Review: Dog Show by Kandinsky

DogShowFrom the publicity, it’s difficult to anticipate what this show is going to be before you see it. Its billing, as “part-silent film, part-thriller”, based on the case of the Hong Kong Serial Dog Killer, promises a dark and dour production which belies its engaging, comic and whimsical nature. Performed by four actors, who each take two parts – one of a dog owner and the other of a dog – it weaves the stories of four disparate souls whose commonality (if you excuse the pun) lies in the fact that they all walk their dogs on Hampstead Heath.

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Review: Pig by Silent Uproar

PigSilent Uproar are a Hull-based, New Diorama Emerging Company and, as such, presented their latest production Pig at the London venue in September 2015.

Pig is a clever title for a clever production. It’s a show about cops and robbers: Ted and Coral are jobbing cops, beat-bobbies who want to rise through the ranks and know all too well the downside of policing in the UK in the twenty-first century. Gaz is a likeable career criminal, who names his pet pigeon in hommage to the way in which the young hero of the Ken Loach film names his pet kestrel, hence the title of the piece.

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Review: Down and Out in Paris and London by New Diorama Theatre / PIT

Down and Out in Paris and London, written and directed by NDT / PIT Artistic Director, David Byrne, fuses two books, written half a century apart. The first by George Orwell, which lends its title to the production, and the second, Hard Work by Polly Toynbee, a journalist and reporter for The Guardian, in which she researches minimum-wage, zero-hours contracts by living for several months as one of those reliant on them to survive.

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Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by the National Theatre

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been on my must-see list of shows for quite a while, so when I found out it was going on tour, I happily headed out to the New Theatre in Oxford to cross it off the list.

Based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Mark Haddon, the show concerns autistic teenager, Christopher, whose mother died several years previously, and who lives on his own with his Dad. When a neighbour’s dog is murdered with a garden fork, the body left on the front lawn for all to see, Christopher sets out to act detective and find out who committed the heinous crime, becoming more and more determined as the world tries to convince him to leave well alone. What transpires when he finally discovers the perpetrator and motivation for the crime, changes his life forever.

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Review: Fake It ‘Til You Make It by Bryony Kimmings

Bryony Kimmings makes work about things that are personal to her, and things that make her angry. In her latest show, that’s male depression. More specifically, why men don’t seek help in dealing with their depression, resulting in a frighteningly high suicide rate amongst that gender. And why is it personal to her? Because, six months into her relationship with her fiancé and father of her unborn son, Tim Grayburn, she found that he had been hiding severe depression from her, and from the world, for ten years.

Typical of Kimmings, instead of screaming ‘betrayal’ and running away, she confronted the situation with her usual sensitivity and understanding, and set to work to do something about it. The result: Tim left his highly-paid job as an advertising executive to collaborate with her in making a show documenting the way in which his depression affected their relationship, learned to play the guitar (not very well, but that’s part of the charm of the piece), and joined her on stage to tour the show around the world for a year.

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Review: The Point of No Return by BeFrank Theatre

The Point of No Return follows BeFrank‘s tradition of verbatim theatre, based on real-life interviews with a range of people on all sides of modern stories of conflict. This show tackles the recent events in Ukraine, pre-empting the current crisis, in which Ukraine’s position as the geographical and ideological pivot between Russia and the West divided the country.

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Review: Shooting with Light by Idle Motion

In the last few years, Idle Motion have been taking the world by storm with their particular brand of physical and visual storytelling, and their newest show, Shooting with Light, is the latest, and most mature, in their exceptional canon of work.

Shooting with Light began as a piece about photography, but came alive during the research period when the company uncovered the remarkable story of Gerda Taro, the pioneering war photographer who has been almost forgotten by history, largely because of her gender.

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Review: Joan of Arc by The Faction

I’m a big fan of The Faction, and their production of The Talented Mr. Ripley, with which Joan of Arc is playing in repertoire, is my must-see show this Spring. Sadly, though, Joan of Arc doesn’t meet the same standard.

The Faction are dedicated to producing the works of Schiller, and their previous productions of Mary Stuart, Fiesco and The Robbers have done much to revive the playwright’s reputation as relevant to modern theatre. Unfortunately, Joan of Arc, based on Schiller’s The Maid of Orleans adds nothing to this.

Partly, it’s down to the play. One cannot help but compare it to the George Bernard Shaw masterpiece, and it doesn’t stand up well. Gone is the trial scene, the pivotal dramatic crescendo of the story in which the audience is drawn into a natural empathy for the underdog, borne of outrage at the unfairness of her treatment, and admiration for the way in which she faces it.

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Review: One Man, Two Guvnors by The National Theatre

I have wanted to see this show ever since it first began to create a buzz, and the perfect opportunity presented itself when it came to my local theatre, the Wycombe Swan, this week. I was, however, a little worried that my expectations were so high that the show would never live up to them.

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Review: Mother Goose by Hackney Empire Theatre

I love panto. I know that may not be a culturally-correct view, but I stand by how I feel. Due, in part, to an appreciation of commedia dell’arte, from which it is descended, but also for a very happy decade as a DSM, where calling panto is the most fun, and frantic time of the year, despite having to do three shows on Boxing Day. So it was with great anticipation that I went to Hackney Empire to see their latest festive offering Mother Goose.

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