Sunday, 7 August 2016

'Bugsy Malone' Lyric Hammersmith ****

Like I have expressed in previous critiques on shows, it is always wonderful to have childhood memories come flowing back and a musical whether on stage or in a musical film is exactly on those adolescent remembrances. The Lyric Hammersmith’s production of Alan Parker and Paul Williams’ 1970’s musical, ‘Bugsy Malone’ is without any shadow of a doubt a magnificent revival that recaptures those cherished childhood memories to such exuberance, in addition to this, the offerings were flawlessly conveyed.  

‘Bugsy Malone’ is set as we all know is in the 1920’s gangster underworld where we’re familiarised with two dim-witted gangs who are managed by their leaders, Fat Sam and Dandy Dan (Archie Barnes/Alesandro Bonelli/Oliver Emery) who are trying to fight for a most treasured weapon called the Splurge Gun.  Struggling boxing promoter, Bugsy Malone becomes infatuated with singer, Blousey Brown who has series ambitions of becoming a Hollywood star and wants to be given a chance to sing at Fat Sam’s club called, ‘Fat Sam’s speakeasy’, however, Blousey has some competition for Bugsy’s affections and it is the club’s leading performer, Tallulah. As such; there is a bitter rivalry that forms between the two girls as Bugsy is quite the charmer.  Over the course of the performance, Fat Sam is really besieged with worry as many of his gang members are being killed with the Splurge Gun and he hires Bugsy to help him reign victorious over Dandy Dan’s gang. With this, Bugsy then promises to Blousey that he will take her to Hollywood with the money he has earned from Fat Sam. As the battle intensifies, it appears that Fat Sam is not prioritising his club and due to this when Fizzy (Elliot Aubrey/Denzel Eboji/Meki Manu) asks Sam for an audition to be a dancer; Sam is too preoccupied to grant him one.  As the search for the for the Splurge Gun becomes more and more of a priority, Bugsy seeks out his boxing pals and some of the unemployed men such as; Babyface (Emily Beacock/Jaydah Bell-Ricketts/Leah Leyman) to outmatch that of Dandy Dan. With regards to Bugsy and Blousey’s relationship, he keeps breaking his promises to take Blousey to Hollywood; nonetheless, with the money he has earned from Fat Sam he finally comes up with the goods to take Blousey to Hollywood, this means that he must love her to pieces.  The main battle comes to an almighty head where Dandy Dan blusters into Fat Sam’s club and all hell explodes and the two gangs use Splurge Guns and cream pies and at the finale, the two gangs do find a common ground with one another and they do end up seeking some friendship with a big song and dance piece that we can all get involved with. Parker’s narrative is brilliant as the slapstick comedy does flow similarly to the film version and the music and lyrics from Williams does make you appreciate that you had as a child and musical numbers like; “Fat Sam’s Grand Slam”, “Tomorrow”, “So You Wanna Be A Boxer” and “You Give A Little Love” really captured the spirit of the family musical.

One found the performances by the company of, ‘Bugsy Malone’ to be stupendous as the whole company is fundamentally children apart from the ensemble and it is delightful to see the professionalism that these children have as it looks like they have been doing this for decades, not just a matter of years. Mark Charles/Louis Doran/Adryan Dorset-Pitt is amazing as Bugsy Malone; in particular how we see him trying to earn money through unsavoury means, yet I liked how he come across in the “Down and Out” sequence where we see that he really wants to help those unemployed to feel wanted and the scenes with Blousey were pretty cool. Danya Cherry/Chapman Dixon/Tabitha Knowles/Georgia Pemberton is terrific as Bugsy’s love interest, Blousey Brown; specifically how we see her dreams of superstardom start to fall a part due to Bugsy not living up to his promises, also with the conflict between herself and Tallulah we can see that there could be fireworks with the pair. Vincent Finch/Max Gill/Maddison Tyson is fantastic as Fat Sam; especially when he has so much pressure being put on him as Dandy Dan is killing each of his gang members off one by one and when Knuckles loses his life, we can see a slight feeling of vulnerability from Sam that may not have been expressed in the original 1970’s film, moreover, with Tallulah we can see there’s something there. Olivia Shaye Materson/Rhianna Dorris/Leni Zieglmeiser is lovely as the flirtatious, Tallulah; generally how you can see that herself and Bugsy did have a previous relationship and thankfully there’s some but very minute similarities to the role that was initially played by, Jodie Foster and she gives her own spin on the role which is grand to see.

