20th Dec2017

La Boheme (Theatre)

by timbaros

Becca Marriott as Mimi & Roger Paterson as Ralph in LA BOHEME. Credit Scott RylanderLa Bohéme, an opera in four acts, had its world premiere in 1896 in Turin, Italy. Since then, it’s been copied and re-interpreted in so many different ways that each version is unique in its own way. Another re-incarnation of this very famous opera has just recently opened up at Trafalgar Square Studios, and it’s definitely one Londoners can identify with.

This version of La Bohéme, written by Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Becca Marriott, had it’s debut at the King’s Head Theatre last year. And luckily for us it’s making a return in a central London venue. Set in present-day East London, the show presents to us broke and down and out young men and women who can barely scrap together money for the rent, or in one case, to buy drugs. Ralph and Mark (Roger Paterson and Thomas Isherwood) are roommates in a flat on Christmas Eve in Dalston, and when someone knocks on their door they instinctively hide because they suspect it’s their landlord collecting rent – they even have a window that acts as a back door to escape. Then there is Mimi (Marriott), broke and very thin, and always cold, who finds her way into the boys’ flat and meets Ralph – they have an instant connection and take a liking to each other. Then there is Musetta (Honey Rouhani), who, with her beautiful looks and luscious lips and curves that go on for miles, is the troublemaker and ingénue who sweeps in and out and leaves her mark. If these characters sound familiar, they also make up some of the cast of the characters of ‘Rent’ – that classic 1990’s musical rock opera that won a slew of awards with very memorable songs such as Seasons of Love and 525,600 minutes, Rent has withstood the test of time as one of the greatest musicals ever made. La Bohéme is also very good – it’s a musical for this generation, a generation that seems to live life through their mobile phones 24/7. And this La Bohéme involves a bit of audience unparticipation – Musetta gets cozy with some uncomfortable-looking male members of the audience, while Mimi asks for spare change – it’s surreal and hard hitting but even more so when those who get asked all shake their heads and say no, with a look of guilt on their faces. Trafalgar Studios is quite a cozy place to put on a show this big, but it works. The cast are all amazing, and by the end I almost really believed what I saw was real. The cast (some of the actors rotate with other actors on various nights) are accompanied by the Musical Director, Panaretos Kryiatzidis, on piano and Alison Holford on cello. It’s a must see!

La Bohéme is now playing at Trafalgar Studios until January 6, 2018


29th Aug2017

Late Company (Theatre)

by timbaros

Late Company Play performed at the Trafalgar Studio, London,UKThe title of a new play at Trafalgar Studios – “Late Company” – means that the family the Hastings invited over for dinner are late, and they are also late in apologising for the suicide of their teenage son.

Debora (an amazing Lucy Robinson) and Michael Hasting (Todd Boyce) have invited Bill Dermot (Alex Lowe) and his wife Tamara (Lisa Stevenson) and their son Curtis (David Leopold) over for dinner to their fancy and art-inspired home. Curtis and Debora & Michael’s son Joel were friends in school, however, Michael committed suicide after being constantly bullied and and taunted by the other kids in school (including Curtis) for being gay and a bit feminine. So Debora (and less so Michael) have invited the Dermots over for dinner on the one year anniversary of Michael’s death. It’s a dinner where Debora wants to have the ‘conversation’ – to get everything out in the open and to have an open and honest discussion with Curtis to determine the reasons and motive for doing what he did to Michael, and most importantly to find out why. But the dinner doesn’t go according to plan, it’s brought up bad emotions and feelings that Debora and Michael were trying to get over. But it turns out that Debora was never really there for Joel, and that Michael’s job as an MP took him to Ottawa a lot of the time, and Debora was always focusing on her art and not really on Joel, so Bill and Tamara subtly advise Debora and Michael that they missed the warning signs because they were too involved in themselves. But no matter who the finger is pointed to, Joel is gone forever, and no yelling or conversation will bring him back. And it’s mostly Debora who longs for closure, and perhaps she’s feeling a bit guilty over Joel’s suicide.

“Late Company” throws heavy emotional dialogue at the audience right and left, and it’s delivered by an excellent cast. Robinson as Joel’s mom has the most showy part. She’s angry and upset and wants a bit of closure. Stevenson is also very good as the mother whose son is still alive, she just can’t put herself in Debora’s shoes but she is willing to do as much as she can to help ease the pain. And Leopold is a wonder as the son who doesn’t have much to say during the dinner but near the end it’s where he comes into his own. Gay playwright Jordan Tannahill was only 23 when he wrote “Late Company” in the wake of a peer’s suicide, and he has written a timely and evocative play that’s very relevant today in a world of constant bullying and peer pressure and what seems like the lack of rules on social media. “Late Company” is a short 75 minutes but it packs a wallop during this time and at the end you will find that your heart has dropped into your stomach. A must see!

To buy tickets, please go to:

Late Company is on until Saturday, September 16th.

