Arriving at the Other Palace really is quite the experience. Greeted by a doorman wearing a tailcoat, and a palace of 55 different Gins, it is easy to describe the venue as exciting. Taking my seat in the studio, I am met with the smell of red wine. As the four men of the cast enter the stage, the smell is quickly replaced by that of lynx. 4D theatre!
Consistent with well places jabs at modern day masculinity, mixed with the occasional corny one liner, Bromance was undoubtedly a treat to watch. An American musical brought to Blighty often runs the risk of losing its character through culture but I was impressed that the intimate nature of the venue helped the audience feel at one with the Bros. Yes, there was some risqué humour, but it was never taken to a point to make me feel uncomfortable as a woman in the audience. The way the themes were handled was comic enough to create an understanding of no harm intended.
I enjoyed the interaction with the live band, and particularly the song that was an ode to chilli cheese fries (a great snack). There was a painful break up scene, and a genuine sense of joy when all bros reunite.
There must be commendation to the one woman in the cast, Esme Laudat, who showed exceptional skill in multi-role. She brought a unique style and swagger to each role, and really did put the boys in their place when necessary. Overall, the production was smooth and sleek, with an outstanding sense of self. I really couldn’t recommend it enough.
Bromance the Dudesical plays until the 24th of October at The Other Palace
“Dude, you can be a bro and a man”
Its been an emotional Clapham Fringe. TwoLasses have seen all sorts of shows; shows about life, shows about death, shows about love and shows about heartbreak. False Teeth, Fake Fur, True Love perfectly encapsulated it all. A two woman show by comediennes Joan Ellis and Donna Jones genuinely brought a warmth to my heart on a cold, rainy October night.
The show was comprised of stand up humour based on the women’s real life memoirs. There were jokes about the north, jokes about the south and everything in between. Different artistic platforms were used, like poetry and book readings, to give a good flow and element of variety to the structure. This kept the show engaging and with purpose. The women consistently bantered with the audience making the piece feel more relaxed than a traditional end on show, creating a fitting end to the fringe festival. A particular theme to note was Joan Ellis’ commentary about her mother’s battle with dementia, a disease more and more people have experience with, in their families today. Myself included. The way she spoke of this, the bad times, the funny times and the absolutely dreadful times in a way gave me a sense of comfort in my memories of losing my gran. Normally when the theme of dementia is brought up I shut down, bad memories are triggered and I leave feeling miserable. I left feeling great.
Now for a few words on the end of Clapham Fringe. As I said it has been a rollercoaster. It has been another celebration of talent, dedication and a general adoration for the arts. TwoLasses have loved it, but it has also been the season we have had to bid a very sorry farewell to reviews. If we, our team of reviewers and anyone who loves theatre continues to find theatre, find venues like the Bread and Roses and festivals like the Clapham Fringe, it can be sincerely less sad that we are closing this chapter of our journeys. As with the moral of the show, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and you will find it, and probably make a joke out of it. Thank you Clapham.
Modern adaptations of Shakespeare always run a risk of falling flat with some elements not quite translating and sometimes it can become distracting away from the story.
When it’s done well, however, modern adaptations can really highlight the timelessness of Shakespeare’s work and make the plays more accessible.
Much Ado is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, friends meddling in each other’s affairs to set them up- and who hasn’t gone through that in some form?
Starting at a necessary slow pace we are introduced to each of the characters, with a couple including Don John (Aimee Cassettari), being gender-swapped unceremoniously and unapologetically it’s exceptionally easy to pick up relationships and motives, due to editing and typical love at first sight we are launched into Hero (Ava Pickett) and Claudio’s (Julian Bailey-Jones) engagement, without them saying one word to one another and the scheming and matchmaking can begin.
Gregory Birks as Benedick stands out as captivating and funny, the relationship with Beatrice (Talia Pick) is my favourite in the show, and I was craving more time with them battling their wits together, Bailey-Jones really comes into his own during the wedding scene, really cranking it up to 10, which makes sense with how extreme and turbulent their relationship is.
Fun and endearing, this production is a sweet compact version of Much Ado, it does unfortunately fall into the trap of feeling rushed at points, but if you know the plot already it’s a really refreshing production that makes full use of a modern setting- I just wanted more!
This show took me by the lapels and didn’t let me go. Based on several workshops with ‘young people’ (I’m still not sure what this is defined as!) The highly self aware performance is unapologetic in its storytelling it takes you on a journey with two twins who beautifully work towards the same thing while going very different ways about it. One ends up starting a cult based on Kant, and the other joins the Momentum and actively campaigns for Corbyn.
Examining a mired of different issues that were heart-wrenchingly relatable the show was hard to watch at times, but it felt necessary, and just the right amount of cliché so that it didn’t quite bug me, but made the people not in the generation being put under scrutiny had a little bit of a chuckle about avocado on toast and the impossible mix of blind optimism and sense of impending unstoppable doom we seem to have. I strongly hope that they took something from the piece- it’s widely known that the “younger generation” is misunderstood by the generations before them, and actually things might be more productive if we all listened to each other- a point the play also highlights.
