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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Festen, The Space

Directed by Danielle McIlvenSpace Productions ★★★★ Pros: Space Productions revel in the rapidly fluctuating emotions of the play, keeping the audience consistently on the edge of disgust, laughter, anger and overwhelming sympathy. Cons: A few brief moments of unconvincing characterisation. Our Verdict: A highly tense yet enjoyable piece which, for the most part, had me on the edge of my seat.  Taken from the Danish film of the same name (The Celebration in English), Festen is an intense family drama ...

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The Taming of the Shrew, Hampstead Theatre

William Shakespeare, adapted by Edward Hall and Roger WarrenDirected by Edward Hall  ★★★★★ Pros: Everything – it is a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart. Cons: Impossible to find anything wrong with it. Our Verdict: I have no doubt Shakespeare would feel proud to see the way his plays have been brought to life by Edward Hall and Propeller. Courtesy of Hampstead Theatre The Taming of the Shrew is a play within a play. The first play ...

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The American Plan, St. James Theatre

Richard Greenberg  Directed by David Grindley★★★★ Pros: Storytelling at its best, aided by a wondrous cast.  Cons: The continuous melodrama may not appeal to all. Our Verdict: The American Plan is worth taking a look at. Passion oozes from the cast as the sun not only shines brightly over the Catskill Mountains, but also the stage at St. James Theatre.  Transferring from The Ustinov Studio at the Theatre Royal, Bath, The American Plan has now landed in London. St. James ...

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When the Fallen Sang, St Giles in the Fields

Suzy AlmondDirected by Marie McCarthy★★★ Pros: An energetic cast, emotional stories and a wonderfully coordinated production which may have proved tricky for other directors. Cons: The script dragged towards the end and it was slightly confusing. Our Verdict: An innovative production in an amazing setting, highlighting the moving stories of those who seek solace in St Giles. The setting for When the Fallen Sang could not have been more magical. St Giles in the Fields is an ancient church near Tottenham Court Road ...

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Twelfth Night, Hampstead Theatre

William Shakespeare, adapted by Edward Hall and Roger Warren Directed by Edward Hall★★★★  Pros: Excellent staging, music, acting, costumes… nothing falls out of place.Cons: Very few to be honest, but perhaps just short of the elusive fifth star!  Our Verdict: I have no doubt Shakespeare would feel proud to see the way his play is brought to life by Edward Hall and Propeller.  Courtesy of Hampstead Theatre All male Shakespearean company Propeller gives new life to Twelfth Night in this production. ...

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Short and Stark, Southwark Playhouse

Joel Horwood Directed by Jim Russell ★★★ Pros: Horwood’s four playlets are consistently funny, often poignant, and delivered by an enthusiastic and talented young cast. Cons: Some pieces were underdeveloped, causing confusion or requiring a little more length to be effective. Our Verdict: A charming and funny sequence of short plays which addresses experiences of loneliness from different angles and features a top notch ensemble.  Courtesy of Southwark Playhouse This month, the Southwark Playhouse presents an evening of short plays ...

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Measure for Measure, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

William ShakespeareDirected by James Tobias★★★★ Pros: A talented cast who are up to the challenge of Shakespeare’s verse; well-conceived set design; flashy dance numbers to enhance the experience; the plays themes remain incredibly relevant.Cons: I felt the play dragged in places and could have used a bit more energy. Occasionally the noise from the adjoining pub distracts from the play’s more subtle moments. Our Verdict: An excellent production of one of the Bard’s lesser-known plays. The play’s dark and sinister themes ...

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Love’s Labour’s Lost, Old Red Lion Theatre

William Shakespeare Directed by Grassroots Shakespeare London ★★★★ Pros: A pacey, modern production with plenty of humour and excellent comic moments. There is a lot of really enjoyable character interpretation, which adds a colour and relevance to the script. Cons: In delivering the prose in modern voice and comic character, at times the diction was unclear and parts of the story were lost. The blind casting worked better for some characters than for others. Our Verdict: A very enjoyable version ...

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Waiting on Shakespeare, The Courtyard

Michael Harry Directed by Christopher Jefferies ★★★ Pros: A fun window into the world of Elizabethan acting and its famous historical characters. Cons: In an attempt to include interesting historical facts and insight, the script was clunky in places, giving the tone of a school history lesson. Our Verdict: A brilliant homage to the revered Samuel Beckett and his respected Waiting for Godot, as well as to the period and playwright to which we owe much of England’s theatrical gravitas. ...

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A Bit of a Hitch, The Courtyard

Written and directed by Michael Harry ★★★ Pros: A fun and light nod to Alfred Hitchcock and his legendary cinematic oeuvre with just enough tongue-in-cheek perspective on the mild absurdity of some of his plots, themes and characters. Cons: In the attempt to ‘cram’ as ‘many classic scenes’ as possible into ‘a piece that should however stand up on its own’ (Michael Harry), the plot was less cohesive than I would have liked. Our Verdict: An entertaining piece that cleverly ...

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