Most popular posts of 2018

Electra - Lydia Larson (Credit - Lidia Crisafulli)
Electra Photo credit: Lidia Crisafulli

I’m always fascinated by the stats page here – in particular, which of my posts end up attracting the most hits! It definitely can take you by surprise at times. So, here are the top 15 most viewed posts from 2018…

15. Section 2

Teamed with No One Is Coming To Save You is Paper Creatures Theatre’s new play Section 2. Written by up & coming playwright Peter Imms, it is based on his own experiences of a friend being sectioned – there is a growing number of plays (and indeed musicals) that deal with aspects of mental health, but sectioning is an area that doesn’t get the focus it needs. To this end, the company have been working with the mental health charity Mind to ensure it is as accurate as possible and represents the process in the right way. Read more…

14. Teddy

Bursting into the Vaults following a run at the Watermill Theatre and a short UK tour, Tristan Bernays’ musical Teddy transports the audience back to Elephant & Castle in 1956 for a rip-roaring adventure with the Teddy Boys and Girls. Backed by onstage live band Johnny Valentine and the Broken Hearts and dynamically directed by Eleanor Rhode, the show brings the best of both worlds as rock gig and theatre combine with a crash and a bang. Read more…

13. Vault Festival 2018: preview

It’s that time of year again: the annual VAULT Festival is nearly upon us, and looks set to be bigger & better than ever! There’s a lot to love about what goes on at this event, with an incredible range of theatre, comedy, music & refreshments on offer every day for eight weeks. Read more…

Much Ado About Nothing-34
Much Ado About Nothing
Photo source: Merely Theatre

12. Much Ado About Nothing (Merely Theatre)

Like London buses, no sooner does one production of Much Ado About Nothing come along than another follows hot on its heels! This time it’s the turn of Merely Theatre, who are touring this beloved comedy alongside famous tragedy Macbeth – though beginning with a series of open air performances solely of Much Ado. Sadly the Great British weather took matters into its own hands during parts of the run at St Alfege Park, but luckily a plan B was in place and everything was moved over to the studio space in Greenwich Theatre instead. It was a shame to miss out on the full sunny spectacle, but it was a real treat to experience an intimate performance instead. Read more…

11. Sunshine on Leith

The first spark of an idea for this show came back in the noughties, when director James Brining decided it would be a good idea to create a brand new Scottish musical – writer Stephen Greenhorn came back with the thought of using the music of The Proclaimers and it took off from there. Since making its debut at the Dundee Rep in 2007, a hit film has been made (starring Jane Horrocks, George MacKay, Antonia Thomas, and others) and Brining has moved onto pastures new. However, the themes explored in the show seemed ever pertinent and, with a bit of tweaking, it has developed into this updated version. Starting out at West Yorkshire Playhouse, it has journeyed to Edinburgh and Coventry, and is about to make its way around a few more of Scotland’s cities. Read more…

10. Worth A Flutter

The award-winning Hope Theatre welcomes Michael Head’s Worth A Flutter for a limited run. Directed by Jonathon Carr, it stars Head alongside Clare McNamara, Lucy Pinder, Paul Danan & Jack Harding. In writing the play, Head has drawn inspiration from his family & friends, setting it in his native south east London and telling stories from their lives. Read more…

9. Cockamamy (Guest review: Kirsty Herrington)

Inspired by writer-performer Louise Coulthard’s own experiences with her grandmother, Cockamamy offers a heartfelt, personal and relatable insight into dementia. Read more…

©Rah Petherbridge Photography S29992how Oliver! (1) - Isabel Wroe Wright
Oliver With a Twist
Photo credit: Rah Petherbridge

8. Shit-faced Showtime: Oliver with a Twist

What do you get when you give a classically trained musical theatre actor two bottles of prosecco & some aperol, then throw them onstage? That’s right, the perennial crowd favourite Shit-faced Showtime is back for more drunken madness at the Cowbarn in Edinburgh’s Underbelly. This year’s booze-bathed show is Oliver With a Twist, taking the family classic Oliver! and mixing it up a little bit. With a cast of five, including a pianist, the potential for chaos is high before you add alcohol into the equation. Read more…

7. Sounds of Refuge

Good Chance presents the debut world music album from stars of The Jungle which is available to pre-order now, in advance of its official release on 31 August 2018. It blends the musical talents of John Falsetto & Mohamed Sarrar with spoken word from Ammar Haj Ahmad, blending Zimbabwean, Sudanese & Syrian influences to create something bold and new. The eight-track album was recorded earlier this year at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, with assistance from Duncan Webb on piano and keys. Read more…

6. Jermaine and Elsie

Winner of the Best Drama Award at last year’s Portobello Film Festival, Jermaine and Elsie tells the story of two worlds colliding through the form of a short film. Jermaine is a carer who’s always willing to go the extra mile, and sticks with it even if he’s not treated in the nicest way – Elsie, on the other hand, has grown incredibly disgruntled with the world and takes it out on everyone she encounters. It’s set in the West Kensington area, and through both Jermaine and Elsie it highlights some of the issues facing working class people in that part of London. Read more…

5. Sounds of Refuge: album announced

After meeting in the rehearsal rooms for Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s play The Jungle, cast members John Falsetto (Okot) and Mohamed Sarrar (Omar) started composing music for the show. Now, alongside Ammar Haj Ahmad (Syrian actor & poet, who plays Safi), they are set to release a recording of their compositions entitled Sounds of Refuge – one of the aims being to challenge people’s preconceptions about refuge and refugees. “Music is most powerful when it draws from across the world”, say Murphy & Robertson. “Sounds of Refuge is a collage of influences and traditions that will introduce listeners to a brand new sound. Good Chance is very proud to be associated with its production.” Read more…

4. Ed Fringe: The Musical Revue

Really, this should have been the very first show of my schedule – as I’m an Edinburgh Fringe newbie I need all the tips I can get! Even if they are slightly tongue-in-cheek and in song format… You may remember that Ellen went to see a preview of this musical revue back in June, and it sounded like it was well on the way to brilliance even then. It’s running at C too for the duration of the festival, so whether you’re a rookie or a veteran there’s no excuse to miss it out of your schedule. Read more…

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All Night Long
Photo credit: Shane Finn

3. Brendan Cole: All Night Long

Strictly favourite Brendan Cole returns for his 10th annual tour, bringing All Night Long back to the stage after a successful run in 2017. It is a truly dynamic show, combining many & varied dances with fantastic live musicianship and singing, as well as some chat from the man himself in between most numbers. Read more…

2. Julius Caesar (Spada Productions)

“We need bold art more than ever now, so I wanted to create a version of Julius Caesar that pushes boundaries and takes the audience and actors out of their comfort zone.” So says director (& Caesar) William Vercelli about the Spada Productions version of the Shakespeare classic that has just begun a stint at Hoxton’s Courtyard Theatre; it certainly is bold, there’s no denying that, but the result is a bit of a mess. It’s hard to get a handle on the setting – the look is quite primitive (with varying degrees of paint smeared on the actors), but presumably Jenn Sambridge’s designs are attempts at a variation on a post-apocalyptic theme, as they have knives and a structure made up of metal poles (as well as what looks like a sand pit, for no apparent reason). Plus they’re all obsessed with getting their kit off. Even a funeral won’t stop them! Read more…

1. Electra

DumbWise Theatre bring Greek tragedy right up to date, as John Ward’s new adaptation of the Sophocles & Euripedes classics comes to the stage. It continues the Spring Season at The Bunker with a bang, as punk spirit collides with ancient history to tell a very modern story – an epic that echoes our own disillusionment & discontent. Read more…

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