Public Domain.

Written and performed by Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke, Public Domain is now making its first appearance on the West End stage in the Vaudeville Theatre. After a successful digital debut run at the Southwark Playhouse in January 2021 audiences can experience the live version of this production. The intimacy of the smaller West End venue allows the audience a closer view into the world of the Zuckerbergs and social media.

Millie (Francesca Forristal) and Z (Jordan Paul Clarke) give an energetic and informative performance into the behing the screen side of social media through fast paced musical upbeat lyrics with a far less uobeat storyline.

Billed as a musical comedy Public Domain takes you on a fast track journey through social media platforms in the guise of two social media influencers. Followers and popularity has become their existence. The next connection and follower becomes an absession. However, through listening to Z repeat time and again “lonliness” the reality of the influenecer world is far from fulfilling.

We are given an verbatim dialogue from various vloggers, influencers and other users from social media platforns. Some names have been changed to allow them anaonymity.

Accused of fraudently exploiting personal data Mark Zuckerberg stood trial in 2018. Forristal and Clarke give an honest and accurate discussion using footage from the trial. The entertaining delivery of this extremly informative piece of recent history. The way in which he has treated employees was an uncomfortable eye-opener.

Although there are many negative sides to social media, the perspective from an older generation highlighted the positives where a couple of people over one hundred used the social media platforms to stay connected to the world and without it would have been lonely and isolsted.

The two interactive booths set either side of the stage for Z and Millie to use as their influencer platforms were brilliant. The flashing emojis and instant “likes” appearing as they interacted with their online audiences gave an insight into the faceless world that this medium

Director/pproducer Adam Lenson has bought to life A modern musical which carries a stark “health warning” to those in society who believe that they are free using the platform of social media to fulfill their lives. It is time to wake up and listen to the birds.

For more information or to buy tickets please use the link below. The musical runs from 27th-30th May 2021.

Five stars.

PUBLIC DOMAIN – Nimax Theatres

I and the Village by Darren Donohue.

The Bread and Roses seating plan to accommodate the new COVID-19 restrictions has been worked out well. Social distancing has been considered. Although due to the narrow corridors Theatre goers need to use some common sense as well to allow everyone to use the hallway safely.

Playwright Darren Donohue’s play “I and the Village” centres around three asylum seekers based in Ireland. Jeta (Chida Kunene) Keicha (Funke Adeleke) and Hannah (Laide Sonola). Each of these actors had an enormous presence when each delivered their part describing the abuse they had experienced before arriving at the centre. Adeleke’s delivered a couple of very raw emotional scenes which were extremely moving. However, I feel it is unfair to single out one actor as each of the three roles only worked as the entire ensemble.

The safety of the three young ladies is challenged throughout the production as each of them describes the atrocities they have suffered before their arrival to the detainment centre. However, when Jeta and Carl have a frank and open conversation we learn that the young ladies are not necessarily safe in there either. Predatory men are to be found close by who are preying on the vulnerability of the young girls detained situation and exploit them.

The strong Irish accent held by Carl (Mark Rush), the detainment centre manager allows the audience to know where the centre is firmly based throughout the performance. There are a couple of scenes when the girls talk about “home” that I could visualise them back in Nigeria.

The storyline can be slightly disjointed in places and not always easy to follow. However, with the trauma that these three young women have been subjected to, left me feeling that this could reflect their undiagnosed PTSD symptoms, where memories of trauma can return in an erratic order.

I think, I and the Village would have been an extremely challenging play, for Co-directors Velenzia Spearpoint and Rebecca Pryle, along with assistant director Tom Ward. Alongside, the incredible cast, they have created a thought provoking and emotional insight, into a hidden world.

I and the Village is on until June 5th 2021. Please check out the link below for further information.

Four Stars

What’s On – The Bread & Roses Theatre (breadandrosestheatre.co.uk)

Here come the Boys.

After the sell-out tour in 2019 Here Come the Boys return to the stage at the Palladium from 25th May-9th June 2021. After this evenings performance, I can completely understand why it sold out. All of the main five male dancers have links with the Strictly Come Dancing series on BBC1, from the audience participation a couple of the men had their fan clubs in the auditorium. 

