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          TOP REVIEWS 2019

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VULVARINE Presented by Fat Rascal Theatre Company

UK Tour until July 12th 2019

Coming to King's Head Theatre 11 June - 6 July 2019

 

‘Ripping apart comic book Superhero clichés and gender stereotypes … with songs that stand out for their ingenuity, wit and catchiness’

***** (Reviewed by Emma Zadow)

Fat Rascal return with a brand-new addition to the musical theatre genre akin to their previously, and equally imaginative TOM AND BUNNY SAVE THE WORLD at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018. That was a hilarious take on the Zombie Apocalypse trope and this new offering, VULVARINE, is a ripping apart of the Superhero clichés and most interestingly, the gender stereotypes ... Read More

 

 

THE CROWN DUAL

King’s Head Theatre, N1 1QN, 12 March – 6 April 2019

 

‘a masterclass in comic timing’

**** (Reviewed by Sepy Baghaei)

From the moment duo Rosie Holt and Brendan Murphy stepped onto the stage, they were a comic force to behold. Whipping through the key moments in Queen Elizabeth II’s rise to power – with Holt playing the monarch and Murphy a myriad of supporting characters – the pair do well to keep the energy and the laughs going throughout.

Read More

 

THE GRENFELL PROJECT

The Hope Theatre, Islington, 12 – 30 March 2019  

 

‘The Grenfell Project is a vibrant and an important piece of theatre. Raw and occasionally rough around the edges, its power is undeniable’

**** (Reviewed by Andy Curtis)

There are times when you are reminded about the full scale of an event and, by extension, reminded of theatre’s potential role in tackling the major issues of the day.

The fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017 should have been the defining event of our times. 72 people officially died in a blaze that spread because of cladding which was a less safe, indeed a dangerous, refurbishment option that was chosen simply due to ... Read More

 

 

A LESSON FROM ALOES by Athol Fugard

Directed by Janet Suzman

Finborough Theatre 27 February to 23 March 2019

 

“Really great stuff”

***** (Reviewed by Richard Braine)

In one of Steve Martin’s films- I forget which one- a Hollywood executive says, “It’ll be a cold day in hell when an actor tells me what to do”. I imagine the first rehearsal of this production and everyone involved realising that they are being led by that astonishing actor Janet Suzman. Even just writing this sends a shiver down my spine.  

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FOOTFALLS and PLAY by Samuel Beckett

Jack Studio Theatre until 9th March  

 

‘a really tight, superbly acted double bill designed not just to entertain but to provoke and make you think.’

**** (Reviewed by Sian Rowland)

It’s a rare treat to see a pair of Beckett’s lesser known plays on the fringe circuit and Brockley’s Jack Studio is the perfect space for this double bill. Beckett is at his absurdist best here with all boxes ticked- disembodied heads in urns, odd little…pauses, cyclical meanderings and repetitive acts but because the two plays are barely thirty minutes each they retain punch and drive. Read More

 

 

TIMPSON THE MUSICAL

Presented by Gigglemug Theatre

King’s Head Theatre until  9th March 2019

 

‘Grab a beer, take some friends and prepare to laugh until you ache.’

**** (Reviewed by Sian Rowland)

Timpson’s is one of those gloriously eccentric quirks of the British high street. Where else can you get a key cut, your shoes re-heeled and a football trophy engraved? So it’s only right that a new theatre company have created a whole musical dedicated to the marvel that is Timpson. I somehow suspect that in the ... Read More

 

 

LITTLE ECHOES by Tom Powell

The Hope Theatre, Islington, 19 Feb - 9 Mar 2019

 

‘This ultimately moving production makes uncomfortable viewing. And if the stories seem unrealistic and extreme at times, unfortunately they reflect the reality of modern London’

**** (Reviewed by Andrew Curtis)

There are many stories that can be told about contemporary London. In Tom Powell’s ‘Little Echoes’ we follow three interconnected monologues. Danielle is the victim of grooming and sexual exploitation, Shaj looks to avenge a horrendous acid attack on his brother, and June is a fixer, ... Read More

 

 

CARMEN

King’s Head Theatre 7th February – 9th March 2019

 

“Darkly disturbing tragedy for the twenty-first century”

**** (Reviewed by Deborah Jeffries)

Hum the tune to the Toreador song and people will join in, as Bizet’s Carmen is one of the best loved and popular operas of all time. What’s often forgotten, however, is that it’s a miserably stark tragedy based around life; the notion that there’s no chance of a decent future so grab life now and look after number one. I’ve never ... Read More

 

 

 

RATTLED written and performed by Rachel Harper

Old Red Lion Theatre, until 2nd March 2019

 

‘Sensitive, thoughtful, heartbreaking and very, very funny’

***** (Reviewed by Sian Rowland)

Post-natal depression is often depicted as baby blues- a bit of weeping and wailing and then back to normal- so it’s refreshing to see a production that shows how complex and confusing PND can be.

Written and performed by Rachel Harper after a conversation with a new mum who was experiencing PND, this ... Read More 

 

 

 

IN SEARCH OF APPLAUSE by Maroussia Vladi

The Old Red Lion Theatre 12 February - 2 March 2019

 

‘… an intimate, honest, nothing like what you’d ever expect kind of play’

**** (Reviewed by Disa Anderson)

‘In Search Of Applause’ reminds me of a film I saw at a film festival way back in 2012. ‘In it’. the main character does the same thing every day until one day he decides to change things up. For most of the film nothing happens, yet in its repetitive

nature it brings you closer to the character’s inner life.

Read More

 

 

 

BEAST ON THE MOON by Richard Kalinoski

Finborough Theatre 31st January - 29th February 2019

 

“… it is profound and moving but it is laced with humour and its message is uplifting”

***.5 (Reviewed by Richard Braine)

My Editor said to me, “with the Armenian genocide as a central theme it might be a tough watch”. Surprisingly, and I don’t mean to sound glib, it wasn’t. Sure enough it is profound and moving but ... Read

 

 

 

TH’IMPORTANCE OF BEIN’ EARNEST

Drayton Arms Theatre 5th-23rd February 2019

 

“Wilde-ly hilarious adaptation of a Victorian classic”

***** (Reviewed by Deborah Jeffries)

Have you ever wondered what happened to Vicky Pollard when she left Little Britain? Well she moved up north to a Yorkshire council estate and I’ve just seen her with her family and friends. No, I don’t mean Matt Lucas, but Heather Dutton as the glorious Gwendoline in LKT Productions wickedly wild(e) production of The Importance of Being Ernest. From the moment Luke Adamson entered the stage... Read More 

 

 

THE RUFFIAN ON THE STAIR written by Joe Orton,

directed by Paul Clayton

Produced by The Hope Theatre 29 January – 16 February 2019  

 

‘This is a great opportunity, not to be missed, to see an Orton play performed as it should be – full of menace and humour.’  

**** (Reviewed by Andy Curtis)

The Ruffian on the Stair opens with Mike telling his partner Joyce that he is off to King’s Cross station because he’s ‘meeting a man in the toilet’.  She replies innocently: ‘You always go to such interesting places.’ This was the public’s first introduction to the work of Joe Orton. Read More

 

 

TARO written and directed by Ross McGregor

Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, 15th Jan-16th Feb 2019

In Rep. with ‘Gentleman Jack.’

 

“It is superb”

***** (Reviewed by Richard Braine)

A few years ago, my dad said to me, “you know your great grandfather designed and built Ribbentrop’s Country house. Even imported the bricks from Germany”.

“You mean Von Ribbentrop? The Nazi?  Friend of Adolf Hitler?”

“That’s the feller”.

“Why didn’t you tell me before?”

Read More

 

 

GENTLEMAN JACK by Ross McGregor

At Brockley Jack Studio Theatre 15th Jan-16th Feb 2019

 

‘There are scenes ... that take the breath away’

**** (Reviewed by Richard Braine)

I have ‘form’ with Ross McGregor and his Arrows and Traps Company. Over the years I have seen a number of their very skilled productions. In ‘Gentleman Jack’, presented at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, they don’t disappoint. Read More

 

 

OUTLYING ISLANDS by David Greig

King’s Head, Islington 9 January to 2 February 2019

 

‘Puts in a bid to be one of the finest pub productions of 2019’

***** ( Reviewed by David Weir)

The irony of watching a play titled Outlying Islands about an isolated community where social, economic and sexual standards are being cast to the four winds at exactly the moment the House of Commons was overwhelmingly rejecting the Brexit deal ... Read More

 

 

FRANZ KAFKA - APPARATUS

Written and directed by Ross Dinwiddy

The White Bear Theatre 8 – 26 January 2019

 

‘…a stark reminder that power crazed lunatics really do exist in historical and modern times’

**** (Reviewed by Jo Griffiths)

An adaptation of a short story, ‘In The Penal Colony’ by Kafka is brought to life at the White Bear Theatre, under the new, more daunting, title of ‘Apparatus’.  Written in 1914 and first published in 1919, Blue Devil productions are celebrating the 100th Anniversary year of this incredible man.  Read More

 

 

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT by George and Ira Gershwin

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate, until 27 Jan 2019

 

‘Nice ticket if you can get one’

***** (Reviewed by David Weir)

The word jukebox came into common American usage about the same year George Gershwin died but the concept of a jukebox musical might well have captured the old showman’s imagination.  NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT is just such a beast, a compilation of some of the two Gershwin brothers’ most charming ... Read More

 

 

STIG OF THE DUMP

Tabard Theatre, Chiswick, 6 December 2018 – 6 January 2019  

 

‘The production has the right balance of everyday humour, magic and mystery. A lovely version of a children’s classic, highly recommended for families to see.’    

***** (Reviewed by Andy Curtis)

There are occasions when the stars align to make a perfect piece of pub theatre. STIG OF THE DUMP at the Tabard Theatre is one of them. Children’s theatre can be notoriously hard to do well, yet this revival makes it seem effortless. Directed by Russell Labey and ... Read More

 

 

CINDERELLA: A FAIRYTALE

Presented by The Jack Studio Theatre, Until 5 January 2019

 

‘True to Brothers Grimm, this romantic tale is laced with dark undertones, a delight for all the family’  

**** (Reviewed by Heather Jeffery)

The Jack Studio Theatre often sells out its entire run at Christmas and it is easy to see why.  This engaging adaptation of the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, has gruesome moments to pepper the romance.  No slushy sentiments here.   It really is a story for today, with a feisty and ... Read More

 

 

Buttons: A Cinderella Story

King’s Head Theatre, 23 Nov 2018 – 5 Jan 2019

 

“magical mash-up of pantos galore”

**** (Reviewer: Debs Jeffries)

I’m a HUGE fan of Charles Court Opera and always fight for the review tickets for their shows. This, coupled with my obsession for panto, sent me into spasms of delight when I heard that this year’s panto at the King’s Head was CCO’s Buttons: A Cinderella Story – and it didn’t disappoint. Read More 

 

 

Rubbed!

Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Various dates until 3rd January

 

"Panto party central"

**** (Reviewer: Debs Jeffries)

Out of every show I've reviewed for London Pub Theatres, this was by far the one that most felt like I was in a pub rather than a theatre. No ordinary pub, however. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is not only London’s longest-established LGBT venue, it’s also a Grade II listed building with pillars to die for. Read More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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