Home » Author Archives: Brian Penn

Author Archives: Brian Penn

Burke and Hare, Jermyn Street Theatre – Review

Burke and Hare. The Watermill Theatre. Alex Parry, Katy Daghorn and Hayden Wood. Photo by Philip Tull

Pros: A wonderfully talented cast happily connecting with the audience. Cons: Multiple characters and minimal costume changes occasionally makes the action difficult to follow. The story of Burke and Hare has been regularly plundered for TV dramas, documentaries and two big screen versions, the most recent of which starred Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg. It’s not difficult to see why, as it remains a cracking yarn based on true events. The play tells of the titular characters that embarked on ...

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Urinetown, The Bridewell Theatre – Review

Credit: Paul Nicholas Dyke

Pros: A talented and tuneful cast making the most of a limited performance area. Cons: A low key Act I suffers in comparison with a sparkling Act II which emits a genuine West End feel. Urinetown is hardly the most obvious title for a musical, but its purpose soon becomes apparent as an antidote to the sugar coated fayre common to the genre. The show made its debut off Broadway in 2001 and went on to win two Tonies and ...

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Love Lies Bleeding, Print Room at the Coronet – Review

A scene from Love-Lies-Bleeding by by Don DeLillo @ Coronet Print Room. Directed by Jack McNamara.
(Opening 14-11-18)
©Tristram Kenton 11/18
(3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

Pros: An excellent cast of familiar faces give the play a much needed boost. Cons: A beautiful venue in serious need of refurbishment and a script requiring similar tender loving care. I feel quietly reassured when a Grade II listed building is purchased and restored to its original function. The Coronet in Notting Hill Gate is one such example. Designed by legendary theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague it opened with royal patronage in 1898 and hosted a variety of productions until ...

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Billy Bishop Goes to War, Jermyn Street Theatre – Review

Billy Bishop Goes to War - John Gray and Eric Peterson - Jermyn Street Theatre - 31 October 2018Director - Jimmy WaltersDesigner - Daisy BlowerLighting Designer - Arnim FriessSound Designer - Dina MullenBilly Bishop - Charles AitkenOlder Billy Bis

Pros: An engrossing war story brilliantly told by a two man cast. Cons: A disappointingly camp cabaret section at the start of Act II looks out of place and disturbs the story’s tone. There are subtle reminders that November has arrived: the clocks go back, street lights flicker into life earlier and Christmas adverts creep onto TV screens. Another permanent reminder is Remembrance Sunday. Billy Bishop Goes To War gives a very personal account of the titular character, told by his ...

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The Wipers Times, The Arts Theatre – Review

George Kemp, James Dutton and Dan Mersh in The Wipers Times. Photograph by Kirsten McTernan

Pros: A wonderfully evocative script that allows an excellent cast to explore the humour, pathos and downright brutality of war. Cons: Some time might have been shaved off the 2 hours 10 minute duration for a more streamlined production. Sunday 11 November 2018 marks a significant centenary in the annuls of human conflict. One hundred years have now passed since the Armistice was signed formally ending World War I. The Great War was one of the bloodiest, claiming 17 million ...

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The Wolves of Erin, Old Red Lion Theatre – Review

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Pros: A sparky performance from the cast using physicality to strengthen a weak script. Cons: Disappointingly weak plotting, and a complete lack of suspense in a play that pitches horror as its central theme. Presented as part of the London Horror Festival, The Wolves of Erin tells a folk horror story in the vein of classic movies like Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man, two brilliant examples of the genre that naturally sets the bar very high. Curiously, the story begins in Northern ...

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War with the Newts, The Bunker – Review

War With The Newts

Edinburgh Fringe 2018

©The Other Richard

Pro’s: A bright young cast with a concept that dares to be different. Con’s: The promise of an immersive experience never quite materialises in the true sense of the word. Southwark Street is fast becoming South London’s answer to the North’s Upper Street. The Bunker, Menier Chocolate Factory and Katzpace, three fringe theatres all located within a five minute walk of each other. Tonight The Bunker certainly lived up to its name, situated at the end of a long ramp ...

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Hear Me Howl, Old Red Lion Theatre – Review

Hear Me Howl (c) Will Lepper (4)

Pros: Alice Pitt-Carter’s energetic portrayal as she rips through a 70 minute performance with ease. Cons: A slightly uneven plot doesn’t quite deliver the pay-off that is so richly deserved. Whenever I’m handed earplugs prior to a show I feel a curious mix of fear and excitement. Fear because I’m reminded of Idol Berserker at the Barbican (which involved earplugs, plastic ponchos and cling film: believe me that’s all you need to know); but also excitement because it means I’m ...

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