An example of aesthetically pleasing applied theatre this show works well for what it is, and you do walk away continuing to think about it for a long time- but it’s probably not one if you want a bit of light hearted entertainment, but one if you like your theatre to leave you thinking. –Kimberley Turford
When I arrived my heart broke a little to see the little white slip on my chair. I know a whole lot of heart and soul goes into these productions, and to see that Ellen Publicover had had to withdraw from the show made me sad.
However, I still held high hopes for the now abridged two-hander, and I’m so glad to report that it lived up to them. If there had not been a slip on my chair I would not have known that half of the cast had only been in the show for one week.
The play follows Sid and Rose as they both try and not try to discover what housemate/boyfriend Leo has been up to, beginning innocently enough you wonder if it’s just going to be another ‘men are such dicks’ play, which it is not by any means, a refreshingly strong female lead that is unafraid to play dirty to get what she wants the plot spirals into a interesting, if a little unbelievable, place but utterly convinces you that the characters are in imminent danger, with no apparent easy way out until the very end. Although the writing fell into the ‘new writing’ style trap of unnecessarily cutting off dialogue in order to appear snappy very occasionally, it on the whole was engaging and realistic. The acting too was, on the whole engaging, (not helped by a noisy stage) and believable and the costuming was brilliant and really accurately reflected the characters being portrayed without shoving it in your face.
This play is brilliant for the rollercoaster it takes you on, I can only imagine what the full production was like, but I recommend this show, and company, highly on their professionalism and delivery. –
There’s something so magical about seeing a children’s show as an adult. It gives you a little sense of being out of place, but in a sneaking into the sweet shop at night and trying all the sweets you haven’t had since you were little because they took all the stuff that makes you hyper out of them now…
I digress, My Father’s Dragon had everything I wanted in it children’s story, it’s framed by a quaint camping trip, where Katrina and Rebecca brilliantly multi-role their way into the adventure of a lifetime with a few, very invested children in tow.
The story follows a young boy make his way through the jungle and encountering various distinct and interesting characters from northern hogs to a vein lion that our brave Elmer meets and helps in order to continue to the journey. I particularly love that she helps, rather than defeats (for the most part, there is a little bit of hopping on crocodile snout) the animals she encounters- promoting positive conflict resolution which is always refreshing to see!
The puppetry work and amazing costuming made the production aesthetically beautiful and engaging. The kids were fascinated by the multi-coloured plastic cutlery as fishes and wanted to play in the sea and swing from the trees and engage with the myriad of characters
Katrina and Rebecca are amazing entrepreneurs that just happen to be fabulous young women, and if you have little ones or space to entertain little ones at your institution you should hire these women because they’re funny, entertaining and you might even learn something about yourself.
Check out their Website here: http://www.catandhutch.com/home/4581828039
Tell us a bit about you as a company and this show?
Exploding Whale was formed in 2017 as the resident company of London Bridge studio theatre ‘Katzpace’. Our debut show ‘Heroes’, a coming-of-age story set to the soundtrack of David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’, enjoyed sell out runs on tour at the Brighton & Edinburgh Fringe, Bridge House SE20 and most recently headlining Sydenham Arts Festival.
We return home to Katzpace this October with our nappy 5-star revival of Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Directed by Ellie Morris, member of the Olivier Award winning Mischief Theatre. Our abridged modern twist on one of Shakespeare’s most loved comedies was a sell-out hit in 2015, praised for its accessibility, hilarity and energy.
You’re doing Shakespeare, what makes your production relevant and new?
Metamorphosis, the latest offer by writer/director Sam Chittenden of Brighton-based company Different Theatre, is a clever piece of work which re-imagines Kafka’s The Metamorphosis from the point of view of Grete Samsa, sister to the novella’s protagonist Gregor. At its heart it seems to draw from works like Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad, itself a re-imagining of Homer’s Odyssey: Grete recounts the events of the book and her life, comparing her brothers’ transformation into an insect to her own transformation into womanhood, presented as something equally frightening, not in and of itself, but due to the culture of shaming the female body in the nineteenth century. In doing so it highlights the silencing of female voices throughout western history, astutely drawing a parallel between Gregor’s surreal dehumanization and the historical dehumanization of women perpetuated by patriarchal society. It becomes clear very early on how Grete is also a likely representation of Ottile, Franz’s favourite sister, drawing on their correspondence to inform Grete’s complex relationship and fraught to her brother and family. The piece rightly assumes a political dimension, continuing the story of Grete/Ottile past the death of her brother, ending with her arrival in a concentration camp during World War II, evoking Orson Welles’ adaptation of The Trial, where protagonist K’s death is portrayed as defiant rather than hopeless, a change Welles made in tribute to the resilience of Jewish People. Special mention must be paid toactor Heather-Rose Andrews, who utilises her commanding voice to maximum effect, modulating it to play a Grete in several stages of her life, as well as a host of other characters. Her dexterity with language and emotion made me wish the piece be made as an audio drama, so I may better concentrate on the words themselves. All in All, Metamorphosis is a powerful and affecting show which, particularly in today’s political climate, deserves a wider audience.