Friday, 1 February 2013

January Theatre Review


It's been an odd month as far as theatre trips have been concerned, although none actually blew me away some were good, whilst others stood out as being some of the worst I’ve seen in ages, and that is saying something. I don’t usually post negative reviews but to balance the good ones this month I’ve provided a personal view of all five productions I’ve seen in January.

Inferno
Barons Court Theatre
(10th January 2013)

Three short plays loosely based on three of the themes from Dante's Inferno: lust, gluttony and wrath. The second play' was a five minute scene of a guy in a fat suit eating crisps. The first lust, written by one of the performers did nothing to convince. Two lesbian lover prostitutes pick up Jack the Ripper as a client, sorry for the spoiler but it was so badly telegraphed I felt like groaning at the revelation. Unfortunately, the fact that neither of the girls could bring themselves to look at each other during the performance left it inconceivable that they were lovers in lust with each other. I've seen more love between two straight manly men on rival sides at a football match.

Ran 8th January 2013 to 13th January 2013


 

The Dumb Waiter
Courtyard Theatre
(11th January 2013)

A two hander set in a non-described basement, a play from the pen of Pinter. This one act play managed to keep your attention and built the tension well with both humour and menace. Full marks to Clare-Louise English and Maggie Valois as the two hit men.

Ran 8th January 2013 to 13th January 2013

Lady Windermere's Fan
Bridewell Theatre
(15th January 2013)
Presented by Turn of the Wheel Productions.

A play from Oscar Wilde revived at the Bridewell Theatre. Not essentially one of the best know plays by Wilde it still retains the ability to entertain today and provides a subtle twist that demonstrates why Wilde is held is such high regard. An entertaining evening, and one of the highlights of the month. The set was basic but worked very well with changes of lighting and an enthusiastic butler showing what can be achieved with limited resources. The off stage lighting for a fireplace worked well, creating the required ambiance and function for the story, and succeeded in expanding the illusion of the size of the stately homes.

Ran 8th January 2013 to 19th January 2013

Every Man for Herself
Courtyard Theatre
(16th January 2013)

A simple plot, performers in war torn Italy, performing in a cafe decide to escape dressed as women. It was basically painful. The theatre audience were used as the audience of the cafe, with an opening appeal for applause before the performance had even started - this felt like an act of desperation. It might have worked if we had been sitting at cafe tables. The first act was basically the plot, the second act a string of numbers from the escapees in drag starting in English and each one dropping into (I'm guessing) Italian, which was lost on the majority of the audience.

On paper this offered a lot of promise, unfortunately it did not deliver.
Ran 15th January 2013 to 20th January 2013


House of Atreus
Waterloo East Theatre
(22nd January 2013)

Théâtre Libre present  House of Atreus 
Adapted by Ozlem Ozhabes 
Directed by Kaitlin Argeaux 
Movement by Justyna Ziarek

Orestes, returns to his homeland to avenge his father's murder. For me an average production with some questionable decisions regarding staging. The women were costumed, however basically but they did at least provide a feeling of a bygone period. The two guys looked like they had just wandered in off the street, the hero of the play dressed in leather jacket and hoody. I've seen very conflicting reviews of this play, one described the tango performed by the wicked mother and her new lover as being brilliant, personally I felt it was out of place and would certainly have been panned by the critics on Strictly Come Dancing as laboured, clumsy and awkward. Although I'm not one to deliver spoilers, when the revenge attack does take place it is poorly lit performed behind a muslin cloth, it neither works dramatically nor artistically.

Ran 15th January 2013 to 27th January 2013

My Big Gay Italian Wedding
Greenwich Theatre
(30th January 2013)

Described as a "music and dance filled extravaganza", to be honest wasn't really. The majority of the music and dance took place either before the show started or shoehorned into the second act, and can I go on record to say I HATE "gangnam style" and the inclusion of this number made me shudder. Other than that it was ridiculously funny, at times hilarious and so over the top it managed to comeback down again the other side.

Runs 30th January - Sun 3rd February 2013