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For King and Country, Southwark Playhouse – Review

(c) Alex Brenner (info@alexbrenner.co.uk)

Pros: The cast can sustain tension and passion; it is genuinely moving to watch this less-discussed side of WWI history. Cons: A stiflingly hot venue makes several audience members lose concentration; due to the thrust stage, some lines are hard to hear when actors aren’t facing you. At the end of this month, it will be 101 years since the Battle of Passchendaele began. It lasted until November 1917. Unlike the current British heatwave, Passchendaele started with heavy rainfall, turning ...

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The Diana Tapes, Stockwell Playhouse – Review

Ana Cristina Schuler as Princess Diana (c) Pablo Calderón-Santiago

Pros: The design is well polished. Cons: Everything else. In 1991, tabloid columnist Andrew Morton was approached by one of Princess Diana’s closest friends with a daunting request that he couldn’t refuse. He was asked to write her biography. Tired of suffering in silence, the wife of the heir to the British throne wanted to expose her husband’s wrongdoings and the devious scheming of the royal family and, to do so, she had chosen a journalist with a background as ...

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Sardines, Drayton Arms Theatre – Review

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Pros: Sharp writing and good performances characterise this collection of scenes set in a tube train Cons: The lack of connection between the stories means we’re constantly having to get to know new characters “Make sure you take your belongings with you when you leave this life.” So runs the announcement that introduces this sharply observational piece set entirely on a tube train. The young cast each play multiple roles, as we eavesdrop on conversations and snatched exchanges between strangers; tight direction ...

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The Tempest, St Paul’s Church Yard – Review

Iris Theatre's The Tempest, St. Paul's Church (Paul Brendan, Prince Plockey and Reginald Edwards) - courtesy of Nick Rutter

Pros: All the advantages of being outside in a garden space helping to create a magical atmosphere – flowers, breeze, full moon in a clear sky. Cons: All the disadvantages of being outside in a garden space, spoiling the magical atmosphere – pollen, noises off, helicopters. Right in the heart of Covent Garden, St Paul’s Church Yard is a cool space even on one of the hottest days of the summer, shade provided by the surrounding buildings and a gentle breeze.  Being ...

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Olaf, Barons Court Theatre – Review

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Pros: Good to see an early Ibsen being staged. Cons: Early Ibsen sags in the middle. Ottisdotter Productions bring their focus to lesser known and obscure plays that emphasise the role of women in society. Having last been presented at London’s Adelphi Theatre in 1911, Henrik Ibsen’s Olaf belongs amongst the Norwegian master’s lesser known works, falling outside the 12-play ‘Ibsen Cycle.’ The version presented at Barons Court Theatre is an adaptation by ottisdotter of Anders Orbeck’s translation of Ibsen’s Olaf ...

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