Our evening began with introductions from the UK champion beatboxer Rupert Oldridge. This was the first time I have seen a beatboxer live and I was not certainly not disappointed. I could have listened to him all night. His passion and mixture of sounds added yet another layer of talent to the fantastic evening’s performance.

Playing the “wheel of doom” each dancer takes part in a dance-off round, judged by the audiences round of applause at the end of each dance. The fairness of the judging is somewhat questionable although not particularly relevant as it appears would be there as a structure more than the competition.

Aljaž Škorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, Graziano di Prima, Robin Windsor, along with Strictly finalist Karim Zeroual were joined by 2014-2015 world and european champion ballroom and latin dancer Nadiya Bychkova entertained the audience from the moment they danced onto the stage.

Zeroual led much of the evening’s performance and took a back seat in the dance-off competition. Although he is an extremely accomplished street dancer, which was apparent in the remarkable routines he performed with members of the dance crew. With an incredibly warm, cheeky persona, he was the perfect choice for this responsibility.

Kovalev and his dance partner Grace Cinque-White were remarkable in my opinion. In a couple of dance routines, I found I was mesmerised by the couple. You could see by their movements how in tune they were with one another. I am not a dance expert by any means though. Their incredible fancy footwork and exquisite dance routines were first class.

Costume designer Francis Campbell brought back glitz and glamour to the stage with a loud bang. The black velvet sequinned suits worn by the male cast members in one routine enriched the scene and added that awe to the stage as the costumes captured the lights and glittered brightening up the stage. With over a year of absence from live Theatre productions, it was such a joy to see all the magic and bling come alive filling the stage once again.

Director and choreographer Gareth Walker create many “wow” moments as the show develops. With the incredible dance routines ranging from the couple’s routine to the entire cast and ensemble performing together. a couple of routines when the entire cast is on stage there are two or three separate dance routines taking place. Walkers eye for such detail is amazing.

From the level of energy in the dancer’s performances, it was clear that they were only too glad to be back on stage doing what they love. What a remarkable night out. Huge congratulations to everyone involved in this fantastic production.

For more information please use the link below.

https://herecometheboysshow.com

Photos by Fiona Whyte for The TCB Group

AAAAA [FIVE A]

It was an absolute pleasure returning to a live performance in the off West End Theatre The lion and Unicorn yesterday evening. The entire experience has changed with the new COVID-19 secure restrictions in place and with the greatly reduced audience capacity it felt peculiar. Artistic Director David Brady and his team have done a brilliant job making the venue feel safe and covid secure. I would rather get used to this new “normal” than continuing to go without live Theatre.

As a reviewer, we are often challenged about what we can tell our readers when we have been explicitly asked not to reveal spoilers. Proforca wants their Theatre comeback to take a “more experimental approach”. No two nights are going to be the same.

Writers David Brady, Jack Albert Cook, Gabrielle Nellis Pain and Kim Scopes weave a sharp and intriguing journey into how the world might look to someone who finds themselves grasping onto the fragile thread between life and death.

Daniel Rainford delivers a powerful monologue during his performance as “X”. The young man left scared and alone attempting to piece together the reality of his current situation. How did he end up in this state?

Photo credit to Hand.

One intriguing device that I particularly liked was the symbolism in which the highs and lows of our lives are represented by the fragility of paper planes. X describes the ability to be flying high one moment and crash to the ground without warning the next. Leaving X in a state of confusion and anger as he launches his roughly made paper planes across the stage.

Co directos Jess Barton and David Brady have certainly stepped up to the new challenges in place for theatre with covid restrictions firmly in place. The writing on the poster above is only a taster of what they have created on set.

Proforca have a habit of challenging our perception of relationships, life and raw emotions. With past successful productions such as Feel and Feel More behind them it is no surprise that AAAAA continues along the theme of exploring another component into “what makes” us human.

Four stars

https://www.thelionandunicorntheatre.com/

Obscenities by Will Nash and

Theatrical Niche presents Obscenities by Venetia Twigg and writer director/producer Will Nash.

Break Bitches follows a trio of work colleagues celebrating the announcement by Henri that the syndicate have won 72k on the lottery. Liz and Cora are in for an unpleasant surprise though.

