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Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

Producing giant Bill Kenwright, through the aptly named Thriller Theatre Company, brings us a tour of the stage version of this 1938 classic film by Hitchcock. Roy Marsden directs this cast of big names (lots of people from telly, apparently) who navigate a grey and textured stage designed by Morgan Large.

The story concerns the socialite Iris, a sweet and wide-eyed woman travelling back to England to get married, who befriends Ms Froy, a former governess and music teacher. Ms Froy is the lady who vanishes during the journey and the other passengers all seem to be conspiring against Iris, claiming that the woman was never there. All but Max, a charmer who chooses to believe Iris and helps her uncover the mystery. There is the touch of the international and the historical: Charters and Caldicott discuss the cricket in a quintessentially British manner, Sinor Doppo is an Italian magician, and Nazi soldiers patrol the train. With promises of thriller, espionage, coded messages through song, and a train filled with characters and mystery, I was excited to be taken on this journey. Unfortunately, almost everything fell flat. Continue reading Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

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Review: Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of The Century @Exeter Phoenix

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Important, funny and playful entertainment for the whole family.

To mark 80 years since the start of WW2, PaddleBoat Theatre Company, an Exeter-based group of devising performers working with children in schools, are touring a production focusing on the often forgotten Clare Hollingworth. She was the first person to report from Poland that the German tanks were at the border, ready to invade. Her ‘scoop’, uncredited mind you, became front page news all over the UK. In this hour-long, interactive and high-energy show, the company displays great understanding of the forms they present. Continue reading Review: Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of The Century @Exeter Phoenix

Review: Loneliness And Other Adventures @ Drayton Arms Theatre, Kensington

To describe Loneliness And Other Adventures in one word, it would be ‘relatable’. Writer and performer Mollie Semple has tapped into the consciousness of so many young women in this one-woman play, focusing on a twenty-one year-old woman as she attempts to deal with loneliness and the fear of dying alone. Under the direction of Sophie Leydon, Semple has crafted and performed a wonderful script, both touching and funny, that is sure to connect with anyone who has ever felt alone. Continue reading Review: Loneliness And Other Adventures @ Drayton Arms Theatre, Kensington

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: Fringe Preview-Theatre With Teeth’s ‘Mary’s Room’

Focused on the eponymous philosophical experiment of ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’ – informally known as Mary’s Room – Amy White’s production is a fascinating exploration of the Human. When Professors Shelley and Cavendish build ‘Adam’, their first artificially created man, they stumble upon student Mary to test the extent of his humanity, and whether such machines can possess a soul. Through their unexpected friendship, Adam begins to show flaws that align with all the naturally “broken” parts of being a human.
Continue reading Review: Fringe Preview-Theatre With Teeth’s ‘Mary’s Room’

Review: Unknown

Hannah O’Dowd’s T3 play Unknown featured some of the strongest student talent that I’ve come across at Exeter.

In what was undoubtedly the most moving piece of university theatre I’ve seen, this play tells the true story of a plane accident and its consequences on Hannah, the writer and protagonist. Unknown tackles the complex theme of trauma with sensitivity and maturity on the writer’s part, showing the evolution of her psychological and physical wellbeing in the two years since the incident. While autobiographical, the play has a broader outlook, preventing it from feeling overly personal. O’Dowd’s aim has been to create a meaningful piece of work that gives voice to the victims and survivors of brain injury, memory loss and trauma, as well as what at times feels like a more personal attempt at catharsis. It is gentle and at times wry, while humour and light-heartedness also give the play a fresh outlook and reveal O’Dowd’s writing skill, as well as her self-awareness and perspective. Continue reading Review: Unknown

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’