News: Papatango announce winning monologues for Isolated But Open – Voices From Across The Shutdown

Papatango Theatre Company has announced the ten winning monologues from their Isolated But Open – Voices From Across The Shutdown initiative. Filmed performances of the monologues are available now for free on Papatango’s website (https://papatango.co.uk/isolated-but-open/), alongside the publication of each monologue as a free online PDF by Nick Hern Books.

The winning monologues were chosen from 2,063 submissions.

They are: Continue reading “News: Papatango announce winning monologues for Isolated But Open – Voices From Across The Shutdown”

Gif Reviews: B + Victory Condition, Royal Court

The Royal Court continues to shake things up under Vicky Featherstone’s reign, offering two shorter plays (though not for the price of one) which are running in rep. Guillermo Calderón’s B and Chris Thorpe’s Victory Condition are both interesting in their own ways but whether it was me being grumpy, a slightly flat atmosphere or something more, neither drama really did it for me. So we’re keeping it brief!

B

Victory Condition

Review: The Rover, Swan

“Come, put off this dull humour with your clothes, and assume one as gay and as fantastic as the dress my cousin Valeria and I have provided, and let’s ramble”

I’ve not been heading up to the RSC with that much regularity recently, but I’ll go anywhere for Alexandra Gilbreath and given that The Rover had the added bonus of Joseph Millson, the trip was a no-brainer. It also helped that it was written and directed by women, not that frequent an occurrence in Stratford. And written not just by any woman, Aphra Behn was one of the first professional female playwrights and this play dates from 1677.

And directed by Loveday Ingram, it is a sprightly bit of fun indeed. Set in the heady mist of carnival time, all bets are off as the normal rules of society are suspended. Three sisters disguise themselves to escape the strict futures ahead of them, and a group of Englishmen arrive in port ready and willing to create the lads on tour archetype. Chief among the sisters is Hellena, due to enter a nunnery so more than happy to make the acquaintance of the rakish and randy Willmore. Continue reading “Review: The Rover, Swan”

Review: How To Hold Your Breath, Royal Court

“I thought when it came to it, I would be good at it”

Despite the fact that I really wasn’t a fan of How To Hold Your Breath, I can’t help but be impressed by the way that Vicky Featherstone really has shaken up the Royal Court since taking over as Artistic Director last year. The diversity in programming may mean that there’s no such thing as a safe bet there any more (something to play havoc with those who carefully book everything months in advance) but there’s something thrilling about that unpredictability, and also the variety that it thus lends to people’s theatregoing.

Turning into more of a lucky dip does mean that you’re not always going to pick a winner and such was the case for me with ZInnie Harris’ new work. A densely written and constructed play, it imagines a Europe swallowed whole by a new financial crisis and leaving the remnants of society to fend for themselves, turned into refugees fighting to cross the border into Istanbul or gain passage on rickety ships bound for Alexandria. With a seductive demon on one shoulder and her pregnant sister on the other, Maxine Peake’s Dana finds herself forced into that such a journey. Continue reading “Review: How To Hold Your Breath, Royal Court”

Review: The House That Will Not Stand, Tricycle

“A decent woman never talks about two things: her age and her lovers”

Ensembles that offer multiple opportunities for middle-aged women of colour (apologies for the clunky description) are few and far between so I think it is important to acknowledge Indhu Rubasingham’s efforts in bringing The House That Will Not Stand to the Tricycle for that alone. That Marcus Garvey’s play turns out to delve into a fascinating and under-explored period in history thus feels like something of a Brucie bonus.

It’s New Orleans in 1836 and Lazare Albans has died. As mistress to this rich white man, the fiercely proud Beartrice has become wealthy in her own right and under the relatively liberal system of plaçage, she and their three daughters are free women and stand to receive a grand inheritance. But as Louisiana changes hands from the French to the Yankees, so too do the prevailing US attitudes towards slavery glower on the horizon and threatens the position of all people of colour in a state that had somehow bucked the trend in race relations.

Continue reading “Review: The House That Will Not Stand, Tricycle”

Review: Circles, Tricycle

“If you’re just circling and I’m trekking all the way to Bourneville, we can just chill innit”

Split between the top deck of the Number 11 bus and the front room of a regular terrace house, Rachel De-lahay’s Circles comes to the Tricycle after a well-received run at the Birmingham Rep Theatre. Tightly coiled into 70 minutes and two interlocking narratives, it is a fierce shot in the arm that reminds us just how easily people get sucked into cycles of violence and how incredibly difficult it can be to break out of them.

Until recently, the number 11 bus service in Birmingham was the longest in Europe and to do a full circuit at just under two and a half hours was considered a rite of passage. 15 year old Demi uses it as an escape from the drudgery of her home life but a meeting with equally teenaged Malachi – his cocky swagger barely hiding his true marshmallow self – offers something different from the same routine. But for all the sweet romance that seems to build up as a connection of sorts is formed between the pair, is it all as innocuous as it seems? Continue reading “Review: Circles, Tricycle”