Things soon turn sour as past agreements are bought up as it’s duscussed about how they will or won’t split the winnings the conversations quickly turn bitter. What would you do in their position? We watch as greed brings out the darker side of human nature.

Dodo. Boredom in lockdown has struck hard. Kate explains to Jon about the alleged confirmed five sightings of mermaids off the coast in Cornwall. Jon’s patience is wearing thin as he reminds Kate about the “Unicorn fossils” in Latvia a few months before along with other “bollox arsed theories” that she has been telling him about.

With cabin fever firmly gripped onto Kate, will a phone call from her sister offer her a taste of sanity? What is lurking in the garden bush? Could it just be the neighbour’s cat “Cindy Clawford” again. Tune into Obscenities to find out the answers to these questions and possibly a few more.

Tensions run high in Symphony between Rosie, Jan and Sable as “harmless” drinks with friends/colleagues. Turns into a battle of egos as they wait to find out which one of them has been chosen.

Who has Alexis chosen for the Orchestra? The answer is never completely confirmed. However, just how far will the three go to seek their revenge should they not have be the chosen one.

Combined the three productions last just under half an hour. Writers Twigg and Nash have bought out the darker depths of the human psyche in Obscenities and Symphony where greed, envy and double-crossing take centre stage. Whereas Dodo focuses on the conspiracy theorist outlook on life and offers a gentler storyline between the two emotionally charged productions.

Twigg and Nash are certainly a talented writing duo. I would be willing to suggest that they have probably encountered women similar to these female characters who will go to any lengths to get what they feel they are “entitled to” and at anyone’s expense.

From me to us?

From me to us? By Wayne Steven Jackson is part of the Battersea Arts Centre’s season Wild Times which is available to stream between the 10th-16th of May 2021.

As the world around us is evolving and laws change to adapt to our new ways of life. These laws incorporate lifestyles, all family dynamics and scientific developments. It’s only when we stop to take a look back that we can see how these past changes have made a huge impact on our future lives. Jackson weaves his story between the past and present to explore how these changes unbeknown to him changed his life in significantly.

On January 3rd 2019 section 54b of the surrogacy act changed, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial) Order 2018 came into force and introduced s.54A into the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, which permitted applications for a parental order to be made by a single applicant. This law provides the axis in which the entire story revolves around.

Jackson’s performance tells the story of “Adam” who uses the law to adopt his two children from a surrogate birth. Previously this could never have taken place. In simple terms if the law had remained unchanged it would have allowed the surrogate Mother to always be the child’s legal guardian.

Introduced as an “incomplete story of fragments, past and present” alerts the audience to be prepared to listen closely to what you are about to hear. However, by the time Jackson, reaches the end I felt that section of the journey to be completed and life could continue to move forward.

From Me to Us is an extremely thought-provoking beautifully presented performance by Jackson. Which has been formulated with warmth and deep heartfelt compassion.

If you would like to catch this digital performance please check out the tour details below. I would certainly recommend taking an hour out of your time to watch Jackson’s performance and become educated in a section of surrogacy law, that I knew nothing about.

Four Stars

CREDITS Written and performed by Wayne Steven Jackson

Music composed by Chris Benstead Videography by Ben Horrigan for Studio 91

Media Supported by Arts Council England.

SOCIAL MEDIA#FromMeToUs #WildTimes2021

#PWYCTwitter: @waynesjackson @battersea_arts BAC

Instagram: @batterseaartscentre BAC

Facebook: /batterseaartscentre LISTINGS Title: From Me To Us Artist: Wayne Steven Jackson Venue: Battersea Arts Centre, digital performance

Available to stream any time between 10-16 May 2021. Price: Pay What You Can (Suggested Price £6) bac.org.uk/whats-on/from-me-to-us

Season booking bac.org.uk/wild-timesBox Office: 020 7223 2223 Age guidance: N/A                        Running time: 1hour.

From Me to Us goes on digital tour in June 2021. Norwich Arts Centre 17-23 May 2021. norwichartscentre.co.uk

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield 31 May – 6 June 2021 http://www.thelbt.org/

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/