Big This Week

Recent Posts

Thursday, 4 May 2023

REVIEW: F**cking Men at Waterloo East Theatre

Written in 1897 and not publicly performed until 1920, La Ronde by German playwright Arthur Schnitzler, is a tale as old as time about sex and connection. In its naissance, it caused controversy and wasn’t performed for over twenty years due to its premise revolving around ten characters in ten scenes just before or after having a sexual encounter. Each character represents all levels of society to comment on class, monogamy, intimacy and, well, the spread of syphilis. The whore sleeps with the soldier, the soldier with the Parlour Maid, the Parlour Maid with the Young Gentleman… and so on and so forth. F**cking Men is Joe Dipetro’s retelling of the classic. He has chosen to set it in modern-day America instead of late nineteenth-century Vienna and interprets each character as a different man navigating their sexuality within the gay community and hook-up culture. Examples of the contemporary treatment of the characters have a young man turning tricks in secluded public places to replace the whore, a tutor as the Parlour Maid and a high-profile reporter as the Count. It translates nearly too easily.

Finding a comfortable home at the intimate Waterloo East Theatre until June 18, F**cking Men returns to London since its debut here 15 years ago. It has been reworked to keep up with the changing times and in both its long and short lifespan manages to comment on itself as well as the literature legacy it’s drawn from. The appointment of a young director, Steven Kunis, keeps this latest version from feeling outdated and hits the right note on many fronts. The human urge for love might remain consistent but the way we love is not. Apps and cancel culture dictate many of our moves or lack thereof. Likewise, the discord around HIV has changed enormously over the years within the gay community and is served modestly but well in the work.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

REVIEW: Afterglow at Waterloo East Theatre

After a successful run earlier this year at Southwark Playhouse, Afterglow has returned to London, this time with a new cast and new venue - Waterloo East theatre. It is worth noting that this play was running off Broadway and kept extending and extending due to popular demand and ended up grossing over $1m despite being in a 69 seat venue. A production that I also saw and loved. 

Afterglow is the story of a gay couple living in New York who have a somewhat open relationship. After they invite a third party in for a threesome and one of them begins to get feelings for him, things become very complicated. Whilst marketing as a show about gay sex, I completely disagree with this. I think it’s a show about relationships, love, trust, breaking trust, maturity, modern reality and ultimately, sacrifice. 

After seeing both the off Broadway production and the Southwark Playhouse production I think it has remained largely the same in terms of direction and design. 

Friday, 17 May 2019

REVIEW: Summer Street at the Waterloo East Theatre

A show about an axed musical Soap making a comeback, with a live broadcast, which is actually staged by the lead actress/Executive Producer in a bid to create a reality television show about the casts’ lives which have crumbled since the soap came to an end. Confused?

The concept of a musical parody of Neighbours and Home And Away has real potential, but Summer Street misses the mark at almost every level. This couldn’t be further from Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques masterpiece. The book is poor, the score needs work, and the lyrics are cringe-worthy. Don’t get me wrong; the characters are there, and each has their own bizarre storyline and exit (plane crashing into a hotel, deadly virus wiping out the whole town, trapped down a mine), but the text needs to be much more intelligent, rather than obvious and playing for cheap laughs. The famous comedy rule of three only works if a joke is a hit the first time; if it doesn’t the second and third times it is rolled out are painful.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

REVIEW: A Christmas Story at the Waterloo East Theatre

Pasek and Paul are best known for the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen and the smash hit film the Greatest Showman but the retelling of the 1983 film A Christmas Story is a show lesser known. With book by Joseph Robinson, the show focuses on Ralphie and his quest to getting the "best Christmas present" in the lead up to the big day, told by Radio DJ and narrator Jean Shepherd.

The show is nostalgic in feel and tries very hard to get that quint essential Christmas spirit. The music itself is quite catchy with a highlight being "When You're A Wimp" performed by the ensemble of children that alternate with another group throughout the run. The night I watched the part of Ralphie was played by Felix Hepburn, who gave a wonderful performance as the 9-year-old leading role. The narrator of the piece was played by Garry Freer, who made me feel as if I really was in 1980's Manhattan listening to a radio broadcast. The roles of 'Mother' and 'Old man', Ralphie's parents where played very much within the style of piece by Lucyelle Cliffe (Legally Blonde) and Simon Wilmont (Mamma Mia). Cliffe's solo song What A Mother Does in act one, was another highlight of the show, giving a different tone to the comedy and light heartedness that had been played from the start.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

REVIEW: A Nazi Comparison at the Waterloo East Theatre

As someone who's been studying communication techniques for many years, I was initially impressed by the simplicity with which Craft Theatre conveys its political message. Based on Hanns Johst's play Schlageter and comparing contemporary political leaders to Hitler, the company highlights how propaganda relies on the divulgation of distorted information to manipulate public opinion. To corroborate this idea, we're also shown a video clip about Corbyn and the responsibilities of the press in his recent unsuccess during the general election. Another topic that emerges at the beginning of the play, is the Grenfell Tower disaster and the cloud of misinformation around the reasons of the fire and the number of victims. 

Getting caught in a pro-truth rally whilst heading to university, main character Clare (Louise Goodfield) meets Craig (Craig Edgely), a self-defined 'white hero' and a civil rights activist. Smitten with him and inspired by his socio-political views, Clare gives an academic presentation, where she announces her retirement from a course in Public Relations to embrace the fight for social justice. Focusing on the dynamics of American propaganda since the end of World War II, Clare makes a list of the country's political manoeuvres which have been supported by worldwide communication campaigns, despite breeching diplomatic agreements and disregarding basic human rights. 
Blog Design by pipdig