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Tuesday, 11 June 2019

REVIEW: The Upsetters, a collection of Short Plays, at the Bunker Theatre

The Upsetters is a short play night written, directed and performed by people of colour (unless otherwise specified in the script). The evening collectively provides an opportunity for unrepresented backgrounds to tell their stories through performance. Every story was told from a different background and communicated tales about cultural differences, discrimination and how to be seen and heard by the community. All five short plays were wonderful, so I will do a short review for each play.

Where do Mangoes Grow

Chantelle Dusette’s piece shows the relationship between a woman’s parents from the Windrush Generation. Clips of Theresa May speaking about the new immigration laws are played to demonstrate how the immigration laws introduced mean these people would be denied NHS treatment, the ability to continue working, or even stay in the UK by not having the correct documentation. Anthony Chisholm was brilliant as the father and Shante Campbell’s direction intertwines the family bond well, introducing the effects it has on both generations. However, the vocal projection could have been improved as it was difficult to hear what was happening. More context was needed near the end of the play as it was unclear what was happening, there was a heavy reliance on the recordings to tell the story. More detail was required to see the political impact of this on their family, I was unsure whether her father’s death was a metaphor or if the stress of the new laws had killed him.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

REVIEW: Chutney at the Bunker Theatre

The Bunker Theatre is quite the charming Fringe theatre tucked away near London Bridge, putting on varied and exciting new plays, and Chutney by Reece Connolly is no exception.

The story revolves around Claire and Gregg, a well-to-do power couple (epitomizing your stereotypical Daily Mail reader) who grow an insatiable bloodlust towards animals that shakes the core of their world.

Before even stepping into the theatre, Set and Costume Designer Jasmine Swan cleverly has multiple missing pets posters set up around the foyer, already creating an interest in the play before it even begins. Certainly made me excited for what I was about to see, and the minimalist set with catchy noughties pop hits playing on the radio set a very millennial tone to the play.

Reece Connolly’s writing is witty, wacky and woefully Waitrose, with a reminiscence to Phil Porter’s Blink. Although the beginning was a bit clunky as we get used to the narrative style of the play, once the disturbing but fascinating plot took shape it was thoroughly compelling. Connolly’s writing is slick and keeps the jokes firing out throughout the play, barely giving you time to breathe before another painfully Middle-Class comment is made – ‘We’re not working class, we have a pasta maker’. However some of Gregg’s singing wasn’t needed and didn’t add anything to the play and felt a little eggy.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

REVIEW: 31 hours at the Bunker Theatre

31 Hours by Kieran Knowles is the type of explosive play that makes you watch your every step on the way home from the theatre, afraid something may fall on you, or you may bump into someone. It presents what theatre offers at its best: a mirror to society, making the audience dread and embrace every word that is coming. 

“Every 31 hours someone takes their own life by jumping in front of a train. They are ten times more likely to be male.” 

31 Hours is the story of four men who clean up after rail suicides. Four actors (Abdul Salis, James Wallwork, Salvatore D’Aquilla and Jack Sunderland) enter in their Network Rail orange work gear, and don’t leave the stage for about ninety minutes. They switch roles, going from the employees to the employers, family members to suicidal characters. Not only do these four workers have to face the aftermath of suicide and “incidents” every week, but the hard work they put in leaves them isolated, not willing to talk. This in turn brings its own questions about why they are doing this job at all and even what they are living for. 
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