Sean Holmes’ direction is outstandingly resplendent here as he has really helped fill in the cracks in the original film without ruining what we already know, what is more, he has staged a revival that is noticeably rejoiced by the audience and with Drew McOnie’s glistening choreography they have captured the family elements as well as the1920’s environment to such precision. Jon Bausor’s design is opulently dreamy as we are definitely transported to the gangster’s paradise and the costumes were on point too which makes the show even more impressive, moreover, the scenic art and constructive lived up to my expectations and didn’t disappoint me. Overall, the experience of, ‘Bugsy Malone’ was such a distinguished and charismatically enjoyable and this musical did make me retain the lyrics of the songs and that is what makes a musical fruitful.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

'Sunset at the Villa Thalia' National Theatre, Dorfman ***

As we the people of the United Kingdom try and fathom how the result of the EU Referendum and what an impact it’ll have either positive or more than likely negative circumstances, yet, some nations have suffered catastrophic economical disasters such as; Greece in particular. The National Theatre’s production of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s new play, ‘Sunset at the Villa Thalia’ does combine the Greek economic crisis and unlikely friendships in a satisfactory manner, moreover, the interpretations were competently depicted.

‘Sunset at the Villa Thalia’ is set in the Greek island of Skiathos in both 1967 and 1976 where we are acquainted with English couple, Theo and Charlotte who are renting a house from Stamatis (Christos Callow) and his daughter Maria (Glykeria Dimou) as Theo is writing an up and coming play and see this island as a real motivator for him. They are soon interfered with American couple, Harvey and June who are largely over the top and try almost a bit too hard to commence friendship from Theo and Charlotte as it is obvious that Harvey is an admirer of Theo’s works which somewhat freaks Theo out but is still flattered. Over the course of the performance, we see that Theo and Charlotte’s friendship with Harvey and June is increasingly awkward as they do not appear to have a lot in common with each other a part from their love of the house. Due to the fact that the country is about to face an economic uprising, Harvey tries to persuade Theo to purchase the Villa Thalia so that Stamatis and Maria can move to Australia and start a new life for themselves. Stamatis is of course slightly apprehensive about it, but with quite a lengthy amount of encouragement from Harvey he agrees to sell the house to Theo and Charlotte. Nine years later and Theo and Charlotte are still the owners of the Villa Thalia and this time they have two young children, Adrian (Thomas Berry/Billy Marlow/Ethan Rouse) and Rosalind (Sophia Ally/Dixie Egerickx/Scarlette Nunes) who are on holiday there. It appears that the marriage between Harvey and June is rather strained and this is evident when June has a talk about it with Charlotte and it seems that their marriage could be over. Charlotte is beginning to hate being the co-owner of the Villa Thalia and when Harvey attempts to do some Cossack dance with her children she gets extremely angry and turns the traditional music off as she has just been informed that Maria has been living rough in Australia so with this she is disgusted in herself and Theo for buying the house in the first place. Throughout the second act, it appears that Theo and Charlotte are going to be selling the house for a retreat closer to home in England; as such when Harvey and June are informed of this news, they are disappointed in Theo and Charlotte, however, their decision is final and the villa is put on the market.   At the finale, we are flashbacked to when Maria as a child and the nanny, Agape (Eve Polycarpou) makes it clear to Maria that the house should remain in the family name, but with the house on the market in 1976 with people not in the family name, this has not occurred. Kaye Campbell’s is conventional as yes there are moments where the Greek crisis is described, but there was little analysis about it where the central focus of the plot is the strange friendship of an English couple and an American couple so we could have had half and half but there you go. 

