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Review: EUTCO’s The Great Gatsby

Gatsby: the name is synonymous with glamour, the roaring ‘20s, extravagant excess, wealth, parties, hedonism, flowing alcohol, the power to turn dreams into reality, and the sense of a lost time. It also signifies a story of dashed ambition and tragedy. EUTCO’s production of The Great Gatsby at the Northcott, adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic, drew out these tensions thoughtfully and impressively. Published in 1925, Fitzgerald’s novel has undergone a whole new revival with the onset of the 2020s. Mimi Templar Gay’s direction produced a play which encouraged its audience to reflect on its relevance to our present time, particularly in light of its pervasive concerns with money, success and what it means to be fortunate. Continue reading Review: EUTCO’s The Great Gatsby

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Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Sweeney Todd

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The tale of Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett carries a loaded reputation; from Broadway to Burton, the tale of the “Demon barber of Fleet Street” and his pie-making partner-in-crime has become a household horror story, making it often difficult to revitalise. Shotgun Theatre’s production, however, did not disappoint in its thrilling and refreshing adaptation, boasting an extraordinarily talented band, an impressively crafted set, and a cast that could be straight from the West End. Directed by Jessa Thompson, the murderous tale has been modified with exciting twists, and her feminist reworkings of certain characters are invigorating to an otherwise predictable plot. Continue reading Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Sweeney Todd

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Review: Dear Evan Hansen @ Noël Coward Theatre, West End

“Dear Evan Hansen,

Today is going to be a good day and here’s why…”

After winning six Tony Awards in 2017, a West End run for Dear Evan Hansen became a highly anticipated inevitability – even more so because it’s a creation of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the minds behind La La Land and The Greatest Showman. The show grapples with teen suicide and mental health by following Evan Hansen, a lonely high-schooler with (nearly) crippling social anxiety, whose bully, Connor Murphy, kills himself. Through unfortunate coincidence, Evan is caught up in the aftermath when Murphy’s parents are convinced he was their son’s best friend. He falls into perpetuating and expanding this fabrication of friendship as he grows closer to the family, goes viral online, and his dreams start to come true. But with everything built on the world wide web of lies, can Evan handle it? Continue reading Review: Dear Evan Hansen @ Noël Coward Theatre, West End

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Review: The Taming of the Shrew @ The Barbican

Until recently, all that I knew about the plot of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew was what I had seen in 10 Things I Hate About You: the frosty, hostile Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) softens when she accidentally falls for the slightly intimidating Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger). On my way to London, to see this production I felt reasonably excited by the prospect of watching the original play. The idea of going to see a performance at the Barbican over the Christmas period sounds enticing – especially when it is to watch something as cultured as a Shakespeare play. Little did I know that I would not be so pleased afterwards. Continue reading Review: The Taming of the Shrew @ The Barbican

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Review: Quirk Theatre’s ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ @ Exeter Phoenix

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

A delightful, magical, and charming rendition of the timeless children’s book to warm every audience member’s heart this festive season.

When I went to see Quirk Theatre’s adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit, I must admit that I was dubious and had a few questions. In particular, how was this cast going to convey and embody the actions and emotions of a stuffed rabbit? However, Quirk Theatre quashed all my doubts and left me yearning to re-read the charming children’s book in order to re-live their heartwarming production of the story.  Continue reading Review: Quirk Theatre’s ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ @ Exeter Phoenix

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Review: CLIMATE CHANGE THEATRE ACTION @ Exeter Phoenix

Climate Change Theatre Action is a series of worldwide readings and performances of short climate change plays with the intention of raising awareness through a new platform. The performance promised readings of short plays focusing on climate change by a panel of climate scientists from the Met Office and the University of Exeter, in partnership with Agile Rabbit.   Continue reading Review: CLIMATE CHANGE THEATRE ACTION @ Exeter Phoenix

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Review: NT Live ‘Present Laughter’

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Present Laughter follows a few days in the life of Garry Essendine, an esteemed stage actor, just before he embarks on a tour of Africa. As the play progresses, it delves into Garry’s ego, penchant for one-night stands with bright young things, and precarious relationships with his nearest and dearest – an ex-wife, a beleaguered secretary, and friends and business partners Morris and Henry – all explored with equally humorous and heart-breaking results. The play debuted in 1942 and was one of Noel Coward’s best-known plays, earning great praise from critics and the public alike. Many have said that the character of Garry Essendine is a self-portrait – Coward was known as ‘the original pop star’ and had to navigate the highs and lows of celebrity life himself.  The 2019 revival’s director, Andy Warchus, chose to stay true to Coward’s script, apart from two key gender swaps: ‘Henry’ becomes ‘Helen’, and his wife becomes a husband. This is key in the way that the relationships between characters play out, and, arguably, more accurately reflects Coward’s character and original intention for the script, as he himself was closeted during his lifetime.   Continue reading Review: NT Live ‘Present Laughter’