Review:5***** Briefs @LdnWonderground @Briefsfactory

#Tweetingit – 5***** Naked men cavorting around the stage thrusting and gyrating + filthy jokes – alright then!

This is the fourth time around for this Briefs show – although you would never know it. The boys bring back their own particular brand of male burlesque to the UK. briefs_webWonder Ground on the South Bank is the perfect home for the, back flipping, groin thrusting, eye watering anarchy, for which this troupe is known.

Whilst waiting for the action to begin with hip hop thundering through the circus tent and red lights on the suitable named ‘thrust’ staging the feeling of excitement and anticipation in the crowd is palpable. It is clear from these awaiting fans that they’re all in on the joke and know exactly what’s coming. Everything starts with a fantastic feather fan piece to INXS, the dancing is on point and the clothes soon start disappearing, which set the tone for the evening.

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Review: 3*** LA BOHÈME – Kings Head Theatre @kingsheadthtr

#Tweetingit: 3* A fun update for a 21st century audience with an amazing set – Puccini and the East End are a great match!

Even for those of us who have never attended the opera the name Puccini will ring familiar, but I have to admit that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when reading the synopsis. An 8fbe37_cd86da32ae1a41f782da142f6195fa09-mv2_d_4032_2808_s_4_2updated version of a revered opera set in modern day East London, sounded like a simultaneously great and terrible idea.

In the end it proved to be a very good idea, highlighting how universal and timeless key themes and tropes are; poverty, struggling artists, friendship, and romances that have more downs than ups.

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Review: 3*** Shawkshank Redemption @Marlowetheatre@nicholls_paul

#tweetingit –3*** A hard-hitting production of the famous film of the same name complete with solid acting and well-designed set

So, let’s get the important stuff out of the way first. In 1999, little 13 year old me was getting ready for the start of school by decorating her folders and school books. She pulled two pictures from a magazine and stuck them into her music folder. imagesOne was Adam Ricketts, one was Paul Nicholls – who at the time was in Eastenders. Underneath (don’t judge me I was 13) I write “hot and sexy.” So, 17 years later, you can imagine my 13 year old self getting a touch over excited when the opening scene of Shawkshank Redemption included Paul Nichols on stage, naked. *swoon*

Anyhoo – if I could leave it at that and say go and see it to fulfil your teenage fantasies, then I would, but I should probably talk about the staging, acting and script just a bit…

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Review: 3*** – Freud The Musical @Natashaplays @KingsHeadThtr

I arrived at the Kings Head a little dubious as my knowledge of Freud is limited to a fleeting acquaintance over 15 years ago as part of a Drama degree, and the thought of following a one-woman musical on this historical figure felt like quite a challenge!

The show gets off to a slow start with a strangely long overture that would be more suited to a full scale musical rather than a fringe style showdownload-6. Things don’t really get going until the stand out song ‘Cocaine’ which introduces the audience to Freud’s addiction, obsession and psychopathic tendencies. This is a fantastic song, which the audience really gets on board with. The story starts to gain momentum and the audience is carried along by the fearless enthusiasm of Sutton-Williams with some lovely moments of light and shade creating some big laughs.

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Review:4 **** Little Shop of Horrors @newwimbtheatre @littleshoptour

#tweetingit  –  4**** A pitch perfect performance

A charming, kooky and hilarious 1950s musical comedy, Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of Seymour, the assistant at Mushnik’s FlowerShop in Skid Row, csobxumwiaa_w4lNew York, who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers a strange and exotic plant. One of the first ‘musical movies’ I watched as a child, this rendition does everything and more to entertain!

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Review: 4**** 27 – @cockpittheatre @27_ldn @arlenephillips

#Tweetingit –4*A talented cast guide us through the perils of rock stardom and explain exactly why 27 is a number best avoided!

Any rock fan will immediately recognise the significance of ‘27’, that terrifying, almost mythical watershed in the life of a recording artist.  Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janice Joplin, Curt Cobain and Amy 27-posterWinehouse never made it past 27; a sorry tale of wasted talent and a life ending before it’s really begun. The Cockpit in Marylebone plays host to this slick production co-directed by Arlene Philips and starring Greg Oliver.  A tight set with a stunning strobe lighting system sets the audience so close to the action you can see beads of sweat bouncing off the players.

The narrative treads familiar territory as it traces the rise and fall of Orpheus, a wannabe rock star who yearns for the big time.  Having found the pedestal he stays there with a cocktail of drugs and booze, alienating his bandmates and girlfriend Amy in process.

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Review: 5***** Sister @ovalhouse

The Ovalhouse has been a part of the London theatre scene for over 50 years, and is patronised by people such as Pierce Brosnan. But with shows like Sister being being performed here, it doesn’t need the famous names to draw people in.sister-born-mad-ovalhouse-copyright-ludovic-des-cognets-4-600x350

Sister is the new play by Born Mad, a theatre company led by director Rebecca Hanbury and composer Alex Groves and unsurprisingly, there is a strong audio focus in the production. Lines are often echoed throughout, and the scene are represented as if the actresses are being recorded at the time; it encapsulates the spirit of the lines and stories being used and adds a fluidity to proceedings.

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Review: 2** Broken Strings @TabardTheatreUK

A stone’s throw from Turnham Green tube is the charming Tabard pub, with William Morris inspired interior and a cozy fairy-lit garden, providing a lovely spot for a gin and tonic, and to see two seasoned performers offer an emotionally charged evening – hopes were high! The intimate studio theatre perched above the pub seats just 75, the audience is greeted with an impressive set, a near exact replica of a domestic interior, expertly designed by Michael Leopold.

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Review: 4**** Vanities – The Musical, @TrafStudios @VanitiesMusical

#Tweetingit –  4*Three best friends sharing the highs and lows from High School cheerleaders through to middle age; a total blast!

Any show with ‘The Musical’ in its title was obviously preceded by a straight play or book.  The task for any musical adaptation is to retain the essence of the story and do 32776_fulljustice to its characters. Vanities – The Musical is one such example, but annoyingly the original play was never staged in London, so we are left to wonder how faithful it was to the original play.  It tells the story of three girls growing into adults from High School through to middle age; Kathy, the bossy one, Mary, the flirty one and Joanne, the flaky one.

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Review – 4**** Shook up Shakespeare Presents: Holiday Humour, Phoenix Artists Club @ShookUpShakes @phoenixartistcb

#Tweetingit – 4**** Cross dressing, rapping characters set Shakespeare in a whole new light.  The Bard would have approved!

A short walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station, I easily found the Phoenix Artists Club tucked quite logically beneath the Phoenix Theatre.  It immediately had the feel of a cosy, after hours private drinking club.  A long straight bar is decorated with signed photographs of various performers, CqePHxlW8AA7Hzmwho have no doubt dropped in for a swift half over the years. Obscured by a black velvet curtain, I was convinced the performance area would be no bigger that a postage stamp. The venue grew crowded and increasingly stuffy as the start time approached.  Once inside, the audience struggled to get comfortable; some people had obviously been shopping, while another couple insisted on bringing their foldaway bikes in with them. However, we all got comfortable and a highly entertaining show started at 6pm.

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