Mon, 14/08/2017

Returning to the Liquid Rooms, Stuart Goldsmith invites us into the joys of married life and new parenthood. The teething problems of fatherhood, and adapting to married life have given Goldsmith a show so routed in inner truth that from the outside, it’s his most structured to date. By ‘structured’, I don’t mean formulaic; more with each observation and story, his stream of consciousness seems so fluid that the asides and after thoughts come thick and fast. In short, Goldsmith’s seems to be in complete control and despite his complaining, is enjoying sharing the fact that he’s the…

Sun, 13/08/2017

John Robins has had a pretty bad year. His long term girlfriend has dumped him and he’s now living alone (at the self named Grief Mansions), contemplating his increasingly bleak future. It’s the perfect setting for his trademark sarcasm, and this year’s show delves into a kind of self loathing that is both cringeworthy and evocative of sympathy. The material contained in this part of the show is well structured and accessible, and Robins draws the hour together with a clever reference to how the old Halifax commercials ought to be more honest about where relationships go instead of giving…

Sat, 12/08/2017

23 year old comedian Edd Hedges (Winner of 'So You Think You're Funny') has created a show which divides into definite sections; conventional circuit stand-up and storytelling. In the first half we hear about his crushing insecurities as a youngster, from his lack of sporting achievements (he’s even brought a childhood trophy for clubsman of the year…note this is not awarded for the technical skills of cricket) and his struggles with the school bully, to his relationship with his parents growing up in a tiny rural village. Having set up the location, dressing the scene with personal…

Fri, 11/08/2017

On entering a space that is already small and dark, to find it is full of TV screens reflecting the audience back at themselves, makes the room smaller still, and claustrophobic with it. What Goes On In Front of Closed Doors is a one woman show examining the life of Molly who, due to a number of events, ends up homeless living on the street. The piece is both funny, moving and at times, frightening. 

The action is fast paced, beginning in 2012 and concluding four years later; we meet a young girl in the throes of puberty, preoccupied with the amount of hair on her arms, and watch…

Fri, 11/08/2017

On the face of it Suzi Ruffell’s hour might seem simple. The journey of a working class lesbian from Portsmouth moving to London and elevating herself into the middle class liberal elite. Pretty safe material, right? Wrong! The show is delivered with such energy and brutal honesty that one can’t help but be drawn into her anxieties, self-awareness and open demonstration of what makes her ‘her’. There is very little stillness on stage as she continually paces around her space, injecting a sense of slight paranoia to proceedings; and when you combine this with the bucketload of physical…

Fri, 11/08/2017

Finding myself the only woman in a wall of men flanking the stage right side of Ed Gamble’s audience last night, I was feeling awkward before the show even began. In comparison to last year’s audience, there was a marked contrast in both gender and age ratio; so with Santa in the front row, Gamble in skater shorts and a metal jacket embarked on an hour of appearance, identity and social placement. 

The delightful thing about Gamble’s material is the openness with which he embraces where he comes from and how he wants to fit into the world he lives in. These days it’s refreshing to…

Thu, 10/08/2017

These days it’s so easy to take a look at a flyer, or see a ten minute set on TV and pigeonhole a comedian into a certain category. I say this because with Brennan Reece, a young comedian from Manchester whose debut hour last year ‘Everglow’, caused a stir and landed him a nomination for Best Newcomer at last year’s fringe; is most definitely not what you expect. On the surface he fits somewhere in a category alongside several fresh-faced young male comedians, many of whom build their set around relationships, lads nights and crazy antics. Not so with Reece, which is why I find myself…

Wed, 09/08/2017
Photograph: Helen Maybanks

Set predominantly in New York City, Tony Kushner’s ‘Angels in America’ is a powerful and raw exploration of homosexuality and AIDS towards the end of 1985 into 1990. The current production follows an earlier incarnation, also at the National, which began with Part 1 ‘Millennium Approaches’ in January 1992, whilst ‘Perestroika’ was still in development; and subsequently upon its completion, both parts ran in rep at the Cottesloe. On Broadway the play ran through 1993 to the end of 1994, following early workshops in Los Angeles; and with additional revisions made…

Thu, 27/07/2017
Photograph: Johan Persson

The first 'main house' musical of Daniel Evans’ inaugural season as Artistic Director at CFT was greeted with rapturous applause and seemingly endless praise from its audience at press night. The production has a dynamic contrast between the comedic and the tragic; focusing on clarity of plot and development of character to draw the audience into the story and evoke our empathy. Indeed the events which unfold amongst the small, close community of Anatevka cannot help but remind us that conflicts of a religious nature will sadly always be relevant to our times. In…

Wed, 05/04/2017

RUN features a cast of 5 male dancers performing a triple bill of work, choreographed by women, exploring the idea of fear and the human response to it. Opening the evening was “From Above”, choreographed by Tamsin Fitzgerald. Exploring the struggle of retaining your identity amidst a world of social media, and how our opinions can be so easily manipulated by the collective culture around us. In much the same way the internet bears down on us, the dancers conjure an extra character within the piece; the space. Always engaging with their environment and responding to their surroundings, it'…