Screaming Secrets

Screaming Secrets

Tristan Bates Theatre, London

Screaming Secrets

Tristan Bates Theatre, London

 

Seen on February 23rd, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

(DISCLAIMER – Brutal honesty throughout!)

Well, I’m speechless. And not in the usual way.

Theatre is meant to evoke feelings and this did for me but something is telling me annoyance and a teeny tiny bit of anger wasn’t what the writer was going for.

I’m not too sure where to start. It is probably best to attempt to explain the concept of the play. It was a little all over the place. The main story was meant to be about acceptance and understanding by friends and family. Its a philosophical play looking at moral dilemmas and what happens when we are looking them straight in the eye. Antonio (Jack Gordon) unintentionally discovers his fate but needs to rapidly find a way to disclose such information to his family. The only issue being the bold characters in his family and unfolding events also occurring. Some secrets just have to be told.

That is probably my best shot at trying to explain it. I don’t feel that any of the main aspects of the ‘synopsis’ were actually reached. The secrets alluded in the title were never actually revealed in whole. And although part of the secret was revealed, it was done against Antonio’s will. Reading through the main synopsis on the Tristan Bates’ website I chuckled more than once. “Relationships under scrutiny” but all the established relationships seemed to be falling apart. Not one relationship seemed healthy or achievable. There was no solid relationship to put under scrutiny. Another section read “Antonio has to make up his mind rapidly” he never actually made up his mind. People were continuously telling him what he should do and then Simon (Ben Warwick) went a head and told Monika (Triana Terry) anyway about his diagnosis! What a great doctor! Patient confidentiality!

The story took place during Antonio’s birthday and oh my! It must have been the worst party in the history of parties and in complete honesty, possibly the worst 90 minutes of my theatre life! (I warned I’d be brutal) There have only been four shows out of my 150-odd in the past two years that I have actually contemplated walking out of. Show Boat, Young Frankenstein, Promises, promises (which I did actually leave during the interval) and unfortunately, this one. The only thing really stopping me was the fact I was wedged against a wall with a full row beside me and no interval.

From the onset none of the characters listened to each other and neither did I really. I mean, I did listen. Enough to write this. It just became an argument that went round and round which slowly had more characters joining the mix.

The acting was rather bad. Looking at the programme it looks like a few of the cast have had a very heavy weighted television and film career as a pose to stage. I feel this might have been a downfall.

It was so frustrating how the majority of the characters spoke over each other meaning many of the lines were very rarely finished. It made it all feel so rushed and not rehearsed. Actually a lot of the potential humorous lines where missed due to this. People jumping in here, there and everywhere. The whole feel of the show was very mismatched. This included the plot which did not seem to follow anything really. Even the time period was questionable. Nothing pin pointed it on stage. The set was saying 21st century chic with the vintage pieces. Whilst one costume screamed the 60s. None of the costumes seemed in keeping with each other or even matched one decade.

A key point of theatre for me is relating to it. Watching something that is realistic. None of this was realistic. The party was but as soon as you delved further into the story and the morality/impact on relationships was mixed in, it all seemed so far fetched. (SPOILER ALERT) In what situation would you find out you have cancer by over hearing a conversation between a friend/your doctor and sister and then so calmly approach that ‘friend’. Firstly, why would your personal doctor be your friend? That doesn’t happen very often in real life, virtually never when dealing with terminal illnesses. And then the big green light came in representing the shock of the cancer. Cliché!

We then somehow managed to jump into a seance mid-show? Monika just blurted out ‘Let’s have a seance!’ WHAT?! At no point leading up to this was there any inkling of the interest in the paranormal. The funniest part did occur during this scene but how we got there still baffles me!

There were then freeze frames thrown in everywhere! There are only so many freeze frames you can tolerate especially when some of the cast feel that they are exempt from them. A freeze frame means you freeze. Not continue moving and sighing which was rather distracting.

The script was poncy. I completely understand that philosophy was the main part and that the writer specialises in philosophy which accounts for all the philosophical terms and views but the language was just unneeded. Extravagant words thrown in for the sake of it. I can accept a few here and there with purpose but full sentences, not so much.

Overall, this play was incredibly bizarre! Far too much happening at one. Many of the characters seemed pointless.

There are two more showings left of this if you feel the urge to see it but I would definitely advise you spend your money on something else. Information on the show and tickets can be found here https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/screaming-secrets and it closes today, February 24th.

