Home » Author Archives: Alex Hayward

Author Archives: Alex Hayward

Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre – Review

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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

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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

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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

Mirabel Production Photos

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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

Credit: Manuel Harlan

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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Two Little Ducks, The Albany – Review

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Pros: Two Little Ducks speaks to the present with unaffected language that cuts to the heart. Cons: While the poems are all beautiful, the show’s impact could be enhanced with a shorter run-time.   In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, news crews filed report after report from places that might otherwise have never made national headlines. Towns and cities long-ignored and long-suffering were suddenly in the news for voting to leave. In poet Matt Abbott’s town of Wakefield, two-thirds ...

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Timeless, Theatre N16 – Review

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Pros: Timeless has a charming central performance, tight direction, and a witty and sensitive script. Cons: The play is quite short, and certain aspects of the character’s life felt under-explored. From childhood to old age, we make sense of our world and the people in it through experiences. The important experiences are stored and saved in our mind as memories, and inform everything we do, think, and feel. Memory, in effect, defines who we are. What happens when we lose it? Do we lose ourselves, too? ...

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