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Monday, 21 September 2020

REVIEW: Squad Goals at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Ground

Any chance right now for escapism is welcomed and especially if it’s returning to live theatre. Amazing then that Squad Goals should absolutely smash a premier league-level triumph by taking over a stadium no-less for arguably one of the UK’s most exciting live theatre events of 2020. 

Squad Goals revolves around a group of young women who are about to embark on the expected routes their parents anticipated for them. At the eleventh hour before these ‘realistic careers’ are almost reality, the women have the chance to play one crucial last game at a community tournament that is guaranteed to be visited by a scout for Dagenham and Redbridge FC. 

Arriving at the venue, it’s impossible to not be instantly absorbed into the immersive buzz of the football club with its bustling club house bar, stewards checking us in and cast in football kit wandering through the space adding to the sense of pre-match anticipation. 
The players themselves are such a three-dimensional ensemble of characters from the social-media Instagram influencer to the goal-driven ambitious football devotees. Where the production really shines is in these finely-tuned and recognisable ‘types’. It’s very easy to spot someone you recognise and impossible not to sense a fear of missing out when the players split off on their various paths with the fragmenting audience each enjoying backstory that fleshes out our understanding of some of the individuals and their motivations. 

REVIEW: Woyzeck at Theatro Technis

There comes a time in every theatre-makers life where they decide to take on some existential German tragi-comedy. This takes artistic bravery on a good day, but during a global pandemic? Well, you’ve got to be bridging the gap between crazy and genius.
The show follows the descent into madness of the titular character, Woyzeck, who is based on a true to life murderer in 1800s Germany. It’s full of all of the class-wars, metaphors and military whores you’d want from a healthy dose of 19th Century expressionism, but if you don’t know what you’re in for, it’s just a bit weird. The Acting Gymnasium have decided to follow the script quite closely so it only feels apt to describe this production in the same way; a bit weird. 

Gavin McAlinden’s cast did incredibly well in drawing out the subtleties of the story, as you couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Woyzeck; a victim of fate and circumstance, portrayed by a wonderfully sensitive Andreas Krügserson in the lead. His fragility was framed perfectly by his larger (and louder) than life Captain (Clayton Black) who, in the outstanding performance of the night, managed to capture all of the absurdities of the script in one character. Unfortunately, this commitment to the absurd began and ended with Black. When the show opened in a dimly lit cabaret bar with a jazz singer in full flapper get-up offering me some ‘eine kleine nachtmusik’ with a wink, I was ready for the darkly humoured, intriguing and voyeuristic Woyzeck I know and love. This atmosphere died very suddenly, however, and no-one managed to bring it back. The jazz interludes, although beautifully sung, seemed out of place, the transitions between scenes were clunky and the ensemble failed to bring the show to life. It became a collection of scenes as opposed to a unified play, a victim of the Zoom society we live in now.

Friday, 18 September 2020

REVIEW: Pippin at the Garden Theatre

The Garden Theatre was one of the first venues to stage a live theatrical production with Fanny and Stella, with more shows popping up and more announcements being made every day they haven’t stopped and they continue their season with a newly staged version of Stephen Schwartz Pippin. 

I last saw this show at the Southwark Playhouse in the transfer production from the Hope Mill Theatre, being a huge fan of this particular version I was excited to see another interpretation of this interesting piece. 

As I said before in my review of Fanny and Stella, the venue and the staff are doing everything they possibly can to make this a safe and comfortable experience for all of their patrons. All staff have protective masks on and the bar is covered with screens, they’ve sure stepped up their game since my last visit! The bar itself has a really great atmosphere, made even better by people eager and excited to see some live theatre. The staff are all so polite and accommodating and the venue should really be proud of their front of house team. 

When you enter the theatre you are instantly transported to the world of the show, the smell of incense and the sound of 60’s music mixed with news broadcasts immediately sets the scene. Putting the show in the context of the ’60s was an interesting and brave choice, I’m not sure it was completely justified within the production but it certainly made sense most of the time. I may have felt like some choices in this production may not have completely worked but they sure committed to every single one of them and for that I commend them. 

Thursday, 17 September 2020

The Lost Alhambra cocktail bar in Leicester Square launches THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Stop the press and get your jazz hands ready! The theatres might still be closed but, The Lost Alhambra cocktail bar in Leicester Square is delivering twice the drama to the cities experience seekers, celebrating couples, friends and theatre fans with a series of intimate, immersive, starring food, drink and show tunes from some of the stars from London theatre’s best-loved musicals.

The Show Must Go On experiences will feature West End stars and take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting on October 8th beginning with Chicago: The Musical stars Laura Tyrer as Velma (Chicago, 9 to 5), Hayley Flaherty as Roxie (Matilda, Rocky Horror) and Oliver Tompsett as Billy Flynn (& Juliet, Kinky Boots). Later weekends in the run will include songs and stars from Hairspray; Mamma Mia; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a Halloween Villains’ Night special, offering scarily good performances over the last weekend in October. 

Every week the event will be hosted by one of Londons Hottest Drag Acts, Poppy Cock. 

Each action-packed evening will be hosted by London’s sassiest drag queens making them a night to remember (or forget!) and for every ticket sold, £1.50 will go to the Acting For Others group of charities which help theatre workers with financial and emotional support throughout the pandemic. 

The Garden Theatre launches the EAGLE LATE season with the International hit musical revue, ‘Naked Boys Singing!’

The title says it all in the international smash hit musical comedy ‘Naked Boys Singing!’This hilarious musical revue features 15 original songs, a bevy of gorgeous and talented men, and no clothes – a winning combination if ever there was one! 

From the sassy opening number “Gratuitous Nudity” to the screamingly funny “Bliss of a Bris,” audiences and critics the world over have hailed ‘Naked Boys Singing!’ a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

Originating at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles, this campy musical comedy opened Off- Broadway in 1999 and ran for over 20 years - and until lockdown it was still running.

This new production, directed and choreographed by Carole Todd, was due to open at the King’s Head Theatre in March but its press night was cancelled when all theatres shutdown.

‘Naked Boys Singing!’ will now launch the EAGLE LATE season at the Garden Theatre, Eagle London, 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, London SE11 5QY from Friday 25 September to Sunday 11 October 
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