Every so often, the arts publications of hither and yon ask me to review a play at the local playhouses. Here are a few.
A one-man show running at the Ustinov in Bath til early September. Starring Henry Goodman. Here’s the review in Bristol 24/7.
Alan Franks offers an external drama that is more of a blip than a bomb. It’s a lost opportunity for British theatre when both Goodman and the Ustinov offer such a strong springboard. As it stands, this is a lovely 90-minute show (which doesn’t need an interval to weaken the second half), but it fails to pack its promised punch. Read more…
For Bath Chronicle, David Haig in Jonathan Church’s production of David Hare’s Racing Demon:
Hare’s play challenges every orthodoxy: tonight, on the stage, it looks like we’re tucking into establishment Christianity. But in the doggy-bag of meaning we’ll revisit at breakfast, it’s a fetid self-serving of hypocrisy, cowardice and wilful blindness – wherever people are found….
Starring F Murray Abraham, dir Laurence Boswell. Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, April-May and now at London’s Vaudeville til 2 Sep ’17. Reviewed in Bristol 247.
…A gorgeously mischievous poke-in-the-eye play that runs away from you laughing, taking its ball with it after an oh-too-short 90 minutes. ….read more.
photo: Simon Annand
Half Life, Ustinov Studio, Bath
Dir. Nancy Meckler. Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, 29 Sept-5 Nov 2016. Reviewed in Bristol 247.
What makes a human? Is it memory? It is also forgetfulness? Is it love? If elderly people are no longer ‘functioning’, are they no longer ‘functional’? Can we be replaced – will we be replaced, as Donald so fervently believes – by thinking, reproducing machines? And if so, what is the point of human life? …read more
Directed by Laurence Boswell, starring Tanya Moodie. Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath 10 Nov-17 Dec 2016.
This is a very special piece of theatre. It’s warm, entertaining, heart-swelling, cringe-making, shame-facing and packs a hell of a punch, staring 2016 in the face all the way from 1955….read more
Dir. Richard Beecham. Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, 1-31 March 2012. Reviewed for Whats On Stage.
The Ustinov’s new American season kicks off with Adam Rapp’s Red Light Winter, a show cordoned off by warnings of its “explicit” nature. Yes, there is nudity and sex but without doubt the real drama comes from the messed up protagonists themselves. Read more…
Bristol Old Vic Studio, 1-5 Nov 2012
This is powerful and disturbing, placing a clear trust in the audience to go with their own feelings and opinions and not be spoon-fed. This is not an easy show – as we’re gently warned up-front, it is at times “difficult’. Goode is “not not OK” and remains a theatre-maker who will keep hunting down the god-(less?) honest truth. Read more
Cheek By Jowl, Bristol Old Vic, 24 Oct – 3 Nov 2012. Reviewed for What’s On Stage.
In these days of corruption, lust and bloody murder, this spectacular production of old-fashioned hell-in-a-box is definitely one to catch while you can – but certainly not for the faint-hearted: Jimmy Fairhurst’s maniacal laugh will stay with you for years. Read more…
Photo by Manuel Harlan
by Frances Poet. Tobacco Factory Theatre & Òran Mór. 23-27 October 2012. Reviewed for What’s On Stage.
Cynical journo Adam, played beyond-convincingly by Gareth Glen pops into a faith healer’s show to gather ammunition for an exposé. There, he falls bits-first for “fit” Christina, a girl with a deep faith and terminal prognosis, and fails to tell her his true intent. Not only does he fall in love, but becomes convinced that the Devil’s paying back his deceit, big-time – chasing the lovers, in pursuit of Christina’s soul. read more
More reviews to follow…