Home » Author Archives: Brian Penn (page 6)

Author Archives: Brian Penn

Original Death Rabbit, Jermyn Street Theatre – Review

Pros: The beguiling Kimberly Nixon mastering some tightly packed dialogue. Cons: The script is occasionally patronising, diminishing what is otherwise a smartly observed piece. I always feel a quiet burst of pride when among the first to see a new play. So I can now say I was there for the Original Death Rabbit at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Rose Heiney (of Fresh Meat fame) adapted her original Radio 4 play for the stage and has produced a dark and ...

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RETURN OF THE REGGIES (Part 2)

Best play is the blue ribbon award for the Reggies; the genre that originally gave the fringe its profile. In third place is Wipers Times at the Arts Theatre. Co-written by Ian Hislop, the play is a glorious mix of comedy, pathos and drama as the human cost of war is laid bare. In second place, Tiny Dynamite at the Old Red Lion. A play from the pen of Abi Morgan does exactly what it says on the tin. A ...

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RETURN OF THE REGGIES (Part 1)

Such was the reaction to last year’s Reggies, we felt compelled to beg Brian to stage a sequel; so yes, we are proud to announce that the Reggies are back. Newly expanded to a ridiculously comprehensive seven categories, it’s a barometer of the best in London theatre during 2018. There may be only one person bestowing the Reggies, but there is a slavish dedication to fairness; sleepless nights agonising over who should be in, who should be out; yes Brian ...

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Burke and Hare, Jermyn Street Theatre – Review

Pros: A wonderfully talented cast happily connecting with the audience. Cons: Multiple characters and minimal costume changes occasionally makes the action difficult to follow. The story of Burke and Hare has been regularly plundered for TV dramas, documentaries and two big screen versions, the most recent of which starred Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg. It’s not difficult to see why, as it remains a cracking yarn based on true events. The play tells of the titular characters that embarked on ...

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Urinetown, Bridewell Theatre – Review

Pros: A talented and tuneful cast making the most of a limited performance area. Cons: A low key Act I suffers in comparison with a sparkling Act II which emits a genuine West End feel. Urinetown is hardly the most obvious title for a musical, but its purpose soon becomes apparent as an antidote to the sugar coated fayre common to the genre. The show made its debut off Broadway in 2001 and went on to win two Tonies and ...

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Love Lies Bleeding, Print Room at the Coronet – Review

Pros: An excellent cast of familiar faces give the play a much needed boost. Cons: A beautiful venue in serious need of refurbishment and a script requiring similar tender loving care. I feel quietly reassured when a Grade II listed building is purchased and restored to its original function. The Coronet in Notting Hill Gate is one such example. Designed by legendary theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague it opened with royal patronage in 1898 and hosted a variety of productions until ...

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Billy Bishop Goes to War, Jermyn Street Theatre – Review

Pros: An engrossing war story brilliantly told by a two man cast. Cons: A disappointingly camp cabaret section at the start of Act II looks out of place and disturbs the story’s tone. There are subtle reminders that November has arrived: the clocks go back, street lights flicker into life earlier and Christmas adverts creep onto TV screens. Another permanent reminder is Remembrance Sunday. Billy Bishop Goes To War gives a very personal account of the titular character, told by his ...

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The Wipers Times, The Arts Theatre – Review

Pros: A wonderfully evocative script that allows an excellent cast to explore the humour, pathos and downright brutality of war. Cons: Some time might have been shaved off the 2 hours 10 minute duration for a more streamlined production. Sunday 11 November 2018 marks a significant centenary in the annuls of human conflict. One hundred years have now passed since the Armistice was signed formally ending World War I. The Great War was one of the bloodiest, claiming 17 million ...

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The Wolves of Erin, Old Red Lion Theatre – Review

Pros: A sparky performance from the cast using physicality to strengthen a weak script. Cons: Disappointingly weak plotting, and a complete lack of suspense in a play that pitches horror as its central theme. Presented as part of the London Horror Festival, The Wolves of Erin tells a folk horror story in the vein of classic movies like Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man, two brilliant examples of the genre that naturally sets the bar very high. Curiously, the story begins in Northern ...

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War with the Newts, The Bunker – Review

Pro’s: A bright young cast with a concept that dares to be different. Con’s: The promise of an immersive experience never quite materialises in the true sense of the word. Southwark Street is fast becoming South London’s answer to the North’s Upper Street. The Bunker, Menier Chocolate Factory and Katzpace, three fringe theatres all located within a five minute walk of each other. Tonight The Bunker certainly lived up to its name, situated at the end of a long ramp ...

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