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Review: Royal Shakespeare Company: Othello

Iqbal Khan’s Othello is a haunting rendition of psychological unravelling. With a stage bathed in blue light, a set reminiscent of a gothic church, and songs performed like elegies, Shakespeare’s controversial tragedy undergoes a thematic dismantling. Khan’s Othello recontextualises the play’s depictions of brutality and injustice. Costumes wander in a realm between modern and timeless, and additional dialogue involves the multi-racial community exchanging racist insults using current language. Most notably, the dynamic between Othello and the manipulative Iago shifts, with the compelling casting choice of a black actor as Iago. Continue reading Review: Royal Shakespeare Company: Othello

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Theatres in the Dark: Here’s How You Can Support Your Local Playhouse

When theatres fell dark on Monday 16 March 2020, few could have imagined that nearly four months later their doors would remain closed. Their auditoriums decidedly empty and their stages eerily quiet. While lockdown has meant we’ve been able to enjoy award-winning productions streamed directly to our homes, performers, technicians and audiences alike are now eagerly anticipating a return to normality, itching for theatres to raise their curtains once more. Continue reading Theatres in the Dark: Here’s How You Can Support Your Local Playhouse

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Four Decades On, Patti Smith is Still the Godmother of Poetry and Protest

Few things match the feeling, as a fifteen-year-old girl, of hearing a woman in a classic rock song tell you: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” At once, you’re aware of the magnificence of living honestly and boldly. You also realise that if you’re too nervous to attempt that yourself, you can always turn up the volume, and ​live vicariously through someone who’s less afraid. Continue reading Four Decades On, Patti Smith is Still the Godmother of Poetry and Protest

“No One Wants to See a Fat Cheerleader”: Using Body Shaming as a Weapon in Female Conflict

I’ve realised that Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006) was one of the formative films of my childhood. It was hardly a critically acclaimed masterpiece but, in a modest way, the film attempted to tackle the issues of race and class, adhering to and deviating from teenage stereotypes in equal measure. As well as this, there are cheerleading routines galore, an amazing noughties soundtrack and an appearance from a young Rihanna – what more could you want from a film? Continue reading “No One Wants to See a Fat Cheerleader”: Using Body Shaming as a Weapon in Female Conflict

Pride Culture Comforts: Eurovision

The Eurovision Song Contest final is Gay Christmas.
It’s camp, glittery, and flamboyant; it’s a spectacle and, with the legendary commentary from Graham Norton, it’s a gift. For many reasons, the LGBTQ+ community gravitates towards this event and form a large proportion of its hardcore fanbase – one such reason being the competition’s central values of unity, tolerance, and diversity Continue reading Pride Culture Comforts: Eurovision

Review: Sea Wall

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Simon Stephens’ Sea Wall is raw and devastating. This one-man play begins lightly, Alex (Andrew Scott) chatting amiably about his father-in-law, holidays in the South of France, and his deep affection for his wife and daughter. Yet, strung through this narrative is a tension that tightens as the story unfolds. The audience are constantly on edge, watching as Alex circles closer and closer to the painful story aching at the play’s centre. Continue reading Review: Sea Wall

Review: National Theatre at Home: Frankenstein

A collection of 3,500 light bulbs hang above the audience, flashing all at once, as electronic static buzzes persistently. A spherical, beige screen – veiny, alien, womb-like – stands alone on the stage, until suddenly a hand bursts through it. Even for a virtual viewer, there is a sensory overload of light and sound as the Creature falls hard on the floor. It convulses and squirms, wet and barely conscious, twitching like a fish out of water. In silence, we watch it attempt to move, adjusting to its limbs as if paralysed. Continue reading Review: National Theatre at Home: Frankenstein

Review: National Theatre at Home: Twelfth Night

From director Simon Godwin comes a colourful, chaotic frenzy of a Twelfth Night that is choc-a-bloc with laughs, love, music and anguish. As part of the National Theatre at Home’s free YouTube streaming of shows, this week we are treated to Godwin’s vision of the foolish antics of Shakespeare’s tortured misfits and loveable rogues.

If you aren’t familiar with Twelfth Night, it is a classic Shakespeare comedy about mistaken identity. Sebastian and Viola are shipwrecked on the island of Illyria, and Viola assumes her brother’s identity, thinking he is dead. However, things don’t go smoothly for her when she gets caught in a love triangle with the Duke Orsino and Olivia, doting on him while Olivia dotes as much on her. Continue reading Review: National Theatre at Home: Twelfth Night

Review: National Theatre at Home: Jane Eyre

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre seeks to enhance the progressive, feminist quality of Charlotte Bronte’s writing. Through physical theatre, evocative music and a fiery protagonist, this play strives to shift this classic love story into a bildungsroman. While slightly encumbered by its three-hour length and a depth of source material to untangle, this adaptation undeniably succeeds in bringing something new to well-trodden territory. Continue reading Review: National Theatre at Home: Jane Eyre

Review: Family on Screen: The Wind in the Willows

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

To provide some escapism and light relief from the prevailing news reports surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, the producers of the West End 2017 production of The Wind in the Willows are streaming the show online for free. Whilst I appreciate the attempt to bring the magic of theatre to the comfort of one’s home, this production with its bumpy and dull storyline and unlikeable, arrogant protagonist, partnered with buffering Wi-Fi, leaves something to be desired.  Continue reading Review: Family on Screen: The Wind in the Willows