Wednesday, 16 August 2017

REVIEW: Unfolding Tales at the Stockwell Playhouse

When someone says ‘A musical about the life of J.R.R Tolkien’ you think to yourself ‘Why?’ Yet after reading about his life you’d understand this subject matter is perfect for a musical. Tolkien’s life is littered with drama from the passing of his mother at an early age through to The Battle of the Somme where he contracted trench fever and then to his coup de grace when he published the Lord of the Rings trilogy; and turning this into a musical is the job of young composter Joseph Purdue and book writer Claire Gibson, and what a task it is. 

As the performance starts we’re introduced to the fact this is a semi-staged version and only features the songs. It’s directed by Adam Haigh and he has done an exquisite job of staging at the Stockwell Playhouse. The use of a minimalist set and a constant ensemble presence on stage is very effective. 

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Tamar Broadbent, Get Ugly at the Underbelly Clover

“When you break up with someone, you become 25% less attractive” – the starter for the comedy talent that is Tamar Broadbent and her new show “Get Ugly”. Armed with jokes on the mic and witty songs accompanied by her keyboard, Broadbent takes the audience through her journey of becoming newly single and finding the strength in herself to finally move the fridge. 

Although her stand up was good, she really came into her own when she got behind the keyboard. Her songs were catchy, refreshing and really did make you laugh. It was easy to forget (whilst you were laughing at the “Shoreditch Wanker” she’d dragged up on stage) but Tamar Broadbent has a beautiful voice. I almost wished there were even more songs, as they were the highlight of the performance. With constant nods to current pop stars, she became the Edinburgh Fringe’s very own Taylor Swift. Break up songs don’t need to be angry or sad, Tamar Broadbent has delivered a new style, and it’s funny, really funny. 

REVIEW: Olympilads at Theatre N16

Love, financial struggle and mental illness clash in a family drama born by the prolific collaboration between playwright Andrew Maddock and director Niall Phillips. The pair, who received critical acclaim for their previous productions IN/OUT (A Feeling) and HE(ART), confirm with Olympilads a distinctive empathic approach towards real life dilemmas and the impossibility to find an ideal, or even reasonable, solution for them.

It's the summer 2012 in London. The Olympic Games are on TV all day and for the Londoners, the whole life seem to revolve around this sporting event. Darren (Nebiu Samuel) is training hard to beat Usain Bolt in the Men's 100m Finals. Someone said it can't be done but his father used to believe in him and the young boy knows he must run as fast as he can to win. His sister Abigail (Michelle Barwood) has a grudge against him and sees Darren's detachment from reality as a mere act of selfishness. Their brother Simeon (Rhys Yates) has given up on his private life and works hard to support Darren's dreams and reconcile his estranged siblings. Darren is oblivious to Simeon's efforts, Abigail lacks compassion for Darren and Simeon is tired of keeping it all together.

New UK tour announced for Luke Norris' GROWTH

Luke Norris’ award winning production of Growth will embark upon a second UK tour this Autumn. The production originally debuted at Paines Plough’s ROUNDABOUT @ SUMMERHALL at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2016 and won a prestigious Fringe First award before touring the UK. 

Dominic Jones will play Tobes with Dafydd Llyr Thomas playing roles including Jared, Joff, Julian, Justin, Jack, Jermaine, Jamie and Joel and Safiyya Ingar will play roles including Beth, Ellie, Lily, Lise, Bess, Billie, Liza and Izzy. Growth will tour to over twenty-five venues across the UK.

It’s a lump in a bag of lumps. It’s fine.”

Tobes is young, free and having a ball. Off.

He’s successfully ignored his lump for two years but it’s starting to get in the way - cramping his style and, worse, affecting his sex life. So now there are pants to be dropped, and decisions to be made… It’s a real ball ache.

Monday, 14 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Atlantic - A Scottish Story at the Assembly Hall

A girl looks across the ocean and longs to discover. But if she is left behind, she must still find a way to live. Is it a curse to stay? What if we couldn't travel, could never leave home and see the world? Can we still be happy?

A superb cast bring to life this breath-taking piece of new writing. The cast is 16 strong and lead by the fearless Caroline Lyell as Evie. We see Evie grow from a boisterous child to a strong courageous woman with a secret. I was absolutely mesmerised by her performance, when she was happy the audience smiled with her and in the more solemn moments the audience were moved to tears. Caroline held us in the palm of her hand from start to finish. 

Reed Lancaster is charming and charismatic as Quinn. He breathes life into the character and is equally believable as both a young excited child and a captivating adventurer. His vocals seem effortless and his story telling truly excellent.