Review: The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen, VAULT Festival

I go and see The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen at the VAULT Festival and end up playing a tree with killer leaves

“What noise does purple make?”

Many things happened at The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen, but I’m sure you’ll agree that me making my VAULT Festival stage debut is one of the most noteworthy 😉 It just goes to show that even though that this is a family-friendly improv show with its eye on the kids in the audience, the adults alongside them have no chance of escaping being a significant part of the fun as well.

Like so many improvised shows, there’s a simple set-up. Three storytellers taking it in turns to come up with an adventure story based on an idea drawn from a hat and followed up by a series of audience suggestions which, given the imaginative freedom of the young, are as outlandish and random as they are really quite amusing, once woven into the tales by these talented comedians (Lord Lovell, Admiral Seward and Lady Brooke I think it was at this show). Continue reading “Review: The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen, VAULT Festival”

Review: Mr. Henry Moss – QUADRUPLE THRE4T, VAULT Festival

Mr. Henry Moss – QUADRUPLE THRE4T makes for a fun hour of queer Aussie humour at the VAULT Festival

“Did you know one in five artists are an absolute dickhead”

It’s a shame Mr. Henry Moss – QUADRUPLE THRE4T only ran for one weekend at the VAULT Festival as his brand of irrepressibly warm cabaret has a real uplifting charm about it. It’s a relatively simple format – would-be musical theatre legend Harry Ledgerman is launching his new celebrity memoir with his talent agency manager wife Kristal Lee by his side and any number of friends who’ve come along to also share their secrets to becoming successful.

Naturally though, success is relative and Moss’ collection of misfits  – for he plays them all – are all wonderfully deluded in their own special way. Thus the scene is set for a rapidfire kick ball change through many aspects of showbusiness, accompanied by some nifty moves (check that Chorus Line choreography) and some uncanny vocal performances as Adele, Ricky Martin and Britney sit alongside Elphaba, Piaf and Dame Judi herself. Continue reading “Review: Mr. Henry Moss – QUADRUPLE THRE4T, VAULT Festival”

Review: Essence, VAULT Festival

Just a quickie for this as it felt a bit more work-in-progress than much else I’ve seen at the VAULT Festival. Essence marks the latest work from frequent collaborators Sarah Henley and Tori Allen-Martin and is supported by The CULTIVATE Bursary, in Association with COMMON and the Newbury Corn Exchange.

A tight two-hander set in Peckham, it takes the form of an odd couple play as early 30s semi-recluse Elyot has his methodical routine shattered by the arrival of teenager Laquaya breaking into his flat. She claims an intimate connection between the two and even as he denies its possibility, they discover other ties that bind. Continue reading “Review: Essence, VAULT Festival”

Review: Nearly Human, VAULT Festival

This ain’t your regular brass band… Perhaps Contraption’s wonderfully different Nearly Human is a triumph at the VAULT Festival

“We are, each of us, a little universe”

Nine brass band musicians walk into a fringe theatre and what do you get? You will never, in a hundred years, guess. Rather unhelpfully for a reviewer, Perhaps Contraption’s Nearly Human is one of those shows that pretty much defies description. But then, should we expect anything different from a group that describes themselves as “part choir, part chamber orchestra, part avant rock troupe” and influenced by “jazz, punk, art pop and post-minimalism”.

Nevertheless, I’ll give it a go, as I can’t remember feeling as startlingly and strangely exhilarated as I did here. Drawing on the work of cosmologist Carl Sagan, Nearly Human straddles an intersection between performance art, live theatre and music to create its own state of being, which punts concert hall convention way over to the other side of the universe. I mean, even just to watch these musicians play with such physical abandon feels like a treat (call me, Mr Orange Trombone man – swoon). Continue reading “Review: Nearly Human, VAULT Festival”

February news round-up

Lots to catch up on so here’s a quick round-up of some upcoming concerts and events that could well be worth your time

If you’re looking for the more social side of things to go along with your theatregoing, then have a look here. Getgo Club is like a book club for theatre. Each month they take members to amazing London theatre & host a pre-show mingle, followed by a post-show discussion. The event is curated and hosted by working artists who will  ensure that discussions take place in a safe, fun, & open environment. Members also receive extra goodies such as discounts on tickets & drinks. All for £5!

