Review: Poet in da Corner, Royal Court

I correct the error of missing the vibrant energy of Debris Stevenson’s Poet in da Corner at the Royal Court

“You writing lyrics about me?”

Debris Stevenson is a multi-hyphenate of a different order – grime poet, academic, dancer and now playwright as her 2018 hit show Poet in da Corner returns to the Royal Court ahead of a UK tour. I didn’t catch it then, not having ever listened to Dizzee Rascal’s album Boy in da Corner meaning that it didn’t have instant appeal but on this evidence, I was clearly wrong to have given it a miss, its vibrant energy thrilling to behold in this richly theatrical space.

Sitting in the realm of semi-autobiography, Stevenson’s story focuses on her East London upbringing in a Mormon household where schooltime meant working through being bullied, her dyslexia and the need to test her sexuality. At a moment of particular despair, she’s given a copy that Dizzee Rascal album and it is like a light is switched on, grime offering her a way to build her confidence and explore all of those feelings, discover who she really is. Continue reading “Review: Poet in da Corner, Royal Court”

20 shows to look forward to in 2019

So many of the recommendations for shows to see next year focus on the West End. And for sure, I’m excited to catch big ticket numbers like All About Eve, Come From Away, and Waitress but I wanted to cast my eye a little further afield, so here’s my top tips for shows on the London fringe (plus one from the Barbican) and across the UK.

1 Medea, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam at the Barbican
Simon Stone’s sleekly contemporary recasting of Euripides is straight up amazing. Anchored by a storming performance from Marieke Heebink, it is as beautiful and brutal as they come. It’s also one of the few plays that has legit made me go ‘oh no’ out loud once a particular penny dropped. My review from 2014 is here but do yourself a favour and don’t read it until you’ve seen it.

Macbeth, Watermill Theatre
2018 saw some disappointing Macbeths and I was thus ready to swear off the play for 2019. But the Watermill Ensemble’s decision to tackle the play will certainly break that resolve, Paul Hart’s innovative direction of this spectacular actor-musician team will surely break the hoodoo…

3 Noughts and Crosses, Derby Theatre, and touring
Pilot Theatre follow on from their strong Brighton Rock with this Malory Blackman adaptation by Sabrina Mahfouz, a Young Adult story but one which promises to speak to us all. Continue reading “20 shows to look forward to in 2019”