Kidnap, Coats and Cooper; Lion and Unicorn (Kentish Town)

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There’s nothing we love more than theatre, except maybe when there is also a pub involved. The Lion and Unicorn pub in Kentish town was a lovely venue, with lots of signage to point you towards the lovely walled garden and of course, the theatre.

 

The theatre itself was a standard black box space, and fans were kindly provided as we were at the top of a full building on a very hot day! Luckily the show was good enough to hold our attention through the heat!

 

Funny, clever and yeah, still more funny Kidnap is my favourite use of technology in theatre to date. It seamlessly blended classic comedy tropes that are reminiscent of Fry and Laurie with film and audio skits that include timeless characterisation and clever filmography (my favourite piece being the part where they interacted directly with the video)

 

The show is essentially divided into three sections, police, kidnappers and then a finale that left you surprised and in stitches. Each section carefully wove into the next and satisfyingly looped back around again to the beginning. The audience participation was well thought out, expertly picking someone that wasn’t a natural performer, but that was willing to go along with the action on stage.

 

We both thoroughly recommend this play, and if you’re lucky enough to be up in Edinburgh this summer you should definitely catch them!

Lies, Lost Chapters Theatre; London Theatre (New Cross)

Lies, by Lost Chapters Theatre at London Theatre New Cross

Let’s start; the space. What a stunner! London’s smallest, purpose built fringe theatre, features cosy decor and a fabulous bar. 10/10 would love to return!

The play; publicised as an interrogation into social media and how we know what is true or not. Great. The show began (nearly 15 minutes late) and lasted 15 minutes less than advertised. It began with a demonstration of a rather jazzy looking lie detector machine – think Jeremy Kyle but a bit less fancy – introduced by actors who felt decidedly cold towards the audience. This was then quickly cleared up and never referenced again. The text from this point became very poetic, which was pleasing to enjoy, however the story seemed to lack any combination of beginning, middle or end. The actors were well versed in script and characters, and their credit must not go un noted.
Now I am not one to write neat criticism, so to speak clearly I feel this show has one incredibly strong premise and major potential to be remarkably strong, however it needs polishing and strength in its purpose.

It’s Not All Plane Sailing: GASP Theatre

Not All Plane Sailing, by GASP theatre;
Arriving in Bromley, TwoLasses were pleased to see a Wetherspoons and a Greggs within walking distance of each other, and the Churchill Theatre. A busy and jazzy venue (also hosting Neil Diamond that night) we found our way to the studio space and took our seats.
Punny and entertaining, Not All Plane Sailing followed the maiden voyage of a new plane under the company name Pork Air. Four primed air hostesses dealt with all sorts of passenger needs, non-allergies, rude children and vegans, plus two decidedly misogynistic male pilots. All characters were played by 4 young women, who we both felt wholly invested in the variety of characters they played. Although minor issues with tech were present, the cast dealt with these professionally and kept the show running smoothly. We were presented with moments that gave us genuine, heartfelt laughter and puns that were so well crafted they deserved their own applause. The show would work very well as a comedy musical, and with extra time added to the performance the themes and storylines within have great potential for development, to really relish in those comedic themes. Overall, the show was strong, funny and definitely did what it said on the tin – it made us laugh and gave us a proper good night. Well done to all involved!IMG_2594

Obsession; Kate Marston, Katzpace

 

 

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The second show in our weekend bloggin

g extravaganza proved itself to be a hit with us! Obsession followed the story of Ivy, a young woman whose OCD triggers a 

breakdown in her relationship and provokes tensions in every part of her life.


Our first thoughts were that we were struck by the exceptionally high quality of the performance; a well-developed script delivered by trained actors that made the most of the intimate space. The narrative was tidy, and we felt it could have benefitted from an additional half hour, exploring processes of therapy and familial relationships- perhaps a chance to give the secondary female actress a chance to show off their versatility- though it was really great to see 50/50 gender split on stage, but maybe more importantly just over half of the production/creative team were female too- something that’s not quite as common.

 

OCD is one of those odd illnesses that somehow still isn’t taken seriously. People don’t bat an eyelid when if someone says ‘Oh, I’m so OCD about X’ or ‘You know I think I might have OCD, I can’t stand things not being in the right place’. In an age where we’re endlesslypromoting self-care and depression and anxiety awareness, surely the next step has to be to not trivialise serious illnesses such as OCD. Anyone who has spoken to someone with OCD knows just how damaging and debilitating it can be- not just liking your DVDs in alphabetical order.

 

And that’s why shows like this are important. They produce and reflect something that needs more understanding. I really hope it goes on and on and on.

 

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Bitter; Potter and Wagner- New Diorama Theatre

Funny, real and beautiful. Three words that come to mind after seeing this show by award-winning Potter and Wagner.

