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Tuesday, 8 February 2022

REVIEW: An Evening Without Kate Bush at the Soho Theatre

As I descended the stairs of the bustling Soho Theatre I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I knew that I already liked Kate Bush- but I had no clue how a ‘tribute act’ style show could play such homage to our favourite Celtic Queen.   

Seasoned cabaret performer- Sarah-Louise Young- is the perfect blend of eccentric and compassionate. I get terrified whenever I smell a whiff of audience interaction, but Young does it with such care for the audience members and genuine desire to connect that you can’t help but put aside insecurities and let her take you on a rambunctious journey of self-discovery and mayhem.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

REVIEW: Pecs Drag Kings- ‘The Boys are back in Town’ at the Soho Theatre

‘The Boys are Back in Town’ is undeniably a celebration of queerness, feminism and inclusivity. Alongside the Soho party atmosphere and the use of recognisable gay anthems, it was refreshing to be indulged in an immersive performance after the negative impact we faced in theatre during (and after) lockdown.  

Pecs Drag Kings are a talented company of female and non-binary performers who explore sexuality, gender identities and politics. Since 2013 they have been creating highly entertaining drag shows through song, dance and comedy; creating sexy and risqué pieces of theatre.

The small yet brilliant company of casts and creatives involves Isabel Adomakoh Young, Rosie Potts, Jodie Mitchell, Lauren Steele, Helena Fallstrom, Katy Bulmer and Vic Aubrey; all under the careful production of Daisy Hale and Ellen Spence.

Though Drag Kings first got their titles as recently as 1972, the history of female-identifying performers dressing in masculine clothes reaches back as far as the 1700’s. Only now with Drag Queen artists becoming so popular, with a lot of exposure (Ru Pauls Drag Race, for example), Drag Kings are starting to gain a little more attention and representation.

Monday, 28 June 2021

REVIEW: Shedding a Skin at the Soho Theatre

Amanda Wilkins, 2020 winner of Soho Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award, is the writer and performer of Shedding a Skin. She plays Mayah, a young woman with an unpredictable life. She quits her job, breaks up with her boyfriend and moves into a small flat with an elderly Jamaican woman called Mildred (Mrs T to her face). Their intergenerational platonic friendship is what makes this play so heart-warming; with hilarious one-liners, emotional breakdowns and many surprises in the story- these 90 minutes truly fly by as you take a journey with Mayah as she experiences life with new perspectives. 

Shedding a Skin feels real, as Wilkins herself says, she vows the ‘tell the truth’ in her writing. I became so swept up in her characterisation, directed by Elayce Ismail, that by the bows I had completely forgotten she was the only person on stage throughout the show and was expecting a full cast to walk out and admire their standing ovation. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

NEW INTERVIEW: Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, currently in rehearsals for The View UpStairs at the Soho Theatre

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt is one of our top leading ladies, she is currently in rehearsals for the European premier of The View Upstairs at the Soho Theatre. Her other credits include The Wild Party (The Other Palace), Murder Ballad (The Arts Theatre), In the Heights (Southwark Playhouse & Kings Cross Theatre), A Chorus Line (London Palladium), Gypsy (Leicester Curve), Flashdance (UK Tour & Shaftesbury Theatre), Grease (Piccadilly Theatre) and Saturday Night Fever (UK Tour). We Caught up with her whilst she was in rehearsals. 

You’ll be appearing in the European premier of the off-Broadway hit musical, The View UpStairs. Tell us a bit about the show. 

We're telling the story of an arson attack against the LGBT+ community in 1973 New Orleans, which killed too many people for a dinky upstairs bar in the French Quarter. Without giving away any spoilers, the show is revisiting that very evening but not in the obvious way you'd imagine. The show fluctuates between 2019 and 1973. Almost a hallucination? I don't want to spoil anything, but we're telling the stories of perhaps what could have possibly happened that night. The goings on within their community life in this supposedly safe haven, where people can be themselves, are not judged for who they are and can enjoy the company of similar-like souls in their friends.

And you’ll be playing the role of Inez, can you tell us a bit about her? 

