Home » Reviews » Off West End (page 228)

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!

Rita/La Serva Padrona, The Sun Tavern (site-specific)

Gaetano Donizetti and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi Directed by Darren Royston★★★ Pros: Rarely staged operas sung by new operatic talent. Cons: Occasionally hard to follow due to inter-weaving storylines and lack of surtitles. Our verdict: Innovative, fresh and intimate night of opera in an unusual space. Courtesy of Pop Up Opera Pop up Opera’s productions are the modern day theatrical equivalent of a warehouse party. Not quite site specific, their productions are, for lack of a better term, pre-packaged and performed for us in ...

Read More »

Luck Penny, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Aisling Foster Directed by Cherry Cookson ★★ Pros: Some great accents and beautiful scene change music produced a lovely sounding show. Cons: The actors were very wobbly on their lines and the show didn’t run straight. Our verdict: Sadly, an interesting topic based on true events is let down by the lacklustre performance and script that would be better as a novel or article. Courtesy of Ciaran Cunningham for Giant Olive Theatre When the Bolsheviks and the Irish were trying ...

Read More »

The Nighmare Dreamer, Blue Elephant

Devised TheatreDirected by John-Michael MacDonald★★ Pros: Unusual and visually intriguing, with some innovative stylistic direction.Cons: The improvised nature meant the piece fell flat at times – it might be too weird for some people.Our verdict: A strange and unnerving production, which seemed to be conflicted between a conventional linear play and a physical interpretative performance. Every so often, I get night terrors. Once I dreamt I was in a room full of wardrobes, and these Courtesy of the Blue Elephant ...

Read More »

Tonight Is Your Answer, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Sarah Rutherford Directed by Dawn Reid ★★★★  Pros: A play about women, with an A-list cast, female director and author, that asks important questions about race.  Cons: Perhaps the play could have gone further in certain areas, but more of that later.  Our Verdict: A good ice breaker to kick off the latest Angelic Tales Festival. Courtesy of Theatre Royal Stratford East Earlier this week, the Theatre Royal’s season for new writing got off to an excellent start with a ...

Read More »

Hear a Pin Drop Here, Battersea Arts Centre

Holly Rumble★★★★ Pros: An interesting topic is used to explore the sights and sounds of London living.  Cons: Only a small cog in the wheel of a much larger project. Our Verdict: A lovely project that has taken a very simple idea and ran with it. While not strictly falling under the obvious definition of theatre, Holly Rumble’s piece is well considered! Holly Rumble walked every street within a 500-meter radius of the Battersea Arts Centre. Every 50 yards or ...

Read More »

Adventure/Misadventure, Ovalhouse

Written and directed by Nick Field ★★ Pros: Poetic writing, memorable original music and the theatre even lay on sushi and saki. Cons: The performance lacks polish; aspects of the show felt gimmicky and I felt the play’s message to be trite. Our Verdict: The mixture of rollerskating, harp playing, and travel writing does not add up to a rewarding theatrical experience. Courtesy of Ovalhouse  Adventure/Misadventure got off to a wonderful start when, upon arrival at the Ovalhouse theatre, I ...

Read More »

Happy New, Trafalgar Studios

Brendan Cowell Directed by Robert Shaw ★★★ Pros: This play has it all: comedy, drama, ups and downs. It will have you laughing at one moment and in tears the next. It is impossible to be bored. Cons: It takes a while to really understand the whys and hows of the characters. Until the pieces fall into place it feels a bit hard to let the play sink in.  Our Verdict: A completely different theatrical experience with multiple innovative elements. ...

Read More »

Blair’s Children, The Cockpit

Anders Lustgarten, Paula B Stanic, Georgia Fitch, April De Angelis, Mark Norfolk Directed by Charlotte Westenra ★★★ Pros: The characters are well written and varied with good performances by the cast. The parallel recollections provide a textured view of the human story of the Blair years. Cons: The stories lack climax and the production fizzles out in the second act. It would benefit from a lot more humour. Our Verdict: Gets off to a strong start, with a sound concept, ...

Read More »

Rutherford and Son, St James Theatre

Githa Sowerby Directed by Jonathan Miller★★★★  Pros: Strong and nuanced acting, especially the central performance of Rutherford, and a beautiful period set.  Cons: At two and a half hours long, the heavy storyline could be a bit too much for some. Our Verdict: Grim and somewhat old fashioned, it is a hard going-evening but still an enjoyable production with compelling performances. It is worth going to see if you like a period drama. Courtesy of St James Theatre Set in the ...

Read More »

A Picture of Dorian Gray, The White Rabbit Cocktail Club

Rob JohnstonDirected by Andy McQuade★★★★ Pros: A truly original, deliciously dark and modern reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s gothic novel, with top-notch performances to boot. Cons: Dark lighting and less than ideal sightlines made it sometimes difficult to get the most out of the action, and audiences completely unfamiliar with the source material may feel a bit confused. Our Verdict: It’s a thrilling and chilling gothic piece brought to life by a diverse and talented cast – not one to miss! ...

Read More »