Reviews

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Curiouser and curiouser: Wheeldon’s Wonderland does not disappoint

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It is the story we all know and love: rabbit holes, caterpillars and playing cards. Christopher Wheeldon’s new ballet brings Alice’s adventures vividly to life. Beginning with the musical ticks of multiple clocks, we are led to the normality of Alice’s family garden party where the children are being told a story by Lewis Carroll, while Alice and the gardener, Jack, share coy looks. However when a white fluffy tail bursts through the suit trousers of Lewis Carroll, Alice jumps down the rabbit hole to follow him. In Wonderland the characters at the Victorian garden party reappear in new guises. (more…)

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Review: Jackson & Grumitt – Planet Marmalade

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“Tonight on Radio 4, the plot thickens in…The Allotment Mysteries.” Erudite wordplay and clever phrasing characterises Jackson and Grumitt’s brand new sketch show at the Burton Taylor.

Their selection of sketches ranges from the surreal to the observational, with sinister BBC2 adverts, meetings of MI6 in a Starbucks and a haughty Michelin star waiter selling a £46 jug of tap water all making an appearance. (more…)

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Review: The Country

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Hypnotist Theatre’s latest theatrical offering The Country is a tale of underlying tensions and untold secrets. The play opens on an idyllic rural scene, but is a study of the cracks that gradually appear in this picture.

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Review: The Crucible

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Director Helgi Clayton’s production of Arthur Miller’s much-celebrated play depicts a harrowing ‘crucible’ of lust, jealousy, superstition, and moral corruption. The audience finds themselves immediately plunged into a world of screaming teenage girls, scandalous dancing and séance to allure the men they fancy.

The use of the lighting and music was particularly effective, as vision and truth are such prominent motifs throughout the play: the entire theatre was pitch black. All could be heard were the screaming of young girls and Tituba’s exotic incantations.

This is thoughtfully juxtaposed with the hypocritical society of Salem. One of the strongest aspects of the performance was the group of female characters. Abigail Williams, played by Mary Higgins, proves to be quite the three-dimensional character, who thrives in such a superstitious and corrupt patriarchal society. Throughout the play, she displayed an excellent manipulative demeanour.

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Review: Assassins

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Through the stripes of a craftily constructed American flag, suits loom on a multi-levelled rostrum as lighting throws the eyes of their wearers into dark, empty sockets. Immobile for at least ten minutes before the show begins they set up an underlying tension that is only amplified as Assassins progresses.

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Review: Ridley’s Choice

 

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Ridley’s career may have been destroyed by negative reviews, but James P Mannion and George Varley have no reason to retire to the woodland cabin just yet. Mannion’s play explores the reality – and the fundamental unreality – of the isolation that many of us, at times, crave.

The play opens with Ridley (Varley) ensconced in his woodland retreat, striving for the peace that will elude him for the duration of the play. Taunted by his ever-present ‘friend’ Clive and pursued by the media, Ridley’s existential crisis provides the backdrop for an amusing reflection on whether we can ever escape the twenty first century and – avoiding cliché – our own problems.

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