Dead and Breathing – REVIEW

Dead and Breathing 

The Albany Theatre, London

★★★★★

Dead and Breathing

The Albany Theatre, London

 

Seen on February 21st, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★★

I loved every single moment of this show! And that is incredibly rare for me to say!

I was lucky enough to have been invited along to the UK premiere of ‘Dead and Breathing’ at the Albany.  This dark comedy introduces you to Carolyn who is dying of cancer and wants nothing more in the world than to die. An affluent lady is now in the care of her nurse as she has no one left to turn to. The harsh years have spoiled Carolyn’s nice nature but one confrontation between her Christian nurse, Veronika, could be just the thing needed to change all of that.

Lizan Mitchell (Carolyn) was out of this world. Her performance was breath taking. So believable, emotional and raw! It was so beautiful to experience in such an intimate venue. The only person I have seen of that level is Imelda Staunton. She continuously topped her previous scenes.

The show its self was initially a little slow to start with but once the momentum was there it was very enjoyable. I was a little apprehensive at first as to how this show would work what with the topic and given synopsis being very dark. Although the comedy throughout was great! It was so naturally incorporated into the script.

The reveal Veronika made 15 minutes towards the end of the show was completely unexpected (I won’t reveal what it was) and just when you thought the story was over it took another drastic turn and brought it straight back to life, ironically!

Inspired by the show, its the first show with so much life that I have seen in a long time. To start off with I found the story a little dated. That was until Veronika’s reveal and then the whole dynamics were flipped. There was so much relevance which is still seen within todays society and the different generations.

Chisa Hutchinson writing was so engaging. At no point during the show did I feel my attention slipping away. It was gripping. Even one scene with no dialogue for the whole duration of a bed being stripped and made, I was on the edge of my seat watching each character like a hawk. It was great at seeing more of their characters

Side note on Chisa Hutchinson: I personally adore anyone who, on their website, has the tab entitled “awards & shit”

This is one of those shows I shall be raving about for a while! Definitely find the time in your busy schedules to se this one. After all, it is its UK premiere and I predict that it will be the biggest thing everyone will be talking about next year!

The show runs from now until March 3rd and for more information of this show which  you need to see ASAP, just head over to https://www.thealbany.org.uk/event_detail/2203/Theatre/Dead-and-Breathing

Theatre Maker Launch at the Cockpit Theatre

Sunday 18th February, 2018

For those not familiar with the Cockpit theatre, it is a fabulous little venue in Marylebone. It is a chameleon of a building. Used for rehearsal spaces, a main theatre auditorium with 420 seats and a bar where they host a number of different events. Whether that is presenting shows, hosting events, training days, industry events, the Cockpit is an incredibly welcoming space which cherishes new creators and their works.

They have been working on a brand new hub focusing on those making theatre. This hub will consist of classes, courses, workshops, talks and drop in session in order to aid people with new skills and to share and develop their own ideas. Various workshops will take place as well as the weekly drop in session scheduled for every Wednesday at 6pm in the bar.

In this blog I shall be giving a run down of the launch day, what went well, what I didn’t like so much and then I shall be delving into what is on offer and what taster sessions I took part in. These will be in more detail explaining exactly what we did and what you can expect to see followed by MORE information of the available course along with prices, date and time frames.

From the moment I stepped foot into the theatre I was greeted with a fabulous friendly welcome which you can always expect from the Cockpit staff. You’re always made to feel welcome there and I truly believe that this would be the best place in London to take evening classes/courses/share ideas with other creatives.

When we arrived we were given the agenda detailing everything that would be happening over the next 4/5 hours. There was also the breakdown of the taster sessions happening through the day with 3 lots of 40 minute session with 10 minute breaks.

The agenda for the morning:

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(I’ve circled the taster session I attended)

The numbers were very disappointing considering how any people had booked on. All of those people who were no shows really missed out on some great sessions.

The first session of the day was ‘From Theatre Maker to Film Maker’ led by Steve North. This was great and provided a brand new experience. Steve has had a very colourful career initially starting off in acting and has now moved into theatre making. His most recent achievement was co-writing the short film ‘Through the K-Hole’ and directed the hard winning ‘Cregan’.

His actual course is a lot longer however we had a great insight. He stripped it right back and we started looking at our own memories and how they are personal. We did a simple exercise of writing down three different memories: one from last year, one from last week and one personal memory from any point in our lives. We then paired up and had to tell the other person our memory. It was then open for them to retell that memory to us and then in the group when we all came together, stood in the dark. It was a very strange experience because these memories that had once been our own where now someone else’s. It was such a strange feeling listen to your own memory from a different person. I found myself sympathising and nodding my head as if I was sympathising with the person even though it was what I had dealt with. We did this a few time but it was a great way to see how we connect to personal stories and the benefit of focusing on a personal experience when starting to write the concept and script for a short film.

