A Blue Something by Two Flats Theatre

The Space Theatre in London Docklands hosts the YouTube live-streamed version of A Blue Something written and co-directed by Magali Jeger. The new inventive theatre company Two Flats Theatre has been formed by a group of East 15 graduates who have been in a social bubble to allow themselves the space to be creative and produce work.

Chris(David Westgate), Lucy(Ronja Ritter) Hervey(Felix Ryder) and Mandy(Gemma Ortega). Are the four cast members on stage who entwine within one another throughout the performance.

Billed as “a poetic, elegant play that gives you plenty of space for interpretation and reflection” this quote on their website along with the line from the performance that “life is an illusion” appears to take a postmodernist approach. Where they allow the audience to decide what “The Blue Something” is. Which I understood to be something different for each character. Inevitably this will be different to each audience member too.

There are a few gaps in this production at times and it felt slightly disjointed in some areas. Whether this is due to the production still being a work in progress or the co-directors Jeger and Monika Matošević are allowing the audience to fill in the gaps I am not completely sure. Overall it’s an interesting performance where you as the audience decide how much you would like to take from watching The Blue Something.

As I understand the Theatre company are planning on taking this production onto the stage in front of a live audience once the current restrictions are lifted. It is one of those atmospheric performances that the audience will benefit from seeing live. The feelings from the characters will translate across in an auditorium that I felt was lacking from watching it on a screen.

The 60-minute production runs from this evening 30th March 2021 to the 1st April 2021. Check out their website link underneath for ticket details and more information on this very talented up and coming theatre company.

https://www.twoflatstheatre.com

The Space HOME

Metamorphosis based on the novella by Franz Kafka.

Tower Theatre in Stoke Newington, London presents Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka from their Virtual Tower productions. This particular zoom adaptation has been created by Angharad Ormond, Ian Hoare and Paul Graves

Gregor (Paul Graves) a high flying salesman who has been providing for his family. Wakes up to discover he has metamorphosed into an insect. The audience never sees this transformation. However, by his family and Manager’s reaction (John Chapman) we know he has changed into something grossly disfigured from his original human form.

Greta (Arabella Hornby) plays his dedicated sister who remains in contact with Gregor via video call and ensures he has his favourite food delivered to his flat in an attempt to make sure that he continues to eats. While his Father (Richard Kirby) and Mother (Lucy Moss) fall apart in despair as they realise financially life is going to change forever.

Using the zoom platform for this particular thirty-minute novella works perfectly as the audience never seeing the metamorphism of Gregor, doesn’t take anything away from the image one can form about how he now looks. The sound effects of extremely high pitched buzzing enables you to use your imagination and fill in the missing images.

Narrated by Ian Hoare we hear Gregor’s inner thoughts of confusion as he comes to terms with what has taken place and equally the frustration as he attempts to communicate with his family who no longer has any idea about what he is saying.

I can highly recommend taking thirty minutes out of your day to watch Metamorphosis and see for yourself how it has been brilliantly adapted to be seen on the frequently used zoom platform. The YouTube link is available below.

https://www.towertheatre.org.uk

Threedumb Theatre present The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe.

London docklands is home to the former Presbyterian Church now known as The Space Theatre. It isn’t one of the easiest Off West End Theatre’s to travel to. However, the quirkiness and character of the Theatre certainly make the journey and effort worthwhile.

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 saw the opening night of Threedumb Theatre’s fourth post lockdown production “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe. Set within the old Church and using the outside areas, cameraman David Smith follows the main protagonist performed by Stephen Smith around the building as he tells us the tale of The Black Cat.

The alcoholic is descending into insanity as he recalls the tale of the violent and evil events that took place during his marriage. His confession taking place on the eve of his death can be seen as his consciousness wanting reconciliation before he is about to meet his maker. The former Church is the perfect setting for this to take place.

Michaela Bennison’s performance as his long-suffering wife plays a haunting figure for much of her time on the stage. Adding another dimension to this dark gothic tale.

The imaginative and creative way in which Threedumb Theatre use the entire Theatre’s “space” has been brilliantly choreographed. From the noisy Tavern scene set in the Theatre’s bar to the eerie cellar scene where Smith washes his hands.

The lighting effects created by Eddie Stephens casts a macabre setting inside and outside at The Space. The shadows cast an eerie atmosphere to the entire performance. At times I felt as if Smith was talking to me directly.

