Review: The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Criterion

If I want to have a good laugh, I’d listen to this

or watch this

or listen to this

and Jennifer Garner’s laugh at 1.30 is my happy place

If I want to have a good laugh, I would not go back to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, for it really wasn’t my cup of tea, at all. My first experience of the inordinately successful Mischief Theatre Company but one which I reacted viscerally to, knowing pretty early that it wasn’t for me as it took a gag, repeated it, and then again, and then again, flogging it to death like Louise Mensch and someone, anyone, speaking common sense. How people manage more than 20 minutes of it, I don’t know. But that’s the beauty of comedy (and theatre), one man’s Airplane is another man’s [insert pretty much any Adam Sandler film]. 

Hell, I can’t even make it through Ed Balls and Katya Jones’s Gangnam Style dance with giggling helplessly

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 29th October 2017

Review: Mercury Fur, Old Red Lion

Sarcasm will get you shot

Philip Ridley’s ‘moment’ in London continues with this Greenhouse Theatre Company production of Mercury Fur, which follows the Arcola’s Pitchfork Disney and the Southwark Playhouse’s current Shivered and forthcoming return of Tender Napalm. This desolate tale of a society, not so different from our own, on the edge of collapse is often brutally, crushingly dark as a group of young adults make an existence for themselves in any way they can, even in the most horrifying of ways.

Tucked away in a derelict council flat, brothers Elliot and Darren are setting up for a party organised by the ruthless Spinx to fulfil the request of the ‘Party Guest’. But as it becomes clear what kind of event has been arranged and what terrible desires are being sated, the relentless drive to the disturbing climax takes an appalling twist. But even in the midst of this dystopian, drug-fuelled nightmare, Ridley offers us glimmers of hope: buds of love, friendship, tenderness poke their way through the charred remnants of this world but have to fight incredibly hard. Continue reading “Review: Mercury Fur, Old Red Lion”

Not-a-Review: Arcadia, LAMDA at Lyric Hammersmith

“It’s the wanting to know that makes us matter”

Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia was an unexpected pleasure for me when I first saw it in the summer of 2009 at the Duke of York’s Theatre: I booked not knowing anything about it, easily seduced by the luxury casting, but was blown away by a play of unexpected intelligence and feeling, something of a rarity in the commercial West End. So when it was announced that as part of their final year showcases, LAMDA students were putting on four shows – free of charge – at the Lyric Hammersmith, one of which was Arcadia, the chance to revisit a good play and potentially spot some stars of the future could not be resisted by a [insert correct collective noun for a group of Twitter theatre nerds] of us: I’ve opted to restrict myself to a few remarks rather than an all-out review.

Predictably this production came nowhere near the dizzy heights of the West End production, it was never likely to to be honest, but it did seem a curious choice as a play for showcasing as it didn’t seem like a natural fit for the talent here – too many cases of square pegs being asked to fit round holes especially in trying to portray a wide range of ages from a single cohort. Some of the actors were able to rise above their miscasting to still deliver strong performances but others fell short, unable to convince of the age they were trying to play, mainly through failing to extend their performances right down to the physicality of the characters. Likewise some of the humour of Stoppard’s writing got lost in the delivery and so this Arcadia never really caught fire, never enraptured me to the point where I forgot I was watching a student performance as I have previously done. Continue reading “Not-a-Review: Arcadia, LAMDA at Lyric Hammersmith”