One found the performances by the company of, ‘Sunset at the Villa Thalia’ to be pleasantly portrayed as we can see how people from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are so opposite in many ways and there was a good level of camaraderie that existed here. Sam Crane is great as writer, Theo; specifically how we see that he has a passion for the Villa Thalia in a considerable manner but we see his love for the place decrease as he is more concerned for his family as constant travel is somewhat tiresome for young children. Pippa Nixon is acceptable as Theo’s wife, Charlotte; essentially when she does seem to have a real conscience by how upset she is when she finds out about what Maria is up to and when Harvey kisses her she does seem to be perplexed as she does like June somehow. Ben Miles is courteous as the overbearing American, Harvey; mainly how he comes across hugely domineering by pressuring Theo to buy the Villa Thalia from Stamatis and this is shown throughout as we soon discover that he finds comfort in not only the villa but with the friendship with the English couple. Elizabeth McGovern is congenial as Harvey’s wife, June; for example how at first she is a bit too melodramatic but over time we are sympathetic towards her as when she pours her heart about her marriage to Charlotte there is obvious problems that there’s an emotional side to her.

Simon Godwin’s direction is tolerable here as we are given quite an standard account about how one villa on a Greek island can bring two couples together as we see that he has pushed the culture divide to its ultimate limits, on the other hand, this is helpful with the Greek crisis in the background which makes the friendships even more fraught, plus the characterisations were not too bad either. Hildegard Bechtler’s set and costume designs were awesome to be honest as the attention to detail in the Villa Thalia and through to the costume helped us understand the position of the hierarchy of people, furthermore, the scenic art and scenic construction was outstanding which is not surprising f from the National Theatre’s workshop team of craftsmen and craftswomen.  Overall the experience of, ‘Sunset at the Villa Thalia’ to be a suitable production but for me it’s not one of the most accomplished shows I have seen at the National Theatre.

Friday, 29 July 2016

'The Truth' Wyndhams Theatre ****

One of my colossal pet hates is when a person cheats on their partners whether it is a boyfriend, girlfriend or even worse the husband or wife, and it aggravates me is when the individual has the audacity to think it is alright to do such a deceitful thing. The West End transfer of, Florian Zeller’s play, ‘The Truth’ which has been translated by Christopher Hampton is a bizarrely joshing play about cheating spouses, additionally, the enactments were fantastically diverting throughout.

‘The Truth’ is set in a variety of bearings in Paris and France where we’re introduced to Michel and Alice who are in a hotel room having sexual intercourse, however, their foreplay seems really quick because Michel is supposed to be in his office for an extremely crucial meeting. Both Michel and Alice are cheating on their spouses and what is most shocking is that Alice’s husband, Paul is Michel’s best friend so it is very repulsive that he has the valour to have sex with his best friend’s wife. The two of them do know what they are doing isn’t going to be perceived as right and their partners like Michel’s wife, Lawrence who blatantly thinks that her marriage is completely perfect and that nothing can go wrong. Over the course of the performance, you can notice that Michel does have a little sense of guilt as he lets Paul reign victorious in the tennis match and as they are having a drink at Paul’s house they ponder on their lives where Paul goes on to expose his own secrets to Michel which obviously startles him. From this, Michel follows on from Paul’s conversation by talking about his and Lawrence’s marriage and as the dialogue enters out of his mouth, we can see Paul fitting each piece of the puzzle together and soon learns that Michel has been having an affair with his wife. Michel informs Lawrence that he has to go on an urgent business trip and thankfully for Michel she believes him, but in actual fact, he is going for a short holiday with Alice. As such; Michel and Alice’s list of lies and treachery begins to increase day after day and when Lawrence tries to call Michel, his face becomes a right picture and in order to cover up the fact that he is with Alice, he pretends that his mother is ill and that he has gone to visit her, nevertheless, he isn’t with his mother and puts on a false voice that somewhat emulates the voice of his own mother. Apparently, Michel doesn’t appear too bothered by his lies and seems to revel in it, on the other hand, Alice feels that his guilt with being in bed with another man. When both Michel and Alice are back in their homes, we see that Paul and Lawrence are finally going to confront their cheating spouses, but in their own manipulative way where Paul says to Michel that he has been having an affair too and the lady with whom he has been having an affair with is Michel’s wife, Lawrence, due to this, as Michel is about to confront Lawrence about the alleged affair, you can see that Lawrence hasn’t been having one and at the finale, Michel gets his comeuppance and she gets her own back so the jokes is definitely on him. Zeller’s narrative along with Hampton’s translation is pretty sensational as in a normal scenario if someone was found to have cheated then they’ll be seen as vulgar but as Zeller has created a piece that mocks Michel for his lying actions then it does make it a comedy play in its own fruition.  

