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

Review: Shotgun Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’

Before seeing Shotgun’s long-awaited Spring Awakening, I was warned to brace myself. With scenes of a daring psychological and sexual nature, I initially feared how an amateur student theatre company could handle such topics with sensitivity or avoid cliché or damaging romanticising. However, this production was the furthest thing from amateur. With a cast of astounding talent, a flawless soft-rock musical score, and a few light-hearted subplots peppering humour between heart-wrenching trauma, Spring Awakening had me Feeling. Directed by Jacob Hutchings and assisted by Sacha Mulley, this creative team have produced one of the most stunning and thought-provoking pieces of theatre I’ve seen at university. Continue reading Review: Shotgun Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’

Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Urinetown

I recently attended a talk by the theatre critic Libby Purves, who admitted that it’s difficult to critique musical theatre productions, because “they just do so much”. This is a statement I wholeheartedly agree with, and one which kept running through my mind during Shotgun’s production of the musical Urinetown. Despite certain hallmarks of an amateur production – largely relating to limitations posed by the venue, stage, and equipment – Urinetown comes across as a colourful explosion of work, creativity and talent. It is a synthesis of drama, dance, costume, set, singing, and music – as the onstage band and ever-present figure of the conductor (Ryan Mulgrew) never let the audience forget. Continue reading Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Urinetown

Review: It Shoulda Been You

There was a lot that could go wrong when you’re putting on a show like It Shoulda Been You. A musical-comedy is best to be avoided when considering how many invitations for failure there are inherent in the genre. Cringey dialogue, cheap jokes that fall flat, plots that adorn absurdity, are all too common; worsened by the addition of the setting of a wedding and … Continue reading Review: It Shoulda Been You

Review: Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors, the brainchild of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, is a zany musical about abusive relationships, a giant carnivorous plant and the cost of success. The premise is pure B movie sci-fi: an extraterrestrial plant requires human blood to grow – the more it grows, the more flesh it desires. However, Mushnik’s Flower Shop is only able to survive in Skid Row … Continue reading Review: Little Shop of Horrors

Review: Dogfight

Peter Duchan’s Dogfight is by no means an easy musical to tackle. The best way to describe it would be a play with an identity crisis, its complexity making it difficult to align with a particular genre. Dogfight tells the tale of a group of American marines on the eve of shipment to fight in Vietnam. They decide to pass their final evening continuing their … Continue reading Review: Dogfight