Review: The Good Landlord, VAULT Festival

Strong performances elevate Michael Ross’ play The Good Landlord at the VAULT Festival

“We can see Big fucking Ben from the kitchen window and its only £400 a month”

Michael Ross’ The Good Landlord opens with Tom and Ed at a flat viewing that feels too good to be true – amazing central location, a pittance of a rent, and a benevolent landlord determined to make this kind of London living affordable for recent graduates. “What’s the catch” they jokingly ask the letting agent and sure enough one emerges, as security cameras have been installed throughout the property and won’t ever been turned off.

Thus the scene is set to tackle the growing surveillance state and London’s housing crisis, particularly for renters, and Cat Robey’s production is a fresh and occasionally funny take on this. Maximillian Davey’s introverted Tom recoils from every potential move captured on camera and Rupert Sadler’s wildly gregarious Ed pretty much revels in it, lapping up the perceived attention as if it is the audition of a lifetime. Continue reading “Review: The Good Landlord, VAULT Festival”

Review: Sheltered, Tabard

“This is the only reason I look forward to Christmas Day”

Those looking for a little counterintuitive Christmas theatre programming could do worse than head over to Turnham Green where a middle class Christmas Day dinner descends into a cross between Abigail’s Party and The Hunger Games. Greg A Smith’s Sheltered is a spikily amusing play about “the homeless and the heartless” and delivers its twists and turns with skill in Stuart Watson’s production for Against the Grain at the Tabard Theatre.

From the outset, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be your traditional Christmas Day as would-be YouTube celebrity Jenna sets up a hidden camera in anticipation of some major pranking, and her parents Tamsin and Harry welcome in their special guest – a homeless guy called Rory, the fifth such person they’ve invited in in what has become an annual tradition, goodwill to all men indeed. As the goose roasts, the parsnips get honeyed and the party games come out, the atmosphere becomes increasingly charged and we soon find out why. Continue reading “Review: Sheltered, Tabard”