Getgo Club is a great way to join a community of arts lovers, and head to a variety of theatre as a group. It has  and The first meet-up is at the end of February and I hear they have very limited spaces left so why not find out more here or even just apply directly for a membership here.

The visibility of mental health support has never felt more important and so it is good to see events raising awareness and much-needed funds popping up. Simply Live is a cabaret in aid of Industry Minds, who provide free and low cost mental health support to anyone in the creative arts through therapy, seminars and other useful tools.

Takiig place at Bunga Bunga Covent Garden, on Sunday 15th March, they have already announced a promising line-up which includes Grace Mouat, Cameron Burt, Tom Gill, Hannah-Grace Lawson, Vanity von Glow, and Claire O’Leary. Follow the event on Twitter or Instagram and then book your places here to support this great organisation.

Ahead of a revival at the Hope Mill next month, Zorro the Musical revisits London with a one-off concert recital at Cadogan Hall with London Musical Theatre Orchestra & Chorus and a tip-top cast including the glorious Emma Williams reprising her original role and therefore singing the beautiful song ‘Falling’.    

The full cast is Ricardo Afonso (Zorro/Diego), Emma Williams (Luisa), Lesli Margherita (Inez), Robert Tripolino (Ramon) and Zubin Varla (Don Alejandro). Also appearing will be Catarina Amaral, Daniel Amity, Charlotte Clitherow, Richard James-King, Danny Lane, James Leeman, Lauren Lockley, Matthew McDonald, Mia Michaud, Grace Mouat, Rebecca Ridout, Justine Saville, Margarida Silva, Joe Thompson-Oubari, Richard Upton and Enrico Volpi.

Also working the one-off concert vibe on Sunday is The Pirate Queen, as Boublil And Schönberg’s musical is revived for a charity gala at the London Coliseum with proceeds going to Leukaemia UK. Most exciting for me is the return of Hannah Waddingham to a stage

Main cast
Rachel Tucker (Grace O’Malley), Hannah Waddingham (Queen Elizabeth I), Steph Parry (Majella), Emma Norman (Evleen), Earl Carpenter (Dubhdara), Daniel Boys (Lord Bingham), ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner Jai McDowall (Tiernan) and Matthew Pagan (Donal) from Collabro.

Featured ensemble
Pearce Barron, Jamie Birkett, Trudi Camilleri, Sabrina Carter, Shaun Dalton, Adam Dawson, Callum Heinrich, Jade Johnson, Harry Mills, Charlotte Payne, Sophie Reeves, and Jak Skelly

Skye Adams, Thomas Ball, Jeremy Batt, Mary-Jean Caldwell, Sinead O’Callaghan, Christopher Cameron, Jordan Castle, Alfie Doohan, Charlie Ellerton,  Judicel Eslao, Nicola Espallardo, Amy Everett, Lois Morgan Gay, Aidan Harkins, Siwan Henderson, Hannah-Grace Lawson, James Mateo-Salt, Scarlett Maltman, Ethan Tanner, Harry Winchester,  and Cristian Zaccarini.

There’s also a concert version of The Secret Garden (not taking place on Sunday, it’s the 4th April for this one) which is aiming to fill the London Palladium with its lead cast of Lucie Jones, Ramin Karimloo and Jac Yarrow.

Also appearing in the show will be Sarah Bakker (Rose), Bianca Baykara (Alice), Adam J Bernard (Ben Weatherstaff), Lucy Drever (Narrator), Louise Ellard-Turnbull (Mrs Winthrop), Ben Forster (Neville Craven), Sejal Keshwala (Ayah), Melanie La Barrie (Mrs Medlock), Johndeep More (Fakir), Michael Riseley (Captain Albert Lennox), Celinde Schoenmaker (Lily), and sharing the roles of Colin Craven are Finley Glasgow and Isaac Lancel Watkinson, and of Mary are Aoife Hughes and Darcy Jacobs, with Trinity Laban Musical Theatre forming the ensemble.

