting her anger and frustration at the world using Twitter.

However, she doesn't anticipate the storm she will create not just on social media but with her friend Kara (Tia Bannon).

Starts with a Tweet

It starts with Cleo's sarcastic tweet under her handle @incognegro about reality TV star Kylie Jenner being described as a 'self-made billionaire':

"YT woman born into rich American family, somehow against all odds manages to get more rich..."

She goes on to call out the hypocrisy pointing out the cultural appropriation, colourism and inequality.

A glib death threat becomes a musing on how you kill a 'social media figure' and the ensuing Twitter storm serves to highlight not only the toxicity that exists on social media but within society.

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London Theatre 2019 in review - the highs and lows so far...

So we are halfway through 2019 which means time to look back and reflect on what London's theatre scene has offered up so far and this year: 

5 plays I loved:

Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre

"Yes, Emilia is an angry play about the frustration of inequality and how it limits opportunity but the message and call to arms is served well with a mixture of sharp humour, merriment and music."

Downstate poster

Downstate, National Theatre

"This is a challenging, difficult play with humour and wit inflected with wisdom, carefully balancing entertainment without detracting from the seriousness of the subject matter."

Betrayal, Harold Pinter Theatre

"Hiddleston, Ashton and Cox deliver precise, layered performances in a production that grips with tension."

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Review: The End of History, Royal Court - rebellious children, parental legacy and a sentimental misstep

While Sal and David may be passionate about righting the wrongs of the world and creating a more equal and inclusive society, when it comes to embarrassing their children it's a different matter.

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The End of History, Royal Court. Photo Johan Persson.

Writer Jack Thorne and John Tiffany last worked together on the Harry Potter plays but family dynamics is the only parallel with The End of History at the Royal Court.

The play is set during three family gatherings in 1997, 2007 and 2017, in the Newbury home of Sal (Lesley Sharp) and David (David Morrissey).

They are left-leaning liberals who've brought their children up to be inquisitive and be socially aware.

Elder children Carl (Sam Swainsbury) and Polly (Kate O'Flynn) are at good universities and younger sibling Tom (Laurie Davidson) is still at school but when they come together it is a mixture of banter, jibes and warm familial bonds.

Views take their toll

Sal and David's liberal approach to parenting combined with their rigid views on social justice has taken its toll on their children.

In the first act, the gathering is to meet Carl's new girlfriend Harriet (Zoe Boyle). Behind closed doors, the kids are almost used to their parent's frank revelations and views but it is a different matter when Harriet arrives. 

The fact that she comes from money is an itch that Sal, in particular, just can't help scratching with amusingly cringe-worthy consequences.

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Review: Who won the battle of comedies - Present Laughter (Old Vic) or Noises Off (Lyric Hammersmith)?

London's theatreland is ripe for a good hearty laugh. I mean look at the state of the world, who wouldn't want to bury their head in giggles for a couple of hours?

Present Laughter Old Vic poster

And so we are spoiled by not one but two classic comedies both with stellar casts: Present Laughter starring Andrew Scott and Indira Varma at the Old Vic and Noises Off starring Meera Syal and Daniel Rigby at the Lyric Hammersmith.

But which one is best?

The two plays haven't just got comedy in common, both involve actors playing actors.

Andrew Scott plays Garry Essendine a stage star with his coterie of friends and staff trying to stop him making bad decisions - or are they riding on the coattails of his fame as he believes.

Drama off stage

In Noises Off Meera Syal is one of a troupe of actors touring the regions where the drama offstage threatens to overshadow that on stage.

What the play is most famous for is showing the same scene not only as it appears on stage but also from backstage. You get to see it three times in fact.

Both plays rely on running jokes and a lot of comings and goings, lots of doors, people missing each other and being kept apart.

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Review: Dark Sublime, Trafalgar Studios - laughs and hammy 80s sci-fi but could be slicker

While the play gets off to a punchy start with plenty of laughs it doesn't feel like the focus on relationships, loneliness and the nature of friendship get sufficient purchase. 

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Dark Sublime Trafalgar Studios: Marina Sirtis and Kwaku Mills. Photo: Scott Rylander

There are two actors playing actors on stage in London at the moment and both characters present as needy and vain.

Andrew Scott's Garry in Present Laughter (Old Vic) is at the extreme end of the spectrum but there are elements too in Marina Sirtis' Marianne.

She's an actress whose star has long been in the descendent having reached the heady heights of a 1980s sci-fi series called Dark Sublime and some episodes in a soap.

Now she gets by on the odd bit of radio work and corporate training gigs and spends her evenings drinking and grumbling with old friend Kate (Jacqueline King) when she isn't seeing her new, young girlfriend Suzanne (Sophie Ward).

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