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!

Hard Feelings, Finborough Theatre

Doug Lucie Directed by James Hellier★★★★  Pros: An excellent young cast dazzle in this still relevant play about both being in your early twenties and the inequality of modern society. Cons: While the set contributes much to the atmosphere of the play, the actors are still finding their feet with the clutter and consequently it can sometimes act as a barrier rather than a tool. Our Verdict: Once again the Finborough produces great work, with a young cast we should watch ...

Read More »

Blood Wedding, Waterloo East Theatre

Federico Garcia LorcaDirected by Zoe Ford★★★ Pros: Some strong cast members offer passionate and realistic performances. Cons: The surrealism surrounding the final act may be off putting for some. Seating arrangement made it hard to see some of the action. Our Verdict: The first and final acts leave much to be desired however this is more to do with the play itself than this production of it. Courtesy of Hiraeth Artistic Productions Hiraeth Artistic Production‘s version of Lorca’s Blood Wedding is ...

Read More »

Shield, Ovalhouse Theatre

Amaara Raheem ★★★ Pros: Engrossing, poetic commentaries on stories that span continents. Lovely music to accompany the narrative. Cons: Incomprehensible dancing at points that felt disjointed from the rest of the piece. Our Verdict: Good production value that successfully creates an intimate feel and absorbs the audience in the tales that are told. Courtesy of Ovalhouse Set in the Ovalhouse Theatre, Shield by Amaara Raheem encompasses the mediums of movie, music, movement and monologue to portray three stories. One is an ...

Read More »

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 »