One found the performances by the company of, ‘The Truth’ to be formidable as they all capture the seriousness and funny moments with such precision that shows the shocking sequences of events of duplicity within marriage. Alexander Hanson is wonderful as the cheating husband, Michel; particularly with how we see that he really doesn’t have the foggiest to realise that his deception is not okay, however, when the ball is on the other foot he doesn’t really like it when he is told his wife is having an affair and completely double standard. Frances O’Connor is enjoyable as the disgusting lying wife, Alice; mainly how she should be appreciative that her husband, Paul works really hard to earn the comfortable living that she is accustomed too, then again, she has some form of regret with it but is more than happy to cheat on him. Robert Portal is awe-inspiring as Alice’s husband, Paul; essentially by the point in which he pours his heart out to his best friend, Michel unbeknownst to him that his best friend is having sexual liaisons with his wife, paradoxically, when he realises his friend is having an affair with his wife, he knows how to confront him in an interesting way. Tanya Franks is magnificent as Michel’s blissfully unaware wife, Lawrence; primarily how fully naïve she is by thinking that her husband is a doting spouse, but when she works out his trickery, she can see that she is so heartbroken by this and it would have been great to confront his horrible behaviour.

Lindsay Posner’s direction is imposing here as he has created a performance that fundamentally conveys to us the audience that to anyone who thinks about cheating on their spouses then they should think again as this could easily bite him on the backside and rightfully so, also the characterisations were thoughtfully portrayed. Lizzie Clachan’s design is productive as I can see where I am in the actual plot and the somewhat simplicity of the white in the hotel room and holiday retreat can show that Michel and Alice don’t have a level of decency to be loyal to the spouses that love them immensely. Overall, the experience of, ‘The Truth’ to be outstandingly compelling as with my previous statement that cheating on someone is just as ghastly as murder or any other crimes as cheating is a crime against the vows you make on your wedding day and it’s just not a decent thing to do. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

'Shangri-La' Finborough Theatre **

Tourism can be extremely beneficial for places that are in need of cultural investment and a boost of money in building sustainable tourism facilities such as; hotels and shopping centres, nonetheless, this could make some of the locals quite angry as livelihoods are being eroded due to a surge of tourists entering their areas. The Finborough Theatre’s production of Amy Ng’s debut play, ‘Shangri-La’ was a rather mundane show about a place in China being bombarded by tourists and how it is making local citizens isolated, plus the performances were pretty lifeless and heinous.  

‘Shangri-La’ is set plainly in Shangri-La, a Yunnan province in the Chinese Himalayan mountains where we’re enlightened with Bunny Mu, a tour guide for Authentic China who has been an observer of her family’s income blighted because of a conglomerate of tourism. Along with her Tibetan co-worker, Karma Tsering makes a slight dig at putting on fake accents for the betterment of the Americans visiting the Yunnan Province and in this instance visitor, Sylvia Bass who truly wants to engross herself into the Chinese culture. Over the course of the performance, Bunny has to make a drastic and personally devastating choice where in order for her to elope from a country that is briskly disappearing in front of her eyes. She wants to be a world travelling photographer, yet, she has a gigantic problem when other photographers take images of people without their permission; such as Irish photographer, Hope Leathy. Nevertheless, Hope does help Bunny on how best to take the most flawless photo, however, what Hope tries to instruct Bunny on that in order for photos to make more of an impact to a widespread audience that you may have to break taboos so that your political and artistic messages can come across almost immediately. The CEO of Authentic China , Nelson Wong perceives that his company is trying to preserve the traditional Chinese values so that tourists like Sylvia Bass can have a worthwhile experience, but for Bunny she is apprehensive by Nelson’s vision. This is because Nelson has been taught in the Western world where business and money is more imperative than his cultural routes. We soon learn that Karma is a double-crosser as he is an entrepreneur who fleece’s tourists where at first he dresses in traditional Chinese dress for cash then with the money he has earned from this he spends it on Italian suits and as such; he is a rather shifty character and is not to be trusted.  Bunny thinks that Nelson should understand and value his background and not to be constantly thinking about how much money he can obtain from tourists, unfortunately he doesn’t seem too bothered by this. At the finale, Bunny has achieved her goal and emigrated to America and is exhibiting her photography in a gallery in New York City where Nelson is present there and states to Bunny that Authentic China helped her escape from a life full of poverty. Ng’s narrative is increasingly rubbish as the political issues are mentioned but never analysed, also, the actual characters and plot did not exactly ignite how China has been affected by tourism by the tourism industry and this is due to a lack of a coherent plot so not a good debut play whatsoever. 

