Review: This Much (or an act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage), Soho Theatre

“Put it away, someone might see!”

What does marriage equality really mean for gay relationships? A chance to just be like straight people, to perhaps repeat the patterns of our parents, or something more, something different. This tension is where John Fitzpatrick locates his play This Much (or an act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage), seen in Edinburgh last summer and now making its bow in the Soho Theatre’s upstairs space.

And it’s Gar doesn’t know what he wants – living with his partner Anthony who keeps dropping hints about how many kids he wants (4) and how nice it would be to get hitched, and conducting a fling with online hook-up Albert who’s more interested in the most daring place he can flash his cock. Caught between the two men, the stability of one and the sexual excitement of the other, Gar is forced to confront what he really wants from life. Continue reading “Review: This Much (or an act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage), Soho Theatre”

Review: The Winter’s Tale, Crucible

 “There’s some ill planet reigns”

Sheffield’s autumnal Shakespeares have become something of a yearly institution and a regular fixture in my theatregoing diary. This year sees The Winter’s Tale arrive at the Crucible with something of a less starry cast than in previous years (although Barbara Marten and Claire Price were both strong draws for us) and the return of director Paul Miller to the series, after his Hamlet back in 2010. Sad to say though, this was not for me – the atmosphere hampered by a sadly sparse matinée audience but the production also full of choices that just didn’t appeal.

Shakespeare’s late play relies on the careful balancing of two halves – Sicilia’s dark tragedy and Bohemia’s pastoral vibrancy, the pain of simmering jealousy against the freshness of new love. But though they must complement each other, they need to effectively stand alone as well and Miller struggles with his opening act. The sparseness of Simon Daw’s design places the focus strictly on the interactions of his actors, but his preferred method of placing them at some distance from each other on the large stage estranges them too much, both from each other and from the audience. Continue reading “Review: The Winter’s Tale, Crucible”