4 stars (previous review)

Struggling to cope with a devastating loss, Ellie retreats into a fantasy world – imagining herself as superhero Blaze, on a mission to rescue her idol Silver from the clutches of Doctor Oblivion. But what happens when her imagination begins to take control, and crosses over into real life? With I Am Beast, Sparkle and Dark have produced a dazzling theatrical spectacle, with a comic book aesthetic, a tender story, and their trademark life-size puppetry.

Review by Stephen Walker originally published at the Buxton Fringe in 2015 | Read more

The Unknown Soldier

5 stars (previous review)

If there was one thing I was certain we didn't need this Fringe, it was yet another play about World War One.  But this play is different: partly because actor-playwright Ross Ericson was once a serving soldier, and partly because it picks up the story where other scripts leave off.  The imagery you expect is all there – the claustrophobic billet, the hammering rain, the tales of chest-deep mud – but there's something unfamiliar too, something that doesn't quite add up.  So