One found the performance by the company of, ‘Shangri-La’ to be bland and dreadful as there are no real emotions and the Chinese accents were woeful and to be honest, I did find it offensive and disgraceful as an actor must vocalise this with realism and intent. Julia Sandiford is satisfactory as tour-guide come successful photographer, Bunny Wu; chiefly when she confronts her boss about his lack of honesty with how Authentic China is actually run and you can see that she wants her area of China to be truthful to what it is and this is shown through her imagery. Andrew Koji is okay as Tibetan fraudster, Karma Tsering; for example how at first we see that he does want to keep his county retaining its traditional values, on the other hand, when he is seen in an expensive suit we know he is just the same as anyone wanting money before honesty. Rosie Thomson is conventional as both Sylvia Bass and Hope Leathy; especially how as Sylvia she does instigate the miniscule amount of humour and there’s not a lot of it in this play that’s for sure and as Hope she does show her intellectual side which is a distinct comparison to the hipster character that is Sylvia Bass. Kevin Shen is passable as the CEO of Authentic China, Nelson Wong; mainly as you can really witness that he hasn’t got a moral bone in his body and that money is what he wants and that his background doesn’t matter to him, yet there’s a little bit of integrity in a small rare moment. 

Charlotte Westenra’s direction is lamentable here as she has not even given us an appropriate portrayal of how tourism has destroyed the actual residents’ lives and even when this is attempted, it doesn’t scrape the surface, and moreover, the characterisations were drab and not even worth the time to give it a thorough grilling. Yatkwan Wong’s design is horrendous and desensitising as just simply putting pieces of ripped sheets of paper just doesn’t cut the mustard and I wasn’t transported to China whatsoever and for me, I would rather boil my own head then go through how bad the design was. Overall, the experience of, ‘Shangri-La’ was rather monotonous and shameful as there were hardly any positive things to express about this show that makes you want to drink more than one or two pints of booze, so not for me I am afraid.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

'Through The Mill' Southwark Playhouse *****

We sometimes assume that all of us know about a superstar in their entirety, anyhow in all fairness we do not have a clue about what transpires behind closed doors and the legend that was Judy Garland is one such celebrity who faced a long list of trials and tribulations in her life. Southwark Playhouse’s production of Ray Rackham’s musical play, ‘Through The Mill’ allows us to observe factual events that did happen in Judy Garland’s life from her rise to fame through to her dwindling career, what is more, the representations were elegant throughout.

