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: Fringe Preview-Shotgun Theatre’s ‘The Remarkables’

After seeing The Remarkables when it first debuted in March, I was intrigued to see how co-writers Matt Smith and Sean Wareing had edited their original musical to make it Fringe-ready. With a few script cuts and new songs, I was impressed to see the changes made while retaining the show’s hilarity and ridiculousness. With an incredibly witty cast and creative team, The Remarkables remains a thoroughly enjoyable and strikingly professional student-written musical.   Continue reading Review: Fringe Preview-Shotgun Theatre’s ‘The Remarkables’

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 Bonnie & Clyde @ Exeter Phoenix

Dramatic, sexy and thrilling, Shotgun Theatre brings to the stage of Exeter Phoenix a production about the iconic criminal duo that captured America’s hearts in the 30s. Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow start off as young teens full of ambitions and craving for fame and admiration. Trapped in America’s Great Depression, the two fell in love as young adults and turned to stealing and killing to achieve their dreams. Continue reading Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Bonnie & Clyde @ Exeter Phoenix

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

Review: The Last Five Years

Shotgun Theatre’s most recent production saw the musical theatre society take on Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years. The play presents a classic story: boy meets girl, they fall in love, things turn sour, they fall out of love. Nothing new there. However, the play’s unconventional temporal structure sets it apart. The production follows Jamie from the beginning of his relationship with Cathy to … Continue reading Review: The Last Five Years

Investing in the Arts: A Note on Shotgun Theatre’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Shotgun Theatre has raised over £2,000 in four days in a crowdfunding campaign to get its production of Godspell to the Edinburgh Fringe. This phenomenal response has given me food for thought. The arts really do matter to people, don’t they? Last November, I reviewed Godspell for Razz; giving 4.5 out of 5 stars because it was the best piece of student theatre I’d ever … Continue reading Investing in the Arts: A Note on Shotgun Theatre’s Crowdfunding Campaign