The second taster session of the day was with Sarah Fraser and focused on making theatre from scratch. Obviously this is a very broad topic and her course will delve in deeper to the whole process but it was great what we did in the session.

A little background on Sarah – she has helped create the theatre company ‘Hoax’. In 2012 she graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama with her MA in Classical Acting. From there she has worked in immersive theatre and has had a real focus on physical theatre, using voice on the body to create brand new work.

It was basically a whole game session to break the ice and make everyone feel comfortable around each other which is obviously key when working in a team which need to be very close and on the same wave-length. The improvisation game was fabulous. We were simply handed a scarf and told to run wild with one rule: the scarf could not at any point be used as a scarf. It was great to see people improvising and for others in the group to so willingly join in with ideas. Everyone was on board 110%. Sarah’s energy and passion was infectious and I strongly believe that people on this course will benefit immensely.

The third and final taster session I took part in wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. If you have read my previous blogs and review you will have noticed that I like to go into things ‘blind’. Without knowing the story/previous reviews/or reading much on the theatre website so I did not read into each of the different taster sessions. I simply turned up on the day and selected whatever sounded interesting to me. This was the ‘making theatre using visual and physical techniques’ session led by Miriam King.

For some reason I was expecting it to be very heavily focused on props and scenery and other ways of presenting the story on stage. I was very wrong. Miriam specialises in physical movement and how that tells the story. The exercise we did was very beneficial in understanding how to ground ourselves and move into a neutral state. This would be perfect for actors when transforming into drastically different characters from their normal selves however I did struggle to connect and enjoy it. I know that sounds really harsh but it just wasn’t something I enjoy. Miriam is very experienced and really puts the whole of herself into her teachings.

Before I knew it the taster sessions where over and it was time to watch the performance of ‘The Silent Stream’ which was written and performed by Jonathan Brown.

This was definitely not my type of theatre. I started drifting into my theatre reviewer state (not that I was there to review the performance). We saw this performance as Jonathan Brown runs the ‘Making theatre as a solo performer’ course which will be running as part of Theatre Maker. Having read up on the one man show since I have seen it, I do believe that there is greatness behind it. Especially as its has sequels entitled “Betsy: Wisdom of a Brighton Whore” (a one woman show) and “The Well” (ensemble piece). I would be intrigued to see these pieces now. I found the performance of ‘The Silent Stream’ to be very slow. It seemed to be a little all over the place and was very hard to follow. I personally feel that it would work better as an ensemble piece. This might help it flow better especially when two or more characters are presented at once on stage. What I saw definitely had potential though.

Anyway, this isn’t a review on that show, its a write up on the whole ‘Theatre Maker’ launch day experience! I really enjoyed it from the start. I have to admit ‘the Silent Stream’ was the only let down. It didn’t advertise the course in the best way and I think a lot of people were lacking enthusiasm by that point. From the taster sessions I have seen, I really do have high hopes for what the Cockpit have planned.

Below I shall include all the information you will need about the different courses, prices, time frames, and dates as well as links to the cockpit so you can keep up to date with all of their latest information and for the possibility to attend any future taster sessions.

The classes which will be offered area:

For more information on Theatre Maker at the Cockpit: http://thecockpit.org.uk/Theatremaker

Follow the Cockpit on twitter for all of the latest information: https://twitter.com/cockpittheatre

Thank you or reading this far! Here is a little reward – If you book onto a course before 6pm Monday 26th February, 2018 you can take full advantage of the one-off launch day code ‘INVOLVED18’ to get 15% off! You’re welcome!

Life is too short. Take the chance and make captivating theatre!

Eugenius! – REVIEW

Eugenius!

The Other Palace, London

★★★★

Eugenius!

The Other Palace, London

 

Seen on January 31st, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★

Eugenius has returned to London after a stellar run last year at the London Palladium. This time it has taken up residence in the much smaller venue, The Other Palace. Complete 80s pop culture over-load, Eugene (Liam Forde) is a teenager. More importantly a geek ridiculed by the world. His world. High school. His safety being the creation of comic book superheroes. From a small hobby, Eugene is shot straight to Hollywood as his idea takes off but reveals struggles along the way maintaining the art and true friendships. Sometimes the fictional world can be a lot realer than it seems.

