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Off West End

Ah, the Off West End. For those not familiar with the term, this is where the real magic of the London theatre scene happens. Great shows are born here, in pubs, in 50-seat theatres, in tunnels. Recommended for the adventurous – we can’t get enough of it, and you’ll save a quid or two as well!

Rattled, Old Red Lion Theatre – Review

The wonderfully warm surroundings of the Old Red Lion in Islington has its usual glow: flock wallpaper, chesterfield sofas, a dog sleeping on the floor and football on the telly (think I’ve just described my house in the 1970s?). A framed England rugby union shirt now adorns the wall, and a Norwich City St Georges flag hangs over the bar. Not only does it stock a range of lagers, craft beers and cider, it also houses one of the finest ...

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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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Headhog, Barons Court Theatre – review

Primal Theatre state that their aim is to create pieces that reflect human experience at their core. Whether having a hedgehog alive in your head meets that aim is something that we could debate all evening. And the reason why a hedgehog is alive in Molly’s head is at the heart of Headhog, as she first tries to come to terms with this strange fact, asking ‘how did it get there?’ Then slowly as she bonds with it, her question changes ...

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Avenue Q, New Wimbledon Theatre – Review

The residents of Avenue Q are a somewhat peculiar pick ‘n’ mix of colourful puppets, unlikely couples and a monster or two, all sharing in dreams, concerns and uncensored humour. It’s children’s programme styling -denoted by chirpy repetitive tunes, bright colours and teaching video-esque animation screens- paired with it’s very adult content, made for an atmosphere of juxtaposition in which the very upfront nature of this shows comedy absolutely thrived. Avenue Q is able to effortlessly weave the hysterically obscene ...

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The Half Moon Shania, The Vaults – Review

Feminism and fishnets, punk and precarious friendships, The Half Moon Shania shakes the Vaults Festival in this punk/rock opera reverberating with energy and poignancy. The show evokes youthful excitement and naivety within a dark smoky world. The rush and the barely organised chaos are infectious, but there are moments that don’t quite land as effectively as the rest of the show. THE G STRINGZ are a band of three best friends trying to secure a record deal in the Half ...

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Original Death Rabbit, Jermyn Street Theatre – Review

Pros: The beguiling Kimberly Nixon mastering some tightly packed dialogue. Cons: The script is occasionally patronising, diminishing what is otherwise a smartly observed piece. I always feel a quiet burst of pride when among the first to see a new play. So I can now say I was there for the Original Death Rabbit at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Rose Heiney (of Fresh Meat fame) adapted her original Radio 4 play for the stage and has produced a dark and ...

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The War of the Worlds, New Diorama Theatre – Review

Pros: The seamless combination of action, lighting and sound. Cons: Nothing much springs to mind. Don’t go to this show expecting a complete run through of the HG Wells book. Instead, using the 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast as a starting point, Rhum and Clay have explored people’s propensity to readily accept that all they hear and read is true with, in this case, some unintended consequences for one family.Starting off with a re-creation of the radio play the focus ...

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An Enemy of the People, Union Theatre – Review

Pros: A couple of strong performances Cons: Wavering American accents, stodgy direction, humourless script In 1882 Henrik Ibsen, reeling from the public outcry over the sexual frankness in Ghosts, wrote An Enemy of the People about one man daring to speak the truth at any cost. In 1950 it was adapted by Arthur Miller, keeping strictly to the same plot and scene structure but removing some of the more unpalatable references to eugenics – and it’s Miller’s version that appears ...

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Murder for Two, The Other Palace – Review

Pros: Astonishing performances and musicianship Cons: A little too long, and could use some variations in pace Arthur Whitney lies dead on the floor, in a house full of guests who wished him ill. It’s down to Officer Marcus to work out which of the many suspects, all played by Jeremy Legat, actually pulled the trigger. Getting to know this cast of characters, their backstory and relationship with the victim, takes a bit of time. So the first half hour ...

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