‘Through The Mill’ is set in a number of locations where we’re accustomed to the megastar that is Judy Garland who appears to be working on a TV for television network, CBS but the show is failing to obtain high ratings due to the fact that her approach isn’t impressing the channels bosses e.g. Hunt Stromberg Jr (Rob Carter). However, Judy has a new dresser by the name of Judith Kramer (Carmella Brown) to contend with, but it does appear that despite some divaish moments, she seems to approve of Judith and a pleasant relationship is formed. Throughout the performance, the Young Judy has to battle through the pressures of entering the entertainment industry and that it is her weight that is slammed by the film studio’s executive, Louie B. Mayer (Don Cotter), on the other hand, the Young Judy has the loyal support from her parents, Frank Gumm (Joe Shefer) and Ethel Gumm (Amanda Bailey), and also composer, Roger Edens (Tom Elliot Reade) but she does impress the bosses and obviously lands the role of Dorothy in, ‘The Wizard of Oz’. What is most interesting is that even though we see Judy’s career booming, she is possibly known for her long list of disastrous marriages and during the process of her CBS TV show, she is getting divorced from her third husband, Sid Luft (Harry Anton) so it is proving a little impossible for her to fully concentrate on the development of her TV show. Thankfully, she seems to have a fruitful working relationship with director, George Schlatter (Perry Meadowcroft), regrettably Hunt Stromberg Jr is not impressed with the ratings of the show and George is therefore sacked and replaced with Norman Jewison (Chris McGuigan). Over the course of the performance, the Palace Judy who has been enjoying her monumental success in an excessive amount of movie musicals and on stage starts to feel the strains of the industry and her finances are beginning to worry her, yet her professionalism means no one knows about it until we go to CBS Judy who now has a countless number of debts so this TV show is her last attempt to get her finances in order and the divorce to Sid is costly. CBS Judy’s show is about to be axed from the TV screens and because of this, she demands that George is re-instated and it is finally approved and at the finale all three Judy’s perform her hit song, ‘Over the Rainbow’ is what was a rather emotional moment as Judy Garland’s life was not exactly full of glitz and glamour and there’s so much more behind those lyrics than I originally thought. Rackham’s narrative is moving as he has given such a considerable insight into Judy Garland’s rather cataclysmic life especially her personal relationships and including songs life, “Get Happy”, “You Make Me Love You”, “The Man That Get Away” really worked well with staging a musical play about one of the entertainment icons in world movie history. 

One found the performances by the company of, ‘Through The Mill’ to be increasingly heartfelt as it all fell into place with such gusto and a few aspects nearly moved me to tears as someone who likes Judy Garland, it is painful to see how Judy has been treated by men over the years and no wonder she committed suicide in the end. Helen Sheals is tremendous as the CBS Judy; specifically how at her wits end she is due to the fact that both her professional and personal life is literally crumbling all around her and this is causing her to become slightly depressed, on the contrary, when she sings, “Life is Just A Bowl of Cherries” leads me to see that maybe child stardom is not all what it is cracked up to be like Hollie Steele’s breakdown on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Belinda Wollaston is formidable as, Palace Judy; for example how we see that from her illustrious performance in, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ that she seems to have been lapping up all the fame, but is because of the fact that by this point she has been divorced already and her monetary issues are commencing on a long fall down to bankruptcy and as such; living a celebrity life is not all fun.  Lucy Penrose is delightful as the Young Judy; in specie how her parents did make it harder for her to live a normal life and that the both of them wanted her to be a star in the movie business, furthermore, with regards to the weight issues, this is still a problem in today’s entertainment industry such as theatre, film, television, fashion and music. 

Ray Rackham’s direction is extraordinary here as you can see that he has really worked with understanding how Judy Garland’s life made us realise that a celebrity can go through the same things as a civilian, moreover, with Chris Whittaker’s choreography you can see that the two of them have worked together to capture the essence of what actually goes on behind the scenes of the entertainment industry.  Justin Williams’ set design and Millie Hobday and Evie Holdcroft’s costume designs are phenomenal as I was stunned by how mesmerising it was to be transported to a period of history of a female that proved that beauty is actually inside and that it about the talent that is most important. Also Jack Weir’s lighting and Ed Shaw and James Neale’s sound were totally charming too. Overall, the experience of, ‘Through The Mill’ was a real whopper of a show that made you fully look into what celebrities have to face in their personal life and using Judy Garland as an example did the trick.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

'Wild' Hampstead Theatre ****

In this day of age, it is really easy for secrets to be exposed, but some secrets are being made public and a number of organisations are competing to get the person responsible on their side and work for them. The Hampstead Theatre’s production of, Mike Bartlett’s freshly written play, ‘Wild’ is such a thought-provoking and stimulating show that starts to unravel in a good way, additionally, the offerings were number one during the whole performance.