It was such a fun show to watch! Everything about it had energy. It’s not the best thing that I have seen but I can understand why so many people love it. The majority of the music is incredibly catchy with a variety of different music styles from 80s pop to the standard love ballads to more comical numbers. I have to be completely honest and say that the closing number has been stuck in my head since I left the theatre. “GO EUGENIUS!! Go Eugene!” The whole soundtrack was very upbeat and enjoyable but I don’t feel it would be a soundtrack that I would be able to listen to fully outside of the show. The odd feel-good songs have now been added to my ‘morning motivation’ playlist. The rest would be enjoyed if I saw the show again.

I rather enjoyed the choreography although I found that it lost its full potential due to the stage size. This production would suit a larger stage. It all just felt a tad crowded but they made what they had work.

The script for certain characters was great, especially for Ferris (Daniel Buckley). I did not expect half the things he said which made it so much funnier. The rest of it was rather mediocre and I did find myself willing the next number to start. None of it was irrelevant, just a little slow.

I don’t like doing this part simply because the whole cast were great, we have a standout performer – Laura Baldwin (Janey) was fabulous. He voice is so petite yet so very powerful and she really got to demonstrate that. I spent so long trying to work out what I’d seen her in before. It turns out it was ‘Little Beasts‘! She presented such a caring glow about Janey which was lovely to watch.

It was wonderful seeing all the characters so drastically different! A camp Hollywood talent scout (Theo, Scott Paige). A guy who has to be at the top of the food chain with everybody  kissing his ass (Lex, Cameron Blackely). Somebody born to flaunt her ‘assets’ (Carrie, Melissa James). With the exception of a chameleon of ensemble members (Alison Arnopp, Jacob Fisher, Alex Tranter, Luke Dowling, Frances Dee, Chloe chambers and Rosie Heath)

Overall, I really enjoyed the evening however I can’t help but feel something was missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It was missing its wow factor. Despite this, Eugenius is definitely a show to bring back nostalgia for people who grew up in that decade with hilarious references! However people not of that generation will also understand the vast majority of the references too! It will be enjoyed by all (12+)

You can find Eugenius at The Other Palace until March 3rd. For more information on the show and tickets please visit https://www.theotherpalace.co.uk/whats-on/eugenius

#GOEUGENIUS

February theatre that has me excited!

February is almost here.

February is almost here. Anyone else taken a dislike to how fast January went by?!

But with a new month brings new shows to see and there are several that I am really looking forward to seeing in February!

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February holds John Thaw’s Initiative Season at the Actor’s Centre where many writers showcase their new work. One I am looking forward to and already have tickets for is ‘Jam Jars’. The talented Lily Frazer has written this one. It sounds so good! We will get to see the first act in its early production stage and then will have the opportunity to then provide feedback through a Q&A with Lily herself or via feedback cards. I love seeing new work and have high hopes for this one (No pressure, Lily! Ha!) It’ll be great to see this one develop from such a raw state. Information about ‘Jam Jars’ can be found here at https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/jam-jars

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This next one I will be mentioning has already begun previews and I technically won’t be seeing it in February but my review will be posted that month! (I’m seeing it January 31st) Eugenius will be at The Other Palace throughout next month and is one that I have been dying to see. I missed its run at London Palladium last year so had to jump on the opportunity this time round. I have only heard great things about this show! Even more so now the previews have started at The Other Palace and I keep seeing friends posting about it. Beyond excited to see it on Wednesday! Ticket and show information: https://www.theotherpalace.co.uk/whats-on/eugenius

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The Vaults Festival is also taking place over February where over 300 new shows will be showcased. I love this idea and how they are providing an opportunity for new work to be seen in a completely welcoming way. Such a variety including theatre, comedy and film. There are so many that I have my eye on. Vaults Festival will be taking place from January 24th until March 18th. All information regarding shows, dates, location and tickets can be found at https://vaultfestival.com

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From February 20th to February 24th you can catch ‘Beats on Pointe’ at The Peacock, London. This sounds epic! All the way from Australia, Masters of Choreography will be bringing their talents to the stage in the heart of London. Have you ever thought ballet and street dance could never be mixed? Two polar opposite dance styles? Wrong! They are about to demonstrate that these go hand-in-hand to provide a whole new dance experience. This is a show that I will be jumping at! Tickets available at http://peacocktheatre.com/whats-on/beats-on-pointe-masters-of-choreography/

So, those are some of the things I am excited for. What shows are you looking forward to? Let me know down below and don’t forget to give those I’ve mentioned some love! Check them out and get those tickets!