Home » Author Archives: Brian Penn

Author Archives: Brian Penn

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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Dust, Trafalgar 2 Studios – Review

Dust by Milly Thomas, Trafalgar Studios - courtesy of Richard Southgate (5)

Pros: A virtuoso performance from Milly Thomas both as writer and performer, easily holding the attention with the slightest glance or mannerism. Cons: A dissection of emotional frailties and dysfunctional relationships is often uncomfortable to watch. I had to steel myself reading the programme for this one woman, one act monologue written and performed by the brilliant Milly Thomas. The play begins with a sparse set populated with three mirrors and a long narrow table, which we soon learn is ...

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The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Park Theatre – Review

Sally George in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at Park Theatre. Photo by Ali Wright-49

Pros: A brilliant cast and a magnificently scripted story provide the perfect combination. Cons: The musical interludes are all too brief, and annoyingly clipped to make way for more detail in the script. The Rise and Fall of Little Voice was released as a film in 1997 and featured a starry cast including Michael Caine and Brenda Blethyn, with Jane Horrocks in the title role. There’s always a dilemma seeing the stage version after you’ve seen the film: you naturally miss the  expansive ...

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Broken Wings, Theatre Royal Haymarket – Review

Broken Wings-1080

Pros: A refreshingly strong storyline for a musical, with superb attention to detail and an excellent score. Cons: Although tuneful and pleasant, there are no real stand-out hit songs to make this production a truly great musical. The air conditioning was happily in full effect at the Theatre Royal Haymarket as I took my seat for the premiere of Broken Wings. Launching a new musical is always a calculated risk but the producers pull it off with relative ease in ...

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For Reasons That Remain Unclear, King’s Head Theatre – Review

EverythingTheatre_Default (1)

Pros: A strong script with equally striking performances from the cast. Cons: The over-estimated running time stretches the story too much. A cosy pub theatre isn’t necessarily the place to be in the hottest summer since 1976. Thankfully, every fan in Islington has been seized to produce some much needed air in the back room for the UK premiere of For Reasons that Remain Unclear, presented by the King’s Head as part of its 2018 Queer Season. A tightly lit ...

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End Of The Pier, Park Theatre – Review

Les Dennis & Blake Harrison (l-r) in End of the Pier at Park Theatre. Photo by Simon Annand 0216

Pros: A bright cast and slow burning story that blossom in an excellent Act II. Cons: Act I is disappointingly slow and spends far too much time setting the scene. Casting familiar faces in a play is usually a safe bet, as the audience already have a rapport though television. End Of The Pier neatly pulls off the trick at the wonderful Park Theatre. Les Dennis takes the lead, while Blake Harrison, Nitin Ganatra and Tala Gouveia complete the line-up. ...

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Machinal, Almeida Theatre – Review

MACHINAL

Pros: A brilliantly constructed set is a visually stunning accompaniment to the play. Cons: The disappointingly clipped nine episode format slows the plot down far too often for its own good. The Almeida is one of my favourite theatres so I pounced on the opportunity to see Machinal, by Sophie Treadwell. Both play and author were unfamiliar to me; stylistically Treadwell has apparently been compared to Virginia Woolf and is viewed as a leading purveyor of expressionism. The play, written in 1928, ...

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