‘Wild’ is supposedly set in a hotel room in Moscow where we’re habituated with American Andrew who has been incarcerated in the hotel room after he has been exposing classified information on a site like WikiLeaks is visited by an unnamed Woman who appears to work for an establishment similar to the one mentioned in the hope that he’ll agree to sign a contract with her and the institute that she works for. Their immediate introduction seems exceedingly obscure and the unnamed Woman is flirtatious and acrimonious with regards to how Andrew’s life is at risk, on the flip side, Andrew is anxious as he hasn’t got the foggiest what her place of employment is and is the Woman really who says she is. We are informed as with Andrew that America isn’t the safest place in the world anymore and that CCTV may have to be used to keep people impregnable. Over the course of the performance, Andrew obviously feels isolated from the world and because the Woman attempts to arouse him, but due to the fact that Andrew has a girlfriend and makes it very clear that no form of relationship is going to occur. In the process of the Woman’s interrogation you can see that Andrew is apprehensive and asks to see her credentials but she doesn’t seem to have her ID, nevertheless, the Woman who is a bit of a sozzled old seadog and in order to keep Andrew on side she sinks a blunt small instrument into her hand and happily makes herself bleed. To prevent himself from going insane, Andrew does a few fitness routines, notwithstanding, he’s really alarmed that a pseudonymous Man knocks on the hotel room door and claims that he is from a co-operation similar to the Woman’s, as well as, he has no forms of ID on him either so it is immensely sketchy as Andrew has to decide who is the most trustworthy person. There’s a really tearful moment from Andrew as he is really missing his family and girlfriend and has no idea when he’ll be able to speak to or even see them; as such he has a good cry and needs to be released from captivity. The outlandish conditions are about to be confessed when both the Woman and Man come into the hotel room together and it appears that the two have been conspiring together against Andrew all this time and at the finale, on what can only be compared to ‘The Trueman Show’ Jim Carey film, the hotel room is transformed into an empty TV studio or a black box theatre space and it seems that Andrew’s entombment has been a complete joke on his behalf. Bartlett’s narrative is colossally brilliant as Andrew who to be honest has brought the situation on himself, yet due to the Woman and Man keep pestering him for his allegiance it leads me to question whether anyone can be trusted and the plot seems to connect ‘The Trueman Show’ and ‘Big Brother’ together and "Big Brother is Watching You!" would be perfect in this scenario. 

One found the performances by the company of, ‘Wild’ to be vivid as the cryptic message that is conveyed through the character’s perspectives, furthermore the voice projections and movements did do themselves justice. Jack Farthing is astonishing as the cute lead role, Andrew; in particular how we see that he has no real understanding why he has been imprisoned in this fashion and his trepidation where he has been bombarded by Woman and Man shows that there is more than what is really happening and when he is suspended on the chair in the “hotel room”, it is a somewhat dystopian reality. Caoilfhionn Dunne is consequential as the enigmatic, Woman; mainly how chilling she does come across with how manipulative she is to Andrew where her horrible dialogue makes a grown man cry, on the other hand, when she makes herself bleed but in actual fact she has lied proves how brutal she is as a female and this is very worrying to be frank. John Mackay is wondrous as the smart, Man; primarily how we see that he does give the impression that he is more credulous than the Woman as he does not make himself look like a silly fool, paradoxically, throughout the show we get to see how organisations like MI5 or MI6 try to recruit their workers and experts and this is rather intriguing. 

James Macdonald’s direction is miraculous here as he has formed a production that presents a lot of twists and turns that definitely keeps you on your toes which is fantastic with regards to whether Andrew’s plight is totally real and how the whole circumstance makes it so hard to know who to trust in these situations, plus the classifications were terrific. Miriam Buether’s design was out of this world as the whole hotel room does appear to be like a standard hotel room from a chain of hotels, however the transformation is nothing like I have ever seen in a design and honestly it is mind blowing and Buether deserves to win an award for it. Overall, the experience of, ‘Wild’ was so surreal but with positive reasons for the weirdness and if you didn’t get a chance to see it then you have missed out especially with the design that is phenomenal.

Friday, 8 July 2016

'The Quiet House' Park Theatre ****

An astronomic bulk of married couples are determined to get pregnant, yet morosely couples cannot get pregnant in the normal way and have to resort to either IVF or adoption to become satisfied with their lives. The Park Theatre’s production of, Gareth Farr’s newest play, ‘The Quiet House’ was a really moving and informative show on one couple’s quest to get pregnant and the pressure each try of IVF has on their marriage, moreover, the depictions are dearly compelling and extremely smashing too.

