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Thursday, 16 September 2021

REVIEW: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre

Throughout the years the comedic, in particular, slapstick genre has presented us with unforgettable moments from tv sketch shows. The likes of ‘Only Fools And Horses, ‘The Two Ronnies’ and Laurel and Hardy continue to live in our minds, the mere thought of it and we’re on the floor in hysterics. Fast forward to the 2010s and our newest entry into the archives, ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ is another fine example of irrepressible laughter. 

As we sit patiently for the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s whodunnit ‘Murder At Haversham Manor’ the pre-show entertainment on stage is comical and immediately sets the tone for what’s to come. A falling mantelpiece and doors that won’t open already have the audience in hysterics, even before the show has even begun

As for the show itself, there’s nothing other than a rapturous feeling from start to finish. A complete joy to witness, not a second passes in which you’re not doubled over laughing until your stomach aches. Mischief Theatre has continued to tour globally with success after success but this, where it all started continues to bring in new audiences daily. A testament to mischiefs creators Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields popularity and writing abilities.

Friday, 21 May 2021

REVIEW: Cruise at the Duchess Theatre

When walking into the auditorium of the duchess the air felt somewhat electric. Audience members buzzed and hummed with palpable excitement. Theatre is back! And what a return... 

It is somewhat misleading to label ‘Cruise’ a one-man play. Jack Holden plays countless, hilariously specific and nuanced characters throughout the ninety-minute rollercoaster which are so well rounded, you often forget there’s only one actor on stage. What I particularly enjoyed about the piece was that it was written from the perspective of Holden, at age twenty-two working for the LGBTQ+ hotline- switchboard. Early on he tells his co-worker- Kevin- that sometimes he feels like he was born in the wrong era. That he should’ve been born in the eighties. A pale-faced Kevin responds with ‘you don’t’. This perspective places us immediately in the now, veering away from a more conventional, period approach to the HIV/ AIDS crisis. 

After a heavy night out and cocaine comedown, Jack is alone in the office after his colleagues fail to show up. He picks up the phone to Michael, and thus our story begins. Michael guides Jack through his exploits in Soho. We meet larger than life characters who give us an insight into the vibrant and grotty underworld of the gay scene in Soho. A personal shoutout goes to Polari Gregory who reminds Michael to just take it ‘one step at a time’ when he is struggling to deal with the loss of a loved one. It’s a beautifully still moment within the show, which you feel like Holden really earns after throwing himself around the stage for the past hour. 

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.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Been on Broadway makes West End Debut

Following a sold out and acclaimed show at the Pheasantry in Chelsea earlier this year, Been on Broadway will make its West End debut for one night only at the Duchess Theatre on Sunday 13th October, featuring songs from Broadway musicals that haven’t yet made it to the West End.
A consummate cast of young British musical theatre talent will get its teeth around some of Broadway's best and hottest tunes from the modern musical era, including songs from current and cult shows such as Next to Normal, Newsies, The Addams Family, Bring It On, The Little Mermaid, Wonderland and The Boy from Oz to name only a few.
From the producers of the acclaimed Notes from New York series and Idina Menzel's award- winning UK tour, Been on Broadway showcases the best contemporary musical theatre writing from the other side of the pond, offering London audiences to chance to hear the latest songs from Broadway performed by young British musical theatre talent.
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