The Black Cat is a great production for this particular zoom platform. The emptiness of the Theatre and the echoing within some of the main rooms bought this 1843 macabre masterpiece to life. I was drawn into the anger, danger and shocked by some of the dramatic outbursts which may not have had the same emotional impact had I been sat in an auditorium with other theatre goers.

This live-streamed zoom production is running until 26th March 2021. I would highly recommend booking yourself space at the venue.

Five Stars.

The Space HOME

http://www.threedumbtheatre.com/

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Southwalk Playhouse. CREDIT Geraint Lewis

Southwark Playhouse had planned to bring to the stage The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by the renowned musical theatre writers Richard Hough and Ben Morales Frost. However, due to further restrictions, the Theatre wasn’t in a position to perform in front of a live audience and decided to continue with their plans to put this onto the stage and have filmed the production to be screened online.

Eva (Mary Moore) has her debut musical performance as the rebellious daughter of a long-suffering Dad (David Thaxton). Not happy to just settle and let life be guided for her Eva wants more and sees the world through a different lens to her Father. Quite rightly so as the upcoming generations need to see a difference for things to change.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Southwalk Playhouse. CREDIT Geraint Lewis

I thought the idea of the Aurora lights rebelling and fighting the townsfolk worked incredibly well. Although you will need to watch the production to find out exactly what happens when they clash.

Anna Kelsey has created a dark and intriguing stage portraying the dark and damaging effect caused by industrial pollution. It goes on to accompany the wonders of Eva’s magical powers and allow the sparks from her spells to light up the stage and add another depth to the special effects.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Southwalk Playhouse. CREDIT Geraint Lewis

While you are watching The Sorcerer’s Apprentice it is important to be able to suspend your disbelief.  They have recreated the scene from Disney’s Mickey Mouse version where the broomsticks come to life and dance around Eva. Although the actors are visible it’s an extremely impressive choreographed scene by the talented choreographer Steven Harris.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Southwalk Playhouse. CREDIT Geraint Lewis

Creatives have learned to adapt through this pandemic. Enchanting productions such as these can be adapted for screen. Therefore, once the Theatre’s can reopen their doors live screening and pay to view audiences could be able to access productions which were previously unavailable to them.

Four Stars

Streaming from Friday 26th February – Sunday 14th March 2021.

http://www.tsamusical.com/


Love Roulette by Production Line

Imagine Blind Date meets speed dating and add a surreal twist to it and you have found yourself in the world of Love Roulette written by Claire Wood and directed by Ross Hope.

The game begins with viewers being introduced to the five contestants who have signed up to find “love”. The viewers comment and score each of the potential matches out of ten after watching the pair chat for four minutes.

As the chat develops darker sides of some of the contestants appear which at times felt rather unsettling and this can be openly discussed on the live chat feed which is open for all to read and it was quite descriptive too.

Although the concept of the game might not be very original. As it has been written and produced for a live zoom platform experience it allows for it to be spontaneous and uncensored which at times was hilarious.

It is entertaining and funny at times and with the viewer’s participation throughout the performance each show is going to be slightly different from the one before. Each performance lasts for just over an hour and a half which means it doesn’t feel like it has been rushed through.

Four Stars.

Performances are 13, 14, 18, 19 & 20 February at 8pm
Tickets are free and are available from https://productionlines.eventbrite.co.uk productionlines.co.uk

Although the tickets for each performance are free Production Lines has asked for its viewers to consider donating Acting for Others, which provides financial and emotional support to theatre workers in times of need through its 14 member charities.
justgiving.com/fundraising/roulette 

Strangers by Nick Card.

Written and directed by Nick Card “Strangers” is a dark and slightly twisted tale. Which see two Strangers who meet by chance in a pub and due to circumstances beyond their control neither of their worlds can ever be quite the same again.

When Jess (Emily Browne) meets Gary (Steve Schollar) she is at the end of her tether and desperately upset. Jess owes her landlord £150 in rent to stop her from being evicted we soon learn this is the tip of her financial problems. With all avenues exhausted, she believes that all she has left to sell is herself. However, Gary reluctance is overruled by his desire to help a damsel in distress.

With the idea of six degrees of separation in action which means that we are never more than six social connections away from knowing each other. Add into this the theory that we meet everyone for a reason. Then the foundations are perfectly created for Strangers.

