Home » Reviews » Off West End (page 216)

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!

Freefall, Wimbledon Studio

Matthew Bulgo and Becky PrestwichDirected by Alice Malin★★★★ Pros: Superb new writing, nuanced and heartrending performances from the entire cast. Cons: Only that both plays are heartbreakingly sad! Our Verdict: A perfect pairing of two plays exploring the themes of memory, grief and loss. Painful and wonderful to watch. Double bills often don’t make for a coherent and satisfying evening of theatre. Not so with Freefall. The two plays featured, The Bear, the Owl and the Angel by Becky Pretwich and ...

Read More »

Festen, The Space

Directed by Danielle McIlvenSpace Productions ★★★★ Pros: Space Productions revel in the rapidly fluctuating emotions of the play, keeping the audience consistently on the edge of disgust, laughter, anger and overwhelming sympathy. Cons: A few brief moments of unconvincing characterisation. Our Verdict: A highly tense yet enjoyable piece which, for the most part, had me on the edge of my seat.  Taken from the Danish film of the same name (The Celebration in English), Festen is an intense family drama ...

Read More »

The Taming of the Shrew, Hampstead Theatre

William Shakespeare, adapted by Edward Hall and Roger WarrenDirected by Edward Hall  ★★★★★ Pros: Everything – it is a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart. Cons: Impossible to find anything wrong with it. Our Verdict: I have no doubt Shakespeare would feel proud to see the way his plays have been brought to life by Edward Hall and Propeller. Courtesy of Hampstead Theatre The Taming of the Shrew is a play within a play. The first play ...

Read More »

The American Plan, St. James Theatre

Richard Greenberg  Directed by David Grindley★★★★ Pros: Storytelling at its best, aided by a wondrous cast.  Cons: The continuous melodrama may not appeal to all. Our Verdict: The American Plan is worth taking a look at. Passion oozes from the cast as the sun not only shines brightly over the Catskill Mountains, but also the stage at St. James Theatre.  Transferring from The Ustinov Studio at the Theatre Royal, Bath, The American Plan has now landed in London. St. James ...

Read More »

Everyone Theatre: An Interview with David Jubb

David Jubb Landscape

Everyone Theatre is a series of interviews with leading theatre practitioners in London. It’s their chance to make the case for getting into theatre, on either side of the curtain. Listen to the podcast using the player below, subscript to the series on iTunes, or read through the transcript below. Please feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the page! This podcast series aims to look for ways to involve more and more people in theatre, either as ...

Read More »

When the Fallen Sang, St Giles in the Fields

Suzy AlmondDirected by Marie McCarthy★★★ Pros: An energetic cast, emotional stories and a wonderfully coordinated production which may have proved tricky for other directors. Cons: The script dragged towards the end and it was slightly confusing. Our Verdict: An innovative production in an amazing setting, highlighting the moving stories of those who seek solace in St Giles. The setting for When the Fallen Sang could not have been more magical. St Giles in the Fields is an ancient church near Tottenham Court Road ...

Read More »

Twelfth Night, Hampstead Theatre

William Shakespeare, adapted by Edward Hall and Roger Warren Directed by Edward Hall★★★★  Pros: Excellent staging, music, acting, costumes… nothing falls out of place.Cons: Very few to be honest, but perhaps just short of the elusive fifth star!  Our Verdict: I have no doubt Shakespeare would feel proud to see the way his play is brought to life by Edward Hall and Propeller.  Courtesy of Hampstead Theatre All male Shakespearean company Propeller gives new life to Twelfth Night in this production. ...

Read More »

Short and Stark, Southwark Playhouse

Joel Horwood Directed by Jim Russell ★★★ Pros: Horwood’s four playlets are consistently funny, often poignant, and delivered by an enthusiastic and talented young cast. Cons: Some pieces were underdeveloped, causing confusion or requiring a little more length to be effective. Our Verdict: A charming and funny sequence of short plays which addresses experiences of loneliness from different angles and features a top notch ensemble.  Courtesy of Southwark Playhouse This month, the Southwark Playhouse presents an evening of short plays ...

Read More »

Measure for Measure, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

William ShakespeareDirected by James Tobias★★★★ Pros: A talented cast who are up to the challenge of Shakespeare’s verse; well-conceived set design; flashy dance numbers to enhance the experience; the plays themes remain incredibly relevant.Cons: I felt the play dragged in places and could have used a bit more energy. Occasionally the noise from the adjoining pub distracts from the play’s more subtle moments. Our Verdict: An excellent production of one of the Bard’s lesser-known plays. The play’s dark and sinister themes ...

Read More »

Love’s Labour’s Lost, Old Red Lion Theatre

William Shakespeare Directed by Grassroots Shakespeare London ★★★★ Pros: A pacey, modern production with plenty of humour and excellent comic moments. There is a lot of really enjoyable character interpretation, which adds a colour and relevance to the script. Cons: In delivering the prose in modern voice and comic character, at times the diction was unclear and parts of the story were lost. The blind casting worked better for some characters than for others. Our Verdict: A very enjoyable version ...

Read More »