Inez is a loyal mother who would never turn her back on her son. Freddy (Inez's son played by the wonderful Garry Lee) was discovered wearing his mother’s makeup and clothes at a young age by his father. The father left them both to fend for themselves, in a country that wasn't their own. Because of this neglect and disappointment from the father they started a life together, just the two of them. Their bond is so strong, and she is so proud of her son. She puts makeup on his face and helps put his costumes together for his drag performances, living her dream of show business through him and her new found family at the bar.

Friday, 19 April 2019

REVIEW: Tumulus at the Soho Theatre

Every now and again, there is a piece of theatre that comes about, rekindles that fire inside you as to why you love theatre, giving you tension, humour, raw unforced emotion, and giving you a full workout of all the senses. Christopher Adams’s ‘Tumulus’ is one of those exquisite rare breeds of a play, being one of the strongest three handers I’ve ever seen, with two of the three playing nearly 40 characters between them.

Tumulus is essentially the modern day murder mystery based on a true story, following Anthony as he tries to uncover the truth when a one night stand winds up dead on Hampstead Heath, presumed casualty of the London chem sex scene, whilst battling his own addictions. 

All I can really say is hats off to Christopher Adams - the writing is truly exceptional. The whole piece flows fantastically and whilst it is tackling a dark subject matter, it is still very funny with it. My most notable line was from Jack, stating ‘The sex was like being hit by a bus, a really happy bus’.

Friday, 25 January 2019

REVIEW: No Show at the Soho Theatre

If you are a very talented female circus performer where do you get to show case your skills in the way you want? This appears to be the question that Ellie Dubois seeks to answer in this unusual show which features five young female performers. The challenge appear to be that if you strip away the sexist attitudes, musical style, bright colours and flying apparatus of the Big Top and place the action in a fringe style black box how do you create a coherence and unity to the show or are you left with No show at all. The result is a mixed bag with moments of delightful brilliance, sparkling presentation and insight into the performers lives but at other times awkward silences and attempted comedy that falls flat like when they sit and eat donuts.

Cami Toyer is featured on the steel wheel and gives a wonderful demonstration of strength, agility and control as the hoop spins across the stage while Kate McWilliam explains the physical risks of the apparatus. Kate herself is featured in an attempt at the most cart wheels in one minute and her fifty four while impressive falls short of her personal best and the record but leaves her and us breathless.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

REVIEW: Cuckoo at the Soho Upstairs, Soho Theatre

A new play by Lisa Carroll, Cuckoo is set in modern day Ireland and follows two unlikely friends- Iona and Pingu- over a several days as they decide to leave the bullying and difficulties in Dublin behind to move to London. This sparks the interest from a pair of popular lads who strike up a sudden interest in Iona. An unconventional teen story, Cuckoo tackles sensitive issues in growing up with a realistic portrayal. The key theme is the importance of reputation and how it affects every moment of young lives. 

Debbie Hannan’s direction is to be congratulated, she has used the black box space effectively to create a fast-paced show, with a good use of the three entrances/exits. Cuckoo is easy to follow and expertly combines moments of humour with equally emotional scenes.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

REVIEW: Flesh and Bone at the Soho Theatre

Flesh & Bone. The basic composites of every living human being on this planet. If you rip the skin and personality away to reveal the raw foundations, we are all the same. So why do we judge? Why as humans do we have this innate desire to push people into boxes or into societal ranks? Why do we deem certain people above or beneath us... better or worse? ‘Flesh & Bone’ at the SOHO Theatre is here in unapologetic ferocity to unearth the brutal truth of working class existence.

