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Reviews

Reviewing is at the heart of what we do. Here you’ll find all the reviews that our wonderful team have written. If you want to find something more specific, why not pick a genre of show instead from the list in the menu

The Grand Expedition, Secret Location – Review

Following texted directions to the secret location “somewhere on the Victoria Line”, you make your way to a disused warehouse on the outskirts of town. Welcomed by a woman dressed as a 1930s aviator, speaking an imaginary language that hovers somewhere between Japanese and Klingon, you’re handed a beer – never a bad thing in a theatre – and led into the dining room. This turns out to be a vast octagonal space, hosting a dozen round 8-seater tables, mounted ...

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The Pirates of Penzance, Wilton’s Music Hall – Review

After several years of clashing diaries and missed opportunities, I finally made it to the legendary Wilton’s Music Hall in Whitechapel. John Wilton’s magnificent music hall was opened in 1859, and has survived the obligatory fire and demolition notice on several occasions since then. It eventually acquired Grade II status and reopened as a theatrical venue in 1997. We are deep in Jack the Ripper territory and a huge Victorian brass lamp announces the venue in Graces Alley. The interior ...

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There Is A Field, Theatre503 – Review

Mark (Sam Frenchum) is from a typical East End family, working class to the core.  Except Mark has gone off the rails with too many drugs, and has been kicked out of the family home.  After the death of his dad his mum (Sarah Finigan) wants him home, because after all, family is everything and it’s his duty to be at the front of the funeral; people have to see him there to show the family strength.  The problem is ...

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The First Modern Man, Hen & Chickens Theatre – Review

Michel de Montaigne, the 16th century writer and philosopher, was a complex character. He invented the essay form – his ‘essais’ being ‘tryouts’, as he explains – to set down his thoughts on a vast range of topics. He wrote over 100 essays, on subjects as diverse as anger, virtue, vanity, smells, sleep, solitude, pedantry and drunkenness. In this one-man show Jonathan Hansler plays Montaigne to powerful effect, welcoming us as English visitors into his library and regaling us with ...

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monolog 2, Chickenshed – Review

Have you ever moved to a new house or workplace and gone past the place you left, soon after? It’s something like feeling your phone vibrate in your pocket, but finding it’s not there. These feelings struck me as I sat on the Piccadilly Line and passed straight through Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Covent Garden on a theatre night without getting off. I was heading to deepest darkest North London for a performance at Chickenshed. A short walk from ...

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Call Me Vicky, Pleasance Theatre – Review

I wanted to love this show so much, because of the subject matter. And certainly, the bravery of real Vicky in the hateful climate of the 80s, and the support she received in her journey is stirring stuff! But a play is not comprised of themes alone, it is writing, acting, lighting, directing and a host of infinitesimally small things. It is in the realisation of its themes that Call me Vicky falls down. There is an issue of timing ...

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Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, The Young Vic Theatre – Review

Certain theatres have a mystique, a marque of quality that sets them apart; an assumption that a play must be good if it’s running there. The National Theatre, Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe are three such examples. Add to that list the Young Vic, just down the road from its older sibling in Waterloo. Like many modern theatres, the bar is set to the front entrance, creating a great atmosphere as you go in. The performance area is arranged amphitheatre ...

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Fame – The Musical, New Wimbledon Theatre – Review

In Italy, where I grew up, the TV series Fame was broadcast in the afternoon, when families would enjoy it gathered after lunch. As a young child, I wouldn’t pay much attention to the topics, but rather enjoy the musical score and, in particular the opening credits with the series’ theme song. Only recently have I been made aware of how controversial some of those topics were. For those who aren’t familiar with this 1980s cult title, Fame focuses on ...

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The Paper Man, Soho Theatre – Review

The inventive, social-change focused company Improbable present The Paper Man at one of London’s most vibrant venues for new theatre and comedy. It’s the true story of Matthias Sindelar, an Austrian football star who refused to throw a match against Germany during the Nazi regime and was found dead a few months later. Lee Simpson, actor and co-artistic director of Improbable, explains on stage that he wanted to tell this story for a long time and, but when he hired ...

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All in a Row, Southwark Playhouse – Review

With a small cast, the action takes place in the modest kitchen-living room of dysfunctional husband and wife Tam (Charlie Brooks) and Martin (Simon Lipkin), as they struggle to care for their severely autistic and non-verbal child, Laurence. Also in the equation is Laurence’s carer of two years, Gary (Michael Fox), who is both a blessing but also a constant reminder of the couple’s own failings as parents. The play has received a barrage of negative press for its representation ...

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