Home » Author Archives: Alex Hayward

Author Archives: Alex Hayward

Can Can, Union Theatre – Review

In late 19th century Paris, a bawdy new dance was born. The can-can grew from the seductive dances of Moulin Rouge courtesans into a high-energy show involving high kicks, splits, and exposed undergarments. Back then, you would have to go to French cabaret for the can-can. Now you can see it in railway arch in South London. Can-Can! promises fun and frivolity, and boy does it deliver. The show is a stunning, sugary confection of acrobatic feats and lavish design. ...

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Cuzco, Theatre503 – Review

Language can take you on a journey. Through stories we can explore the histories, cultures, and struggles of people across continents and ages. In a more literal sense language, or rather translation, can bring these stories to new audiences, many miles away from their source. In Cuzco, an unnamed couple journey to Peru. He hopes to rekindle the spark in their relationship. What she wants is unclear. As the two travel from one exotic locale to another they are driven ...

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Welcome to the UK, The Bunker – Review

Pros: Fantastic comic routines, dark satire, beautiful set design, and an endearing ensemble performance make Welcome to the UK a rewarding and powerful watch.   Cons: Welcome to the UK may disappoint viewers looking for character or narrative development. Immigration is a joke. Whether fleeing death or simply looking for a better life, recent arrivals in this country can expect meagre allowances, strict surveillance, limited work, trafficking, exploitation, violence, demonisation and, always, the threat of deportation. The joke is a cruel ...

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Bricks of The Wall, Etcetera Theatre – Review

Pros: Has little to commend it, aside from a cast who are clearly enjoying the material.      Cons: Suffers from an overdone plot, clunky dialogue, poor characterization and, most regrettably, nothing to say. Brexit was, for better or worse, a defining moment in British history. Depending on your outlook, the vote to leave the European Union could represent triumph or travesty, a chance to redefine British society and identity or a woeful regression to a darker time in European politics. Theatre can, ...

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One Jewish Boy, Old Red Lion Theatre – Review

Pros: Funny dialogue, smart observations and powerful performances from two leads with natural chemistry.  Cons: The lack of nuance and erratic pacing sometimes makes the play difficult to engage with, particularly during moments of revelation.   Europe has a long history of antisemitism. Hatred of Jewish people has existed on the continent for centuries, and is not going away anytime soon. Last week, a survey of European Jews found that nearly a third avoid attending events due to safety fears. In Britain, ...

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Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre – Review

Pros: Beautifully staged and performed with incredible joy and skill. Cons: Fans of Django Reinhardt may find his personal story underexplored. Musical theatre can be a time machine. With the help of skillful performers, detailed design, and an inspiring setting, songs and sounds can transport audiences to other eras and places. Old worlds that would otherwise be lost to history can be recreated, experienced, and enjoyed. To this end, Little Bulb’s new production is not only effective, but a hell of a lot of fun. ...

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Rats at Etcetera Theatre – Review

Pros: Rats is smart and hilarious, with excellent performances and a bitingly relevant script.  Cons: The ending is predictable, and some of the emotional moments feel under-explored. In 2016, Microsoft released Tay, a chatbot that could learn by interacting with people on the internet. Sadly, the chatbot had to be shut down after it began spouting Nazi slogans and sexually explicit messages. If machines can learn from humans, they can also learn our biases, our flaws, and our cruelty. We ...

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Rendezvous in Bratislava, Battersea Arts Centre – Review

Pros: Rendezvous is inventive and immersive, with catchy songs and great performances.   Cons: The comic interludes can be frustrating, as they distract from an otherwise compelling story. Laughter is a powerful response to oppression. Comedy has a long history of speaking truth to power, and cabaret is no different. Czechoslovakia, a country that endured both Nazi and Soviet rule, had plenty of horrors to contend with, particularly for the Jewish population. But for one cabaret writer, plenty to laugh at as ...

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Mirabel, Ovalhouse – Review

Pros: Mirabel is a highly original and emotionally affecting tale of loss and learning. Cons: The abstract narrative can be challenging and sometimes hard to follow. The end of the world has rarely been a cheerful affair. In films, television, novels, and of course, the Bible, the apocalyptic event has usually been described in terms of fiery chaos, fractured earth, and the horror of mass death. We are not short of inspiration for such imaginings, whether looking to the past, ...

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The Wild Duck at Almeida Theatre – Review

Pros: The Wild Duck is a witty and inventive adaptation of Ibsen’s masterpiece. Cons: The play lacks in subtext and can sometimes feel more intellectual than emotional. Henrik Ibsen wrote The Wild Duck in 1884. He was white, Norwegian, and fifty-six. He had fathered an illegitimate child. His father was declared bankrupt. This is the truth, we are told, but from the very moment this word is uttered, at the beginning of the play, we are invited to question everything. What ...

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