With Mean Girls due to arrive in the West End in Spring 2021, the folks at Official Theatre managed to get our hands on the Plastics latest Burn Book and it’s full of burns and gossip about some of the West End’s favourite characters! No one escapes the wrath of Regina and Co, from the characters of Wicked and & Juliet, to James McAvoy’s Cyrano de Bergerac and even Henry VIII from SIX (well, sort of).

Take a look at the full West End Burn Book here. Could you do better? They’re looking for the best ‘burns‘ for some of the other characters in London theatre and you might even get added into the book itself.

Review: Dual دوگانه, VAULT Festival

Peyvand Sadeghian tests the limits of what a one-person show can achieve in the achingly personal Dual دوگانه at the VAULT Festival

“What if I had grown up there instead of here?”

There’s a cracking energy at the heart of Dual دوگانه  that marks it out from many of the other solo shows that pepper the programme at the VAULT Festival, really testing the limits of what a one-person show can achieve. Spoken word lip synching, (videoed) puppetry and animation, gameshows, audience-led revolutions, drag performance, poetry, pop – there’s whole worlds packed into this hour.

Writer/performer Peyvand Sadeghian draws deeply from her personal history here. Born in Canning Town to mixed heritage, the process of becoming a naturalised British citizen age 8 threw up issues when trying to visit her extended family in Iran a couple of years later. Not accepting British citizenship there, she had to get an Iranian passport, and name, and somehow ensure safe passage home, all laying further claim to an already tangled identity. Continue reading “Review: Dual دوگانه, VAULT Festival”

News: the National Theatre announces 9 new productions for 2020-21

Lots of exciting news coming out of the National Theatre today, including actors Nicola Walker, Giles Terera and Kristin Scott Thomas, directors Simon Stone, Lynette Linton and Nicole Charles, and returns for Small Island, Beginning and The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The National Theatre has today announced nine productions that will play on the South Bank in 2020-2021 alongside previously announced shows. These run alongside their international touring productions, three plays that will tour to multiple venues across the UK and a West End transfer. The NT also announces today that it will increase the quantity of low-price tickets on the South Bank by 25%, with 250,000 available across the year at £20 or less.

© Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

In the Olivier Theatre the critically acclaimed production of Andrea Levy’s epic novel Small Island directed by Rufus Norris returns following a sold-out run in 2019. Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, the revival will run from late October 2020 with casting to be announced. Continue reading “News: the National Theatre announces 9 new productions for 2020-21”

Review: The Incident Room, New Diorama

A powerful study into the five year police investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper, The Incident Room puts important voices first at the New Diorama Theatre

“I didn’t know Yorkshiremen had it in ’em”

Olivia Hirst and David Byrne’s The Incident Room was seen in Edinburgh last summer but it arrives at the New Diorama now in an expanded version with added interval (all the more opportunity to get one of the tasty Anzac cookies from the café). And most importantly for this blog’s purposes, it stars lovely Danny from Jumpers for Goalposts, aka the equally lovely Jamie Samuel (in a policeman’s uniform, just so you know). 

But back to the matter at hand. The incident room of The Incident Room is the Millgarth Incident Room, the hub of the 1970s police manhunt for the serial killer dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper. But far from glorifying his crimes, the focus here is on the investigation itself, looking at a police force that has only just started to admit women into its ranks and also at the trials of running a major data-driven inquiry in pre-digital times. Continue reading “Review: The Incident Room, New Diorama”

Review: Flights, Omnibus Theatre

A bold and sometimes brutal look at life in small-town Ireland, Flights is running at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham now

“All the things that I could do… 
All the ways it could turn out.”

It’s either feast or famine when it comes to John O’Donovan’s play titles, from the iconic If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You to Flights, now opened at Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre after a tour of Ireland. And it is perhaps indicative of his playfulness and skill with words as evidenced in this lyrical piece set in the depths of rural Ireland.

Barry (Colin Campbell), Cusack (Conor Madden) and Pa (Rhys Dunlop) have gathered to mark the anniversary of their pal Liam’s death, something they’ve done with all their friends every year for the last 17 years. But the numbers have been dwindling and this year, on the year when he’s been dead as long as he was alive, it’s just the three of them and though there’s more booze and drugs to go round, there’s also more introspection. Continue reading “Review: Flights, Omnibus Theatre”