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: 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 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: Push and Citizen Puppet by final year students at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

There isn’t much to link these two pieces, other than that they are showcases for students graduating from Central. Push, directed by Catherine Alexander and Grainne Byrne is a devised piece based on the novel of the same name by Sapphire. Citizen Puppet is also devised, in collaboration with acclaimed puppet company Blind Summit, and is a whimsical piece of (allegedly) verbatim theatre centring around the events of a well-known fairy-tale.

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Review: Borges and I by Idle Motion

This is the second time I have seen Borges and I, but it definitely bears seeing twice! The beauty and fluidity of the physical language perfectly enhances the interwoven stories of Spanish poet and writer Jorge Luis Borges, told through the eyes of Alice, and her book-group friend, Sophie, who finds romance just as tragedy strikes.

The parallels of the two lives, both blighted by the onset of blindness are told through narrative and metaphor, and every visual image is created with books. The tiger, which Borges admired above all other animals, and which features again in Sophie’s favourite childhood book, is illustrated with flicking pages. Books become butterflies, cityscapes, aeroplanes and dominoes; pages flutter down like rain, and we literally see the images contained within the words and feel the power of literature in a way that no other play has ever achieved.

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Review: He Had Hairy Hands by Kill The Beast

He Had Hairy Hands is billed as ‘a brand new tale of supernatural slaughter’ and the show is a manic whirlwind of fast-paced physical comedy, hilarious one-liners and stunning animations. It takes as its setting the sleepy village of Hemlock-Under-Lye, whose legend of a benign werewolf suddenly takes a turn for the macabre when the bodies of well-loved residents are found, disembowelled and mutilated, resulting in a storm of hommages to Victorian melodrama, Hammer horror and classic detective films, raining down upon the audience at a furious pace.

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Review: Sex Idiot by Bryony Kimmings

Sex Idiot was first created four years ago and, before the performance, Bryony was at pains to remind me that it is part of her earlier canon of work which has matured significantly since then. But I am in haste to make up for lost time and Bryony’s work has been on my ‘must-see-but-haven’t-managed-to-yet’ list for too long, so it seemed fitting that I started with the earlier stuff and can work my way forward from here.

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Review: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog by Third Party Productions

Noggin Nogbad and crowsI have to confess at the outset that I did book the tour of The Sagas of Noggin the Nog for Third Party Productions but, hand on heart, that has in no way biased this review. The show really is the most charming and delightful piece of theatre I have seen for a long time.

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