Category Archives: News

REVIEW: Diary Of A Somebody @ Seven Dials Playhouse

The theatre is packed out. We are crammed, hip to hip in this (very hip) tiny theatre, just off Cambridge Circus, perfectly mirroring the atmosphere of the play we’ve to come to see.

Set in a small cramped bedsit in Islington, Circa 1966 (effectively designed by Valentine Gigandet) Written by John Lehar, “Diary Of A Somebody” is based on verbatim excerpts from playwright Joe Orton’s real life diary. It chronicles his life in the year before he was bludgeoned to death by his lover Kenneth Halliwell.

At our point of entry Orton (played with impish charm by George Kemp) was already a ‘Somebody,’ with his plays “Entertaining Mr Sloane” and “Loot”  defining the swinging 60s with their irreverent take on societal norms.

Orton was the working class lad made good, aided and abetted by his older, cultured middle-class lover. The two met at RADA and although initially happy, Halliwell (played with dogged dourness by Toby Osmond) becomes increasingly sidelined and jealous of his protégés’ success. 

Orton relentlessly extolls the virtue of rampant promiscuity. His words, although often amusing, reveal a callous narcissism.  We watch … unable to look away, as their relationship becomes more and more untenable and toxic.

A myriad of characters played by four actors, whirl on and off the set with great alacrity, illuminating the couples personal and professional lives. Jemma Churchill’s characterisations are particularly authentic and often hilarious.

I found the play grimly riveting. Despite having laughs a plenty, it is a poignant record of a, ultimately shocking, demise of a Gay relationship.

Well done to the KU Bar Group for supporting this production. It’s wonderful to see artistic enterprise being nurtured by LGBT+ businesses.

Until April 30th. 

Seven Dials Playhouse // 0203 8416600

Review: “The Glow” @ Royal Court Theatre

It’s spooky. It’s supernatural … it’s totally gripping!

Alistair McDowall’s ambitious new play at the Royal Court Theatre certainly delivers if you’re looking for an evening of mystery and myth.

“The Glow” charts the many lives of ‘The Woman’, an immortal being revered and reviled throughout history because of her ‘light,’ which releases life enhancing or destroying powers. Ria Zmitrowicz’s characterisation of someone who lives within the worlds of mortal and spirit, is sustained and enigmatic.

Three actors play the historical and contemporary personalities who come into the orbit of ‘The Woman.’ Rakie Ayola shines as a cruel exploitative medium and loving retired nurse. The ensemble cast glide effortlessly into different eras and emotional spaces. The audience are drawn into a dark and sometimes sinister place, by Vicky Featherstone’s steely and focussed direction.

The set is minimal, but brooding. The lighting an atmospheric tour de force from Jessica Hung Han Yun. Sounds filter in and out of your consciousness…

A mesmeric theatrical experience. Highly recommended.  

At the Royal Court Theatre until March 5th.

Review: “Dog Show” @ Pleasance Theatre

Fancy a hilarious, camp, kinky alternative musical this Xmas?  “Dog Show” at the Pleasance Theatre is the answer…

This irreverent Canine Cabaret is engaging and terrific fun from its very first bark.

Featuring stand out performers from across the queer cabaret scene; We experience life from a dog’s perspective …in all its humour, pathos and longing. 

The show moves at a cracking pace with slick dance routines, great songs and fantastic costumes (thanks to Kelli Des Jariais). The lighting and sound design transport us to each witty doggy vignette featuring excellent solo and ensemble performances.

This divine dog’s dinner of a show is devised, in the Weimar tradition, by the fabulous (Sink the Pink) Ginger Johnson and David Cummings who are stand out performers in the talented cast. 

The Pleasance Theatre (6 mins walk from Caledonian tube, free on street parking) is a hidden treasure of a venue. As well as supporting individuals artist development, it has a great bar and restaurant with cabaret style seating (and service) in the theatre.

 Highly recommended, and not just for dog lovers.  Its a great night out.

Until 19th December. Tickets at https://www.pleasance.co.uk     02076091800