11th Dec2016

Buried Child (Theatre)

by timbaros

34016_fullIf you want to see Ed Harris sitting on a couch for close to three hours, then ‘Buried Child’ is the show for you.

Harris, film and television star, is excellent as Dodge, the father of two sons (dysfunctional doesn’t even come close to describing them). He lives in an old, ramshackled dilapidated house in Illinois with his wife Halie (Harris’ real life wife Amy Madigan), who pops up in the first and third acts. Yes, this play has three acts, with two very quick ten-minute intervals between the acts. The last show I saw that had three acts – ‘The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures’) was very painful to sit through and felt a bit like Chinese water torture. ‘Buried Child,’ playing at Trafalgar Studios, is not that bad but it still feels like a long show.

Harris does spend the whole time on centre stage, on the sofa, and he’s even on the sofa before the show even starts. Dodge and Halie share their home, unwillingly, with their two grown up sons. They’ve obviously missed the financial gravy train and are unfortunately tethered to their poor lot in life. One son, Bradley (Gary Shelford), never left home, and who continues to bring into the house freshly dug up vegetables from no one knows where because there’s not a garden anywhere near the house. Tilden (Barnaby Kay), who used to live in New Mexico, has returned to the family homestead because of an incident that happened there. It’s up to Halie to be the sane member of the family, this is until their grandson Vince (Jeremy Irvine), son of Tilden, arrives in tow with his girlfriend Shelly (Charlotte Hope). Immediately Shelly is uncomfortable in the house full of Vince’s miserable and depressed and sick grandfather, father and uncle. But there is a family secret that’s slightly mentioned which peaks Charlotte’s curiosity, and she wants to find out more. Meanwhile, Vince goes to the grocery story to buy booze for his grandfather because the bottle he had under the couch is missing, and while Charlotte is speaking to Bradley and wanting to know more about this secret, and starts nagging a bit too much, he puts his hand into her mouth (at this point if I were her I would’ve ran out of that house). But the secret that has doomed this troubled family is literally, and eventually, out of the bag, but not before Vince goes missing for the rest of the night and Halie returns home with the family pastor who’s just as uncomfortable in the house as Charlotte is. But it’s not until the final scene that leaves you with an image that you won’t soon forget.

‘Buried Child’ is a very wordy play. perhaps a bit too wordy, but it being a Sam Shepard play, there’s lots thats overdramatic, over the top, and bordering close to the unbelievable. Surely cutting out one act would’ve made this play more biting, sharper and dramatic instead of long-winded,, but director Scott Elliott is able, just, to keep the drama and tension up, while maintaining, until the very end, the mystery to this family’s tragic existence on earth.

‘Buried Child’ is now playing at Trafalgar Studios until February 18, 2017.


04th Aug2016

Rotterdam (Theatre)

by timbaros

Rotterdam - Alice McCarthy and Anna MartineExcellent performances and a very timely storyline make ‘Rotterdam’ a must-see show.

Fiona (Anna Martine) has been in a long-term relationship with Alice (Alice McCarthy) for seven years. They’re English but moved to Rotterdam so that Alice could avoid coming out to her parents. Fiona is Alice’s first girlfriend – when they initially met Alice was dating Fiona’s brother Josh (Ed Eales-White). It’s a rocky relationship, even more so when Alice finds it very difficult sending an email to her parents to announce to them that she’s lesbian and is in a lesbian relationship, and has always told them that Fiona was her roommate. However, one day Fiona announces that she wants to transition to become a man, and that she always felt like she was a man in a woman’s body. It’s not easy for Alice to accept this bombshell, but when Fiona decides to starts to living as a man and tells Alice to start calling her Adrian, their relationship is put the test, even more so when Alice starts taking a liking to Lelani (Jessica Clark), a very sexy and very vivacious lesbian woman at her work.

The running joke in the play is that why would anyone want to live in Rotterdam? We’re told that it’s a city where things pass through, not stop, that it’s a place for transition. And that’s exactly what Fiona is about to do – transition – she is cisgender. And Martine really pulls the role off. She’s got the toughest part in the play where in the first half she’s Fiona but in the second half she’s the masculine-looking Adrian. It’s an excellent transformation. The rest of the cast are all almost as perfect. McCarthy is good as the stressed out girlfriend who doesn’t quite know what to do or how to handle Fiona’s transition. And Clark is delicious as the ‘other woman’ – with her sexy moves and even sexier accent.

Writer Jon Brittain hits the nail on the head in dealing with this issue, so in the news because of Bruce Jenner’s recent transition to Caitlyn Jenner. ‘Rotterdam’ was originally produced at Theatre 503 in Battersea and makes a superb transition to the Trafalgar Studios. And Donnacadh O’Brian excellently directs the cast in the smaller of Trafalgar Studio’s theatres, with a clever set and great pulsating music by Robyn. Make a stop and see ‘Rotterdam.’

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