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Friday, 16 July 2021

REVIEW: Dorian: A New Rock Musical on Stream.Theatre

When you advertise a new work as a “glam rock musical, re-energising Oscar Wilde’s classic text for a modern audience” you naturally invite comparison with what has gone before. As a result, as you watch this 100-minute production you reflect on David Bowie’s Lazarus or the Barn Theatre’s modern adaptation of A Picture of Dorian Grey both streamed during the last year to great success or to the classic Rock Musicals such as The Who’s Tommy, Jim Steinman’s Bat out of Hell or of course Queen’s We Will Rock You with the soaring scores. Inevitably this new work captured in London in June 2021 falls short.

The Barn’s adaptation was an extraordinary disturbing modern retelling of the story of obsessive desire for beauty and sensual fulfilment with a wonderful cinematic capture and an evocative quietly threatening underscore that elevated the piece into a gripping modern gothic horror story. Everything is seen through the ubiquitous cameras of modern life to create a compelling disturbing warning about the impact of social media on the mental health of those obsessed by it. In Dorian, we have the original story and character names but reset as an aspiring rock star with his mentor/producer Lord Henry (played by John Addison) and his tragic interactions with Sibyl Vane, Basil Hallward and Charlie Rose (played by Robert Grose) on his way up to stardom in the first act and then his drug-fuelled decline at the height of his fame in the second and rejection of his “devil’s disciple” Adrian (played by Tristan Pegg, looking like an ex-member of The Clash).

Sunday, 25 April 2021

REVIEW: In Pieces online at Stream.Theatre

At one point or another during the current pandemic, I am confident that each and every one of us have felt somewhat lost, or perhaps even left “In Pieces”, which just so happens to be the title of Future Spotlight Productions newly produced musical film, in collaboration with original writer Joey Contreras. 

Originally debuted at the Lincoln Center in New York City, “In Pieces” is now having its worldwide debut being released as a film in support of LGBT Foundation. “In Pieces” follows a series of diverse characters, delving into their personal relationships and stories, exploring how clarity and empowerment manifest themselves within them. 

Available from Friday 23rd April 2021 for a limited time, “In Pieces” provides us with the unique opportunity to enjoy a brand-new slice of musical theatre from the comfort and safety of our living room, all while supporting a fantastic cause and new material. 

REVIEW: Soft Sessions Live in Concert at Stream.Theatre

Riding fresh from their success of song snippets on YouTube, Soft Sessions brings together 6 beautiful performers for a streamed concert.

Soft Sessions is just the perfect title for this show. 45 minutes of soul- warming vocal bliss streamed direct to your home. With song choices spanning genres and eras, there is something for everyone. But, not only that, but the songs take on a new life as they are remastered by Alex Beetschen and the stellar cast.

Aesthetically, this show combines succulent greenery with rooms that ooze rustic-chic. Soft leather and velvety voices combine perfectly in a concert performance that feels welcoming and comfortable in all the right ways. Callum Heinrich has worked some magic with the camera and editing, transitioning easily between songs and interviews, employing some wonderful trickery in the process.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

REVIEW: Cruise at Stream.Theatre (Online)

It’s 1988. It’s 2021. It’s the true story of how Michael Spencer experienced the Soho scene in the 80s.

Written and performed by Jack Holden, we are invited into a frenzied world of vibrant characters, shadowy nightlife, and sex and love. We meet Jack at 22 years old, answering the phones for the LGBTQIA+ helpline, Switchboard. From there we are dragged, kicking and screaming, through a soul-thumping story of love and loss, of joy and pain, of time and age.

Holden has penned this production with passion and precision, using his own experiences and the stories of a generation before to create a world that exists in the 80s and the present; performed in the warren of basement spaces under Shoreditch Town Hall. Holden’s use of body and voice (both speaking and his stunning tenor singing) to breathe life into a multitude of eccentric but utterly honest characters, is matched only by his exquisite command of text and language. The dialogue trips effortlessly from narrative to poetry in a way that I have never seen before.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

REVIEW: Scaramouche Jones or The Seven White Masks, Online at Stream.Theatre

On the evening of December 31, 1999, we are invited into a dressing room of the ageing clown Scaramouche Jones. Born on this very day in 1899 at midnight, on the brink of his 100th birthday, he recounts his life story full of tall tales that stretch across the globe. From the time he was born to his gypsy prostitute mother in Trinidad, to his time on the high seas and enslavement, dalliance with Italian royalty and sobering experience in the concentration camps of Europe, his story is one stained by the turbulent 20th century. Being a peculiarly white-faced boy, he is also condemned to the life of a misfit from the start in a time where stability rarely exists. It takes 50 years to make the clown and 50 years to play the clown.

Available to stream on Stream.Theatre until April 1, this latest digital production of the one-man show written by Justin Butcher and directed by Ian Talbot is an immersive and spellbinding storytelling experience. Following in the footsteps of the late great Pete Postlethwaite who made the role famous, Shane Richie (EastEnders; The Entertainer; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here), stars as the titular character and takes complete ownership of it with all the innocence, pathos and tragedy required. Butcher’s lyrical prose dances effortlessly through Richie while the simplicity and restraint of Talbot’s direction and the production design by Andrew Exeter create an intimate portal into a century uncertain in every way.
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