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Review: Theatre with Teeth’s Duet

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For most, a railway waiting room is a fleeting moment, a brief pause on the way to a real destination. However, in Duet, the protagonist Josh (Finn Thornton) has no other destination. Every day he visits his station’s waiting room to play the piano as he waits to move on from his wife’s tragic death. In this touching play, James Murphy has crafted a script that explores the difficulties of grief, love, mental illness and friendship, in words that are able to move us both to tears and laughter. Continue reading Review: Theatre with Teeth’s Duet

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Review: Frozen II

Disney Sequels. Two words which conjure up a slew of childhood straight-to-VHS or DVD extravaganzas, sporting worse animation and subpar storylines (except the Cinderella sequels, which were surprisingly better than the original). But Frozen II is no cheap add on. The animation is stunning, the voice work is impeccable and the soundtrack is stellar. But this is to be expected. The question is, does it live up to the hype of the original? Continue reading Review: Frozen II

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Review: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

“The river lapped and the boat rose and fell, and a far-off little voice called without cease for its parents from the depths of the goblin world.”

Setterfield’s tale begins at The Swan, a pub at Radcot, the hub of storytelling on the Thames. The regular drinkers are disturbed by the sudden entrance of an enormous man, bleeding and injured from the mouth, cradling a puppet in his arms. After the man collapses dramatically and the puppet is retrieved from his arms, the locals discover to their horror that he had been holding the drowned body of a little girl. Mysteriously, the girl soon revives, yet seems incapable of speaking. The novel then follows the story of three different characters, all laying a claim to this girl. One is a farmer searching for the missing child of his son, a grandchild whom he only recently discovered existed. Another is a landowner whose wife is sinking into madness after the disappearance of their daughter. The last, a confused middle-aged woman haunted by disturbing nightmares of her drowned younger sister from decades before, is convinced that her sibling has returned. Continue reading Review: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

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Review: Breaking Up With JK Rowling @ Exeter Phoenix

I didn’t know what to expect walking into Breaking Up With JK Rowling at Exeter Phoenix as part of the Come As You Are Festival, and I don’t think I could have correctly guessed. Upon walking in, I was greeted by a striking image of J.K. Rowling’s books torn up, defaced, scattered around tables and all over the floor, and a single microphone in the middle of the room. The cabaret-style seating encouraged chat between audience members and performers alike as they set up casually in full view, creating a relaxed ambience. Each tattered and scribbled-on piece of paper, child’s sock and crumbled-up ‘Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans’ wrapper stirred up a feeling of pleasant nostalgia. There was immediately a feeling of powerful, jarring contrast in having a story that has so pivotally shaped a generation being treated with physical disregard. The sacrilege of mishandling a book is one felt by many book-lovers and, for the right viewing audience, a powerful semiotic image. But where there is sadness, there is anger, too. After all, J.K. Rowling was the first to rip apart her own work with all the clumsiness of physically ripping out pages. Continue reading Review: Breaking Up With JK Rowling @ Exeter Phoenix

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Review: Substance and Shadow Theatre’s ‘Walking with God’

Substance and Shadow Theatre are an Exeter-based theatre company with a propensity for horror and history, shown in their most recent production, Walking with God. An immersive and creepy original play, the show demonstrates the company’s inventive and unique nature, which perfectly suits the darker side of Exeter’s past.  

Performed in St Nicholas Priory, the eerie ex-monastery gave a ghostly edge to their dark piece on Jack the Ripper, and with a large portion of the action set in Exeter Digby Mental Asylum, Substance and Shadow convincingly brought the London murders to its Devon audience. Even upon entering the building through Exeter’s darker alleyways, it felt as though we were transported to the labyrinth of 19th Century Whitechapel. Their choice of venue and aptly decorated, candle-lit scene perfectly combined with the immersive nature of their theatre, culminating in a time-travel experience to Victorian London/Exeter. 
Continue reading Review: Substance and Shadow Theatre’s ‘Walking with God’

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Review: Com Soc’s “A Streetcar Named Shakira”

Have you ever dreamt of witnessing a real, live witch burning? Or getting the inside scoop on Gwyneth Paltrow’s successful skincare range? Maybe not, but “A Streetcar Named Shakira” is a comedy sketch show which will give you just those things (and more). Bursting with originality, confidence and energy, this innovative performance engages the audience and delivers a night full of side-splitting laughter. Continue reading Review: Com Soc’s “A Streetcar Named Shakira”

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Review: ‘Last Supper in Pompeii’ at the Ashmolean

The exhibition is well laid out, starting with a wider examination of the culture and reaching a highpoint as it showcases the objects of a Roman dining room, which is swiftly followed by a suitably confined space to show kitchen utensils and examples of food. This sense of flow continues throughout the majority of the exhibition, meaning that even when busy, it is not too difficult to see everything, and aspects of food and death are blended to give an idea of their links in Roman culture. The skilful curation and brilliant artefacts make this an exhibition that you’d be foolish to miss if you are in the region – or even worth a little train journey. Continue reading Review: ‘Last Supper in Pompeii’ at the Ashmolean