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Showing posts from July, 2015

Positive and new AIDS theatre

I’ll start by saying I’m both the best and worst person to be reviewing this play. Having spent 4 years immersed in HIV/AIDS theatre doing my PhD (further details on…) I freely admit I’m far too close to this topic.  
A lot of the time I spent looking at the history of AIDS plays was also spent wondering what a contemporary play on the subject would look like. While the odd play in recent years has made reference to or indeed deliberate non-reference to (The Boy From Oz I’m STILL looking at you for not ever naming what Peter Allen died of) HIV/AIDS over the years, there’s been little direct address, particularly from British theatre, so this play is certainly significant in that.
While thinking of that I’ve also spent much time, and may actually get down to now the thesis is done, writing my own version of the ‘AIDS play’  (do we still have to call it that? That’s another of my issues…) and I have many strong, particular ideas about what I think needs adding to the stage discussion of …

Review: Everyman Beauty and the Beast

"Tale as old as time...."

It probably comes as no surprise to anybody who knows me that Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film. I mean it's about a girl who lives through books, and then gets to live in a castle with a giant library...oh and she meets a Prince as well.

It is one of the classic Disney films, and among one of the best Disney film to stage adaptations. And again anybody who knows me also knows what a sucker I was/am for John Barrowman as Gaston.

All to say I was pretty excited to see what the Junior production at the festival would hold, but also apprehensive as ever when seeing something you love so well adapted. But as with As You Like It on Wednesday I needn't have worried, because Everyman's young cast do a sterling job.




It's a hard one to pull off, especially outside with minimal props, but the cast pull it off expertly. The whole piece is wonderfully sung, showing great talent from the young cast.  Charlotte Tonge makes an excell…

Everyman: As You Like It

Is is too much of a pun to say 'As you like it...but I think you will?' ...ok then I won't. But you get the idea.

As You like it takes place predominantly in the forest of Arden, so it was the perfect setting with the backdrop of trees in Bute Park. Complete with occasional animal noises (well seagulls and dogs...) but as the light darkens the green lit stage and the backdrop of trees creates the perfect atmosphere for the play.



One of the most popular Shakespeare comedies, it's easy to see why. As You Like It is a heartwarming play about romance and love-in various forms, from at first sight with Rosalind and Orlando, to the harder won romance of Phoebe and her Shepherd.

The play starts with a banishment, Rosalind's mother has been banished to the forest, while she remains with her aunt and cousin Celia. After seeing young man Orlando wrestling his way to victory (in a piece of excellent and hilarious staging!) it is love at first sight for Rosalind. Soon after sh…

Everyman Festival: Sweet Charity

Last night saw the opening night of show 2 in Everyman's Festival repertoire, this time musical theatre with Neil Simon's Sweet Charity. 



Set against the backdrop of 1960s New York, Sweet Charity follows the life (and many loves!) of Charity Hope Valentine (Helena-May Harrison). The girl who proclaims her religion in love, doesn't get off to the best start when her 'fiance' (aside from the minor detail he's married to another woman) turns their romantic stroll into the park into quite a 'wet' affair for Charity. Her job as a dance hall hostess doesn't fill her life with the glamour she is quite certain she deserves...or the kind of men either. Along the way Charity manages a night to remember (in not quite the right ways) with Italian movie star Vittorio Vidal (the perfectly accented, and wonderfully voiced Matt Preece) Charity doesn't give up on love however and one day on another quest for love ends up trapped in a lift with a mild-mannered acc…

Review: As Is

‘As Is’ is the first AIDS play, the first response to a crisis, from those on the front line. It could be asked why then is this still relevant over 30 years on, but it is precisely because it is that first response that gives it such drive, such impact still. And that the crisis may have changed, but that AIDS is still an issue, and one that urgently still needs our attention is why it is so important that this play is revived.
Director Andrew Keates brings the production first staged at the Finborough in 2013 to the Trafalgar Studios, and the new setting brings even more life to this dynamic production. A real ensemble piece with each actor taking on multiple parts to paint a picture of New York in the early days of AIDS. At its centre are Rich and Saul, who we meet in the midst of a breakup
The production begins with an affecting soundscape of discussions about AIDS. The terrifying news reports that declared the ‘Gay Plague’ and condemning those who had it. This soundscape not only…