Terrence lives on a council estate with his brother Reiss, their Grandfather and Terry’s girlfriend Kelly; whilst below them lives Jamal, the local drug dealer. The hair raising 80minute play rushes through their lives, the societal stereotypes they are inherently forced to maintain and their deep desire for something greater. The writing is unbridled, visceral and evocative. Elliot Warren dances between brash colloquial vocabulary and poetic Shakespearean beauty. What hits the most is that his writing is honest and real. You sit there and feel sick knowing at some point or another you’ve had these feelings about this “class” of people you’ve assumed you’re better than, but why? Because you were more fortunate to be given more opportunities? He highlights the damaging concept of privilege without having to hammer it home, it naturally falls over you, and you sit there and relate to it guilt ridden. He brings the humour and heartache with wonderful nuance, pace changes and articulation are wonderfully crafted by the company of five. This is kept in check by Warren and Brady having directed it themselves. It is fluid, explosive and still: not an easy combination to master, but master it they do especially Warren who manages to nail acting, writing and directing the entire piece.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

REVIEW: Dust at the Soho Theatre

Milly Thomas’s punching new play transfers to the SOHO theatre following a hugely successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer.

She plays a woman called Alice. Well, actually, she plays a lot of people in Alice’s life as well. But predominantly Alice. A woman suffering with mental health issues who is driven to taking her own life. Which she does, but not really. As in yes, she’s committed suicide, but - without getting too caught up in spirituality - something is still living. And with this she is still able to see everyone in her life, in the aftermath of her death.

She begins with a candid sense of objectivity. She talks about her body, or rather to it - apologising for not being healthy, for not making her lovers wear condoms and this is an interesting thought in itself; how we actively neglect something we have total control of and which is built to support and protect us.

Friday, 10 November 2017

REVIEW: Am I Dead Yet? at the Soho Theatre

’Am I dead yet’ is a small show worth of the fringe venue upstairs (I almost was dead after climbing three flights) in the heart of London’s West End at the Soho Theatre. 

Written and performed by Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe this hour long performance really makes you think about death; but not as you’d expect. First of all three stories underpin the performance; one of a suicide in the late 70s/Early 80s the next is a young girl who fell into a frozen over lake set in modern day and the third is a hypothetical story set many, many years in the future where technology has progressed to a point where people don’t die; interspersed with songs about death it sounds like an awfully morbid night - in fact it was the complete opposite. 

They are wonderful storytellers, carrying the audiences attention whilst telling the three stories all intertwined, which involve some heavy themes, is a skill. Before we get into the stories and after both performers have bounced about in their boxers right at the beginning there’s a CPR instructional section from a real paramedic - This followed some very interesting facts of why keeping a body freshly dead is better than leaving a collapsed person to die - very insightful stuff. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

REVIEW: Beached at the Soho Theatre

The Marlowe Theatre brings Melissa Bubonics Beached to the Soho Theatre, and whilst it proves entertaining and thought-provoking, it is not quite probing enough to leave much of a lasting impression. The shows information on the programme states but with the cameras rolling, something totally unexpected happens - Arty falls in love. So its not all that unexpected then.

Arty is the worlds fattest teenager at sixty-seven stone, played charmingly by James Dryden. He hasnt moved in years, and is piling on the pounds. A reality TV crew move in and document his journey towards getting a gastric bypass. Along the way, he falls in love, and discovers a few uncomfortable truths.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Cast announced for BEACHED, The Marlowe's first in-house production

Director of The Marlowe Theatre Mark Everett today announces the full cast for the theatre’s inaugural in-house production,Beached by Melissa Bubnic.  Justin Audibert will direct James DrydenAlison O’DonnellRhoda Ofori-Attah and Robin Weaver.  The UK première production will run in The Marlowe Studio from 28 October – 1 November before moving to the Soho Theatre from 4 – 23 November

Beached tells the story of 18-year-old Arty, who, at 63 stone, is morbidly obese and the world’s fattest teenager. He is a young man literally going nowhere.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Guilt & Shame return to Soho Theatre

Fresh from a dazzling run at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe - described by Gay Times as nothing short of genius - Guilt & Shame’s wild, narrative-based sketch comedy returns to Soho Theatre to take you by storm in Going Straight.

Orgies, murders, bank robberies and boy bands - gay virgin Rob and unstoppable womaniser Gabe have been involved in them all. These boys really need to change their hedonistic ways so they join a strange religious cult. But, their new god – Jeremy Clarkson - has some very weird rules. With crazy Christians, rapping dwarfs and a disco-loving transvestite, fresh, crude and funny Guilt & Shame seem to be doing anything but going straight!
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