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Funny. The play made me laugh out loud, it made a lot of the audience laugh out loud. There was something for everyone, from small character traits to hilarious anecdotes (The Tarquin one especially tickled me!) and the plot walked the line perfectly between realistic and bizarre, physically and verbally the play was witty and silly and it actually made me snort at one point. It’s so rare that I find theatre, even comedies, as funny as I did with Bitter.

 

Real. The play touched on some really hard-hittingaspects of being a graduate. Having only finished university two weeks ago, the putting on a brave “positive” face for the world and playing up what little opportunities we’ve had to our friends and family. The relationships were well written and the play had the feel that it had been devised by a close group of people.

 

Beautiful. The play itself was beautiful, the musical element, and the smart use of the loop pedal allowed for the feel of live music, without losing out on bodies in the space dancing and storytelling (a particular highlight being the going out sequence) The acting and ensemble quality was really high and aesthetically it was one of the best looking, clean shows I’ve seen in a black box space.

 

Overall we can’t recommend this show, and company, enough!

Of Course I’m Hot… I’m 50; Yellow Coat Theatre Company.

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So to kick off our weekend extravaganza of three shows in 24 hours, we’re reviewing Of Course I’m Hot… I’m 50, a production by Yellow Coat Theatre Company for the first ever Catford Fringe Festival.

 

As the title suggests, Of Course I’m Hot… I’m 50 tackles the rather taboo subject of the menopause, and quite rightly points out how much is explained to a woman about pregnancy, and, particularly more recently, their period and what to expect from these experiences that it is frankly quite odd how no one really knows that much about the menopause- a person might be able to tell you when they/their mum/sister/wife/coworker started “the change”, and maybe one or two of the symptoms they were aware of, but on the whole notion of the menopause is so mystical and unspoken about that I think I could identify a witch better than a woman going through the menopause. But isn’t that just our education system!

 

The play stood out largely to us because of the diversity in age. In an age when we’re talking increasingly more about gender, race (and more recently) class diversity and opportunity on stage it was really refreshing to see a cast that had a protagonist that wasn’t young- The honesty that the company had when tackling the subject had the (and I’m quoting from the show here!) “Invisible Women” in the audience shouting out the answers to the questions that stumped the young and/or male characters, and there was a fundamental buzz of solidarity in the room from a demographic that are rarely represented by theatre, film and television- Kirsty even mentioned afterwards that the themes and characters in the show could be adapted into a sitcom type show! (It was certainly funny enough!)

 

We were both really enjoyed the show, and travelling to South London was definitely worth it for such a beautiful venue (The Broadway Theatre), but if you missed it this time then we have to recommend catching them at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre 6th-8th August, as part of the Camden Fringe. I really want them to bring back the radio set up, it was so good we just wanted more!

 

 

Here She Is ; Bashir Productions

We’re back!

It’s been a funny old few months. TwoLasses are newly graduated (yaaay) and in a whrilwind of post university stresses, anxieties and general crises of adulthood. Here She Is (at TheatrePeckham) posed a refreshing, uplifting evening away from it all.

Here She Is was a female led showcase, with a very well curated, variety of dramatic performances. Performance and Poetry ran through, and talked about issues close to the performers hearts; religion, Grenfell Tower, sex and oppression, just to name a few.

The primairily female cast and crew was a sharp and sweet subversion of the typical gender imbalance in the theatre industry, which we are being made more and more aware of, one Stage article and gander-pay-gap report at a time. The cast and audience was also refreshingly diverse, a factor which brought a sense of real London community to the show. Perhaps this was aided by the space – bright and welcoming, light and airy. It gave the audience the chance to speak, discuss and praise the work they had seen; an activity I do not think happens enough in the theatre. Perhaps the best way to describe it would be to call it a mirror; reflecting how Londoners see London; those who have been born and raised in these communities, with real experience of the hardships brought on by processes of gentrification and inadequate distributions of government funding. But also those people who have banded together in support of each other, their business, enterprise and art in outright view of oppositions. Here, we saw Women support Women, and it was glorious.
Chair of Bashir Producations, Mimi Malaz Bashir led the event with an outstanding degree of professionalism, balancing performing and managing with ease. Every detail of the event was thought through, which just made the evening so enjoyable.

The audience responded to the show vocally which showed positive engagement; toe-ing the balance between formal theatre and how interactions may be in the future.

I particularly liked the collaborative ending; where all the acts came together on stage for a simple yet poignant ensemble piece, simply highlighting how important it is for Women to stand together to have their voice heard.

If I were to serioulsy critique the programme, I do feel like it could have been effective to add more multi-arts in there – some music, song, dance could have added another layer of depth to the evening.

However, I do believe that nights like these should be given more platform; it’s how the industry will move forward. If – let’s say – the Noel Coward invested one night a month to showcasing new and diverse talents the industry would be taking leaps and bounds in terms of investment into theatres future.

We wish Bashir Productions best of luck on thier upcoming #CreativeMovementDay to promote equality and diversity in the performing arts industry.