‘The Quiet House’ is set on the ground floor flat somewhere in London where we’re familiarised with Jess and Dylan who have been laboriously trying to conceive for a baby for some time and from failed attempts, they use IVF for Jess to become pregnant. You can noticeably see that Jess and Dylan are desperate to become parents in a biological way and each and every IVF attempt does not go to plan wistfully and this causes Jess to feel really down. Also, her confidence starts to decompose and this causes Dylan to become increasingly fretful that their nuptials could be on the slide. Over the course of the performance, the woman who lives in the flat upstairs, Kim has a couple of weeks old baby which appears to be slightly awkward for Jess and Dylan as their desire for a baby boosts and when the baby is crying it really upsets Jess and it makes her feel like a catastrophe. Dylan is a devoted husband and when he has to inject the IVF solution in Jess’ body, he makes an attentive effort to make the atmosphere as romantic by dimming the lights and putting some passionate and smouldering music on as it could aid in a fruitful outcome, as such; it is a different way just like you’d be having sexual activity in bed. Throughout the show we can see that Dylan’s work are aware of his and Jess’ plans and Dylan’s line manager, Tony is somewhat considerate of Dylan’s feelings, yet, his work head does override his compassionate side and demands that Dylan has to travel abroad to oversee something, on the contrary, his business trip falls in the time frame where Jess has to be injected with the IVF solution and kindly asks Tony to re-arrange the trip, but no can do. In one moment Kim’s baby is waiting in the corridor inside of her pram and Kim has left her for some time and to calm the baby down, Jess takes the baby off for a wander, yet her good intentions are short-lived as Kim freaks out as Kim thought that her baby was kidnapped. As the plot progresses, there is more bad news for Jess and Dylan as their current attempt for IVF blunders which makes the situation worsen, then again, you can see the strength that they have, nonetheless, when Dylan returns from his business trip there is a small level of tension due to the incident with Kim’s baby. At the finale, Jess and Dylan give IVF another go and it seems that this could be a successful result, but as the outcomes is read out by Jess and Dylan, a blackout occurs which means we are left on tender-hooks. Farr’s narrative titillating as we are given the opportunity to observe one married couples longing to become parents and it is rather interesting to see how a male playwright has been able to write about a sensitive issue for women in such a delicate manner and this is sublime.

One found the performances by the company of, ‘The Quiet House’ to be gigantically dainty as we can see how they have portrayed the warm and soothing couple and the emotional moments have been carefully considered as to not offend audiences that may have gone through this. Michelle Bonnard is fantastic as the hopeful mother, Jess; especially how the willpower she has to get up the duff and when she is with Kim’s baby, we can see that how natural she is and that she’ll be a really good mother to her own child. Oliver Lansley is glossy as Jess’ loyal husband, Dylan; specifically how desperate he is to become a parent like his wife is and when he breaks down in tears in Jess’ lap, we can see the emotional toll that the IVF attempts are having on his heart, also, I liked the moment he injects the solution into Jess’s body shows us the intimacy of their relationship. Allyson Ava-Brown is decent as the upstairs neighbour, Kim; in particular how that there are aspects when she does leave her baby in the corridor alone does makes you think is she suitable as a mother, but most mother’s do leave their babies alone so it is largely normal to do that. Tom Walker is excellent as Dylan’s supervisor, Tony; chiefly when he is in the office where he is with Dylan and there is a level of how bosses sometimes have no clue of how their employees have personal issue and that work is not the most important thing to them and this is shown where he goes on about the business trip.

Tessa Walker’s direction is beauteous here as she has shown us the development of the use of IVF as a method of conceiving a baby and that the unfortunate amount of nose-dived attempts will make people i.e. Jess and Dylan be more ambitious with becoming parents, in addition to this, it is pleasing that we could see the needle being injected into Jess’ body which means nothing is off limits in this show. Ana Inés Jabares-Pita’s design is of a reasonable standard as the particularising of the London flat was good here and the white furniture does make you think is the flat places for a new born baby but then this precisely what all expectant mothers and fathers have to figure out in the preparation stages of a pregnancy. Overall, the experience of, ‘The Quiet House’ was an exorbitantly engaging production of the utilisation of IVF in the conception of babies and the yearning of having babies.