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Monthly Archives: October 2012

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 ...

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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 ...

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Ding Dong the Wicked, Royal Court

Caryl ChurchillDirected by Dominic Cooke★★★ Pros: A unique concept with an unnerving plot, delivered by a strong and familiar cast. Cons: The dialogue is disjointed which detracts from the credibility of the circumstances, and twenty minutes is not really long enough to get fully engaged. Our Verdict: If you are going to see one of the other two performances at the Royal Court it’s worth getting there an hour early to catch this. Credit: Johan Persson for the Royal Court ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Scenes from an Execution, National Theatre

Howard BarkerDirected by Tom Cairns★★★ Pros: Some interesting concepts in the scripts and good performances on stage. Cons: Sometimes a bit slow, and tries to say a lot of things at once. Our Verdict: Enjoyable with the usual high production values, but not groundbreaking. Courtesy of the National Theatre One thing you don’t expect to see when you pay a visit to the National Theatre is a catastrophic set malfunction. In a way, we were lucky to witness such a ...

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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 ...

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A Chorus of Disapproval, Harold Pinter Theatre

Alan AyckbournDirected by Trevor Nunn★★★ Pros: What could be described as a dream line up of talent. Cons: Underdeveloped plot ideas lead to a weird combination of humour and cruelty which don’t mix well. Our Verdict: A bit of a disappointment, I expected more from such strong actors and I think the script and (dare I say it?!) the direction let it down. Courtesy of Catherine Ashmore for The Guardian It’s a tricky thing, press night. The auditorium is filled ...

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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 ...

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Private Peaceful, Theatre Royal Haymarket

Michael MorpurgoAdapted and directed by Simon Reade★★★★ Pros: It is brilliantly acted and beautifully written. Cons: Whilst billed for eight years and upwards, I feel age ten is probably more appropriate. Our Verdict: A wonderful all round show, sadly finished now but we hope for a prolonged run in due course! Courtesy of The Telegraph It has been quite some time since I have wholeheartedly joined in a spontaneous standing ovation. It was definitely well-deserved in this production of Private ...

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