“When a mother loses her first-born son, I believe she’s allowed to grieve…
‘Not when she’s the Queen'”
If The Crown isn’t quite your thing, or perhaps you have a real yearning for more monarchical drama, then you could do a little worse that watching The Royals. Showing on US TV station E! as its first ever scripted series, it is wonderfully, monumentally, trashy beyond belief – I mean it has Liz Hurley as the Queen in it for Gawd’s sake – and so quite easily falls into the category of guilty pleasure.
It is essentially Sunset Beach levels of realness, through the lens of Hello Magazine, as it follows a fictional but contemporary version of the British royal family through the trials of modern life. Liz Hurley’s Queen Helena is aghast when her husband, Vincent Regan’s King Simon, announces not only does he want to abdicate the throne, but he also wants to abolish the monarchy. Dun dun duh. Continue reading “TV Review: The Royals Season 1”
“Christmas may be cancelled!”
Billed as “a theatrical adventure in Covent Garden”, the details of which we’re urged to keep secret so that future participants can experience it unspoiled, Once Upon A Christmas is Look Left Look Right’s contribution to this year’s festive fare, and what an appetising treat it makes. An interactive experience for pairs (although it can be experienced solo as well), the adventure begins at a nondescript address, tucked amongst the shops and bars of this bustling part of London, but it soon becomes clear that there’s more than meets the eye here.
For this is the elf-run headquarters of Pantoland who have been forced to walk amongst humankind in order to avert the biggest crisis of them all – the cancellation of Christmas itself. This has been caused by the shocking break-up of Cinderella and Prince Charming and the only people that can -help – well, you’ve guessed it, it’s you and your friend. And so begins a helter-skelter journey of one-on-one encounters through the nooks and crannies of Covent Garden – some considerably more salubrious than others – accompanied by some extremely familiar faces, although they might not always act exactly as you might expect.
It is a hugely charming enterprise and its fast-flowing nature – as you’re gently moved on from pillar to post to pumpkin – means that it is akin to tumbling into a winter Wonderland. A cast of eighteen excellently facilitate the journey constructed by writers Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Katie Lyons and they offer an amusingly modern take on fairytale life – a bit of vicious gossip and tweeting here, some heartbroken necking of shots there, a wickedly amusing barrow-boy monk giving excellent banter. The show envelops you in its tinsel-clad embrace from the off and though the happy ending might never really seem in doubt, why on earth would you want it to be?
Those in search of earth-shattering drama or life-changing experience might need to recalibrate their expectations for a warm-hearted daftness in what is in store here and Once Upon A Christmas is all the stronger for it. Director Mimi Poskitt has marshalled her resources excellently, there’s some genuinely striking moments of acting alongside some excellent people management – Brandy Butter definitely wins the prize here – and that it all takes place in plain sight in so public an arena lends a marvellous sense of complicity to the whole affair, weaving it seamlessly into the fabric of the long-established entertainment in the square. Great fun.
Running time: 70 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 15th December
“You can’t fix everything with a smile and some fairy dust”
The tale of Peter Pan is one which has proved timeless, but the life of its writer JM Barrie has also proved to be of enduring interest. The Hollywood film Finding Neverland dramatised (and semi-fictionalised) the relationship between Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies family who provided the main inspiration for the story and a big budget musical version of that interpretation has just finished its debut run at the Curve in Leicester ahead of a presumed forthcoming West End transfer. And in Peter, new American playwright Stacy Sobieski takes a different tack on the same story, looking at events from the eyes of Peter Llewelyn Davies: just a babe-in-arms when he became the namesake for Barrie’s new play, but a man who bore the weight of the limelight into which he had been thrust extremely heavily.
We first see Peter as an adult, an enigmatic figure in a darkened room setting light to a basketful of papers, and then swiftly leap back to 1987 and the beginnings of Barrie’s insinuation into the Llewelyn Davies family life. Sobieski tells this story through to the sad end of the childhood of the four boys but intercuts it with scenes from adult Peter’s life, as he meets up again with his boyhood nanny and reveals what impact being “the boy who never grew up” has had, and continues to have on his life. Continue reading “Review: Peter, LOST Theatre”