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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

REVIEW: Brooklyn at the Greenwich Theatre

Brooklyn follows the story of a group of street performers who come together to play out stories to try and earn an honest wage. In Brooklyn, this play within a play, tells the story of a young orphan singer who uses her talents to hunt down her father. 

This story is really poignant is many ways right now; politically it focuses on the greed for money and power whilst being told by people who are begging for money on the street, which is pretty ironic. And for those of us in the performing arts industry, its an interesting reflection on how we use our talents and what our worth is as performers. It also highlights our need to tell stories, with funding cuts and performing subjects being undermined its an important message about how we as humans need stories like this for so many varied reasons. 

This musical has discovered two stars; Andrew Patrick-Walker (Street Singer) and Emily-Mae (Paradice) both stand out in this show as incredible talents. Patrick-Walker has an insane voice, amongst a cast of incredible talents his voice is especially unique and he has a natural charisma on stage, which works for the part of the Street Singer who acts as the narrator of the story. Emily-Mae has the most powerful voice and in the role of Paradice, demands everyone's attention and brings a bunch of attitude but also has some really tender moments. A brilliant actress and an outstanding vocalist.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

REVIEW: Napoli, Brooklyn at the Park Theatre

Theatre can be powerful and emotionally engaging when you have a great script, brilliant cast and a strong production and a story routed in reality but with a strong message for todays’ society. Napoli, Brooklyn at the Park 200 Theatre is such a production – faultless moving storytelling and a message for all of us to “learn to take people how they are”. Written by a woman, directed by a woman and with a mainly female cast it does not really need the mother to tell us “women are the strongest ones”.

Meghan Kennedy’s story is set in an Italian immigrant community in New York in 1960 and the simple but effective set by Frankie Bradshaw creates the sense of location from the start with the Italian meat hanging above the cooker, four catholic Virgin Marys dotted around the stage and a Bush radio on the table. We hear the kids playing outside as the planes fly overhead. It seamlessly and quickly doubles for other locations in the community, the butchers, the factory, and the convent with precise tight lighting by Johanna Town.

Into this space we find the Italian Mamma, Luda (a wonderful performance from Madeleine Worrall), no longer able to cry even with an onion held against her eye, her emotions suppressed by the powerful towering figure of her bullying husband Nic (a strong gritty performance from Robert Cavanah) and the responsibility for bringing up her three daughters. You feel her love and fear in equal measure.
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