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Saturday, 21 November 2020

REVIEW: Falling Stars (Online) at the Union Theatre

Falling Stars opens with Peter Polycarpou musing down the camera about an antique shop he wandered into a couple years back. I could tell immediately we were going to be friends. He haggles for the songbook that will eventually score the show, and glimmers of the wit, talent and passion that will define Falling Stars begin to show themselves when the shop owner makes him sing for the best price. As his partner in crime, Sally Ann Triplett, makes her unmissable entrance, these glimmers burst forth into a dazzling song cycle of bygone melodies, that traverse the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Irving Berlin and Meredith Wilson. 

Cosy, is what I felt watching this show. There is something comforting about simply watching talented people be talented, especially when they are equally grateful for being watched. The enthusiasm and expertise the pair have for the music they sing through is infectious, and, you are warmly invited to revel in that excitement with them. Although boasting hugely impressive careers, there is no pretension from Polycarpou or Triplett, which leaves space for a connection that I was amazed to feel through my tv screen. I can only imagine the atmosphere there would be if I had a drink in my hand, under the warmth of the Union Theatre stage lights, with the pair talking to me in person. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

REVIEW: Oslo at the Harold Pinter Theatre

Lord Reith set the mission of the BBC to Inform, Educate and Entertain and it is rare when a West End play sets out to deliver these lofty ambitions in a commercial drama but JT Rogers has a written a brilliant play that delivers this with an outstanding cast and a slick good looking production. It is a docudrama with a strong feel of verbatim theatre that sets out to Inform us of the role Norway played in the delicate negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in a hectic 12 months in 1992/93. It Educates us on the technique of gradualism in negotiating between extreme opposing factions to reach what seems an impossible goal, challenges us all to consider how we can support the “possibilities on the horizon” and promotes the work of The International Peace Institute. Most of all it Entertains for over two and half hours as the delicate and fraught discussions unfold. Director Bartlett Sher cleverly manages this balance to create an enthralling evening.

We are guided through the process by Terje Rod-Larsen, the first director of the Fafo Institute which played a central role in the negotiations and his wife Mona Juul , a career minded official in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. This couple played by Toby Stephens and Lydia Leonard with grit, optimism and humour provide the exposition of the process directly to the audience and carefully through white lies, misdirection and determination bring the two sides together. As they say “what is a lie but a dream that might come true”. We see little of their personal relationship as the play focuses on their professional engagement in the negotiations.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

FIRST LOOK: City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse

Samantha Barks, Rosalie Craig and Hadley Fraser are Katherine Kelly, Tam Mutu, Peter Polycarpou and Rebecca Trehearn star in The Donmar Warehouse's production of City of Angels. 

They are joined by Nick Cavaliere, Cameron Cuffe, Marc Elliott, Adam Fogerty, Kadiff Kirwan, Sandra Marvin, Mark Penfold, Jennifer Saayeng, Jo Servi and Tim Walton.

Two decades after its London premiere, Artistic Director Josie Rourke revives one of the acknowledged greats of twentieth century musical theatre.

Hollywood comes calling for a New York novelist. The offer is too good to refuse: adapt the private detective protagonist of his books into a big-screen hero. The siren song of Los Angeles is a dangerous temptation and while his movie plays out in black and white, his new life is all-too colourful.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

FIRST LOOK: The Pajama Game at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Richard Eyre’s sensational production of the Broadway classic The Pajama Game has transferred to the West End, it will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 13th May 2014 (previews from 1st May) for a limited season until 13th September 2014 following a critically acclaimed, sold out run at Chichester Festival Theatre, starring Olivier Award-winning Joanna Riding and Michael Xavier, and featuring Peter Polycarpou until 31 May and Gary Wilmot from 2 June.

The cast also features: Alexis Owen Hobbs (Gladys), Claire Machin (Mabel), Colin Stinton (Hasler/Pop), Eugene McCoy (Prez), SiĆ“n Lloyd (Max), Jennie Dale (Mae), Sharon Wattis (Poopsie), Keisha Amponsa Banson (Brenda), Lauren Varnham (Charlene), Helen Ternent (Martha), Jo Morris (Rita), Nolan Frederick (Charley), Richard Jones (Frank), Dan Burton (Earl) and James O’Connell (Joe)
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