The performance works very well using the zoom platform. The public house background noise allows a sense of authenticity for where the couples chance encounter takes place. Camera positioning has been precisely worked out on the occasions that the couple pass things to each other.

From a reviewers perspective, this production could easily be spoilt by giving away too many important details and divulging too many spoilers. Therefore instead I would urge you to watch this at the Online Space season 2 to find out for yourself what takes place between Jess and Gary.

4 stars.

https://online.thespaceuk.com/

@StageWrite

Walk of Shame by Glass Half Full Theatre.

Writers Stephanie Silver and Amelia Marshall-Lovsey bring to the online stage “Walk of Shame”, produced by Caley Powell for Glass Half Full Productions.

Stephanie Silver’s performance as Alice the disillusioned, bored girlfriend of Billy. Where the idea of another night in doesn’t appeal to her. After cooking her fish and chips from his freezer he mixes the mayonnaise in the ketchup which Alice loathes and he knows this. This tiny catalyst is the final straw and her anger rages inside and she decides to go out and “get some”.

The no holds barred attitude from Alice leaves the viewer under no disillusion about what she is looking for and how/where she intends to find it. Then enters Liam (Sam Lando) who fuelled up on cocaine and alcohol shares the same aim as Alice, to get “some”.

There are no grey areas around the rules of consent. No means exactly that, No. Alice clearly states “No” drugs and alcohol are no excuse for not understanding this. Which in Liam’s state and through his dialogue means he reads the situation differently or does he?

The powerful language throughout the performance pushes home the passion and energy of Alice’s intense emotions. Fueled by rage her heart steers the storyline throughout most the performance.

Once again Glass half Full Theatre bring to life another modern-day issue without any “sugar coating” or censorship. Please be aware that this production carries a strong trigger warning.

Glass Half Full plan to take this production on tour when restrictions are lifted. Taking this powerful piece directly to their targeted audience in Colleges and Universities educating the students to understand and be clear about the rules of consent. An important rule to be understood and adhered to by everyone.

This product along with 51 other shows is part of the new Season 2 at the Online Space (link available below) from the 8th-31st January 2021. It’s all free to watch yet any donations made would be gratefully received.

Four Stars

https://online.thespaceuk.com/

https://lightsdownprod.wixsite.com/about/
@LightsDownProdhttps://www.facebook.com/LightsDownProductions/

Dick Whittington The Pompey Panto.

After much uncertainty during this year of lockdown and Theatre closures. The King’s Theatre has bought the Pantomime back to Portsmouth just in time for Christmas. With many seasonal events cancelled it’s fantastic that some Theatre’s are now staging productions again.

Starring Sean Smith as Dick Whittington, James Percy as Silly Billy and the traditional ‘baddie’ Queen Rat performed by Julia Worsley the very talented cast bring laughter, music and all-round family ‘feel good’ fun to the stage.

Jack Edwards in the role of Dame Dolly once again bought the classic role of the pantomime Dame to life. This is my second year reviewing at The King’s Theatre and Edwards was one of the reasons I chose to return. With an abundance of charisma and flamboyant costumes it’s no wonder he is chosen each year.

For each performance, the audience is asked to name Dick’s cat (Billie-Leigh Roberts). Tonight she was called Eileen, much to the amusement of the cast. I was completely in awe of her costume, the detail and colours are fantastic. The attention to detail in her make up are phenomenal an absolute credit to Ronnie Parr’s eye to detail.

The comedy in this year’s production has been aimed at the adult audience as much as the children. After such a turbulent year Theatre goers certainly welcomed the laughs as the raptures from the auditorium proved. My teenage daughter found the adult humour hilarious and was pleased I had persuaded her into accompanying me.

Social distancing and no contact rules took place between the cast, many comedic references being made throughout the performance. The use of a magic light switch incorporated into the script allowed scenes like a kiss to take place when the auditorium plunged into darkness and all you heard were the sound effects. Very simple but effective device.

Choreographer Becky Herszenhorn alongside Director/Writer Paul Hendry has most certainly had their work cut out in this seasons pantomime. Yet the production doesn’t lose any of the magic or entertainment that you would have normally expected. They deserve to be very proud of what they have achieved during these unprecedented times.

Along with my hard to please fourteen-year-old critic, we would both highly recommend Dick Whittington as a definite Christmas treat this year for all the family. Huge congratulations to everyone who has been involved in bringing it to the stage.

