Home » Reviews » Off West End (page 249)

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!

The Soft of Her Palm, Finborough Theatre

Chris DunkleyDirected by Ola Ince★★★★ Pros: The cast give a very strong performance of gritty subject matter and complex characters. The story is told in reverse which is a fantastic way to challenge the audience’s perception of the circumstances. It is particularly refreshing to be presented with an unconventional female lead. Cons: Domestic violence and abuse is confronted head on which some audiences may find unpalatable. Our Verdict: This is a powerful piece of drama, which resonates long after you ...

Read More »

Cross Purpose, King’s Head Theatre

Albert CamusDirected by Stephen Whitson ★★★ Pros: A sharp production with an extremely strong cast. Excellent lighting, costume and sound design that compliment the seedy and unnerving themes and (not so under) undertones perfectly. Cons: It’s bloody depressing. Our Verdict: This is an excellent all-round production of which the cast, creative and production teams should be extremely proud – pity about the writing. Courtesy of the King’s Head Theatre It is a brave turn to perform a play by Albert ...

Read More »

The President and the Pakistani, Waterloo East Theatre

Rashid RazaqDirected Tom Attenborough★★★ Pros: The characterisations of Barack Obama and Sal Maqbool are strong and compelling. Occasional lip-syncing dance breaks augment the storyline, setting and time period of the piece innovatively and provide a welcome flash of levity and a dash of brilliance. Cons: While an interesting and relevant story to tell, it is perhaps not as profound or insightful as one might hope. Our Verdict: A great idea; who doesn’t want an insider’s look into the American President’s ...

Read More »

A Life, Finborough Theatre

Hugh LeonardDirected by Eleanor Rhode★★★★ Pros: A remarkable script with a knock-out central performance. Cons: Not every actor can do the Irish accent convincingly which spoils the illusion at times. Our Verdict: A great revival of an underrated script. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre A Life is a Tony award-nominated play from esteemed Irish playwright Hugh Leonard. The story centres around Desmond Drumm, an embittered civil servant, as he grimly faces his own mortality. Drumm also features as a minor ...

Read More »

Bookworm, Etcetera Theatre

Written and directed by Jessie Cave★★★★ Pros: A solid hour of fun, quirky humour, spiced with some educational tidbits and some always-satisfying Fifty Shades of Grey jokes. Cons: A few sketches dragged, and some humour may be unapproachable for audience members who wouldn’t consider themselves well read.Our Verdict: A dynamic and original production, and well-worth the small ticket fee. Suitable for bookworms as well as audiences just looking for a laugh. Courtesy of the Etcetera Theatre Jessie Cave may be ...

Read More »

The Collective Project, Camden People’s Theatre

Presented by The Pensive Federation★★★ Pros: The concept is fantastic and original. The acting is dynamic and there is lots of contrast from each of the plays. The more you think about what is going on, the more subtleties surface. Cons: There was some stereotyping and understandably after only twelve days it wasn’t entirely polished. It was a shame when it ended! Our Verdict: An innovative idea delivered by an up-and-coming group with bags of talent. Courtesy of The Pensive ...

Read More »

The Random Acts of Strangers, Etcetera Theatre

Anthony Bull★★★ Pros: A strong cast perform interesting monologues about modern life. Cons: Some parts of the play left me feeling a bit confused. Our Verdict: An enjoyable evening with some very impressive acting. Courtesy of Etcetera Theatre The Random Acts of Strangers is a series of monologues taken from seemingly unrelated modern-day nameless characters. The story begins with ‘Stranger 1’ – a beautiful, middle-class black girl who describes the difficulties she faces in her romantic relationship. She tells us ...

Read More »

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, The Space

Book and Lyrics by Bill RussellMusic by Janet HoodDirected and Choreographed by Joseph C Walsh★★★ Pros: Showcases some strong young and up-and-coming talent. The Space, a converted church with a warm, spiritual interior, nicely augments the memorial and celebratory nature of the piece. Cons: Powerful vocals were occasionally too great for the space. The storyline is slightly overdone, and the running time a bit too long. Our Verdict: A tight-but-slightly-dated production with an important theme and story to tell (the ...

Read More »

Confessions of a Butterfly, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Jonathan SaltDirected by Sam Conway★★★★ Pros: A look at World War Two from a slightly different angle that doesn’t remove any of the awful-ness of period whilst allowing a man’s love and honour to shine through. Cons: Focus is a little broad which left me wanting to know more about the man; technical design not quite level with the artistic performance. Overall: Poignant monologue told through a well-scripted play that attempts to combine the horror of the time with the ...

Read More »