Five Stars

Photo credits Andrew Searle.

Running from 8th December 2020-3rd January 2021. Please use the link for tickets and further information.

Home

Potted Panto at The Garrick Theatre.

Potted Panto Garrick Theatre CREDIT Geraint Lewis

Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner are lucky to return to the stage this year after an extremely turbulent time where COVID-19 has closed every Theatre. Leaving the traditional seasonal Pantomime in jeopardy and many up and down the country cancelled.

What happens when you can’t decide which one of your favourite six pantomimes to perform? From Jack and the Beanstalk to Sleeping Beauty short sections from each one have been extracted to create a fun-filled 70-minute production.

With a variety of Pantomime Dames, Baddies, Prince’s, a fairy or two and Dick Whittington aka Boris all appearing on the stage. Clarkson and Turner are the perfect double-act to entertain the whole family this year in London’s West End at The Garrick Theatre. Just watch out for the rogue flying baked beans which may or may not make an appearance.

Potted Panto Garrick Theatre CREDIT Geraint Lewis

The cast make references to social bubbles and many other of the pandemic rules in place which at any other time would appear an alien concept yet bought many laughs from the audience.

Charlotte Payne and Jacob Jackson join Turner and Clarkson when required on a couple of occasions in the form of additional characters and helped rally the audience sing along in the final scene.

If you ever wondered what would happen if the Charles Dickens classic novel A Christmas Carol met Aladdin then your questions can be answered here. After all, it’s such an obvious match to have made!

Potted Panto Garrick Theatre CREDIT Geraint Lewis

Director Richard Hurst has bought the audiences Potted Panto a fantastic way to brighten up the end of an extremely bleak theatre year. I can’t remember laughing as much throughout an entire theatre performance in a very long time. Don’t just take my word for it take the family along and let the cast magic you away for 70-minutes to various Pantomime lands.

Five Stars

LISTINGS INFO

POTTED PANTO

Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0HH

Saturday 5 December 2020
to Sunday 10 January 2021

Duration: 70 minutes no interval

Age recommendation: 6+

Tickets: from £20.00
Family ticket £70.00 for 4

Box office: 0330 333 4811
www.nimaxtheatres.com

In the Absence of Silence by The Chickenshed (online performance)

Chickenshed’s latest online release during the second lockdown period is the emotive drama ‘In the Absence of Silence’. The cast of five discuss their experiences of living at the hands of their abusers. The drama has been written and directed by survivors of domestic abuse which was created as part of Chickenshed’s outreach project called Survivors. 

Characteristics in the way in which an abuser manipulates and controls their victim are explored through the conversations, while the five ladies enjoy some respite and a day on the beach. Throughout the entire performance, Lizzie’s (Louise Perry) perpetrator is constantly bombarding her with text messages which become increasingly verbally abusive and finish by degrading her, calling her a host of derogatory names.

Shirley (Elsie Lyons) has an air surrounding her of almost being untouchable. The abhorrent behaviour that she was subjected to over the years by her husband has created a hard exterior. Allowing you to believe that she had been unaffected. One of the common traits found in a survivor after suffering years of abuse.

I found the scene in which the perpetrators use the court’s system to continue their control and abuse to be somewhat farcical. However, I felt it was done in this style to break up the intensity of the subject matter. Although for me I am still in two minds about it and I am unsure whether I felt it was in keeping with the rest of the performance.

One word of advice never question why a victim of domestic abuse didn’t leave their abuser. Leaving an abuser isn’t straightforward and for a vast amount of victims, this isn’t the end of the abuse as their perpetrators become desperate to hold onto the control they have held over their victim. Trying absolutely anything they can to retain it.

If you have ever wondered how abuse begins and then continues worsen then watching productions like this gives a comprehensive understanding and insight. Exploring the gas lighting effects, how easily the emotional and physical outbursts can be started and the level in which a victim blames themselves for what is going on.

Due to the subject matter, strong language and themes of violence that run throughout the performance. This is not suitable for anyone under the age of fifteen.

In the Absence of Silence was co-produced with Creu Cymru and developed with the Domestic Abuse Services in South Gwynedd.

Cast

Lauren …  Jojo Morrall

Lizzie … Louise Perry

Kell … Holly Skinner

Shirley … Elsie Lyons

Sandra … Charlotte Bull

https://www.chickenshed.org.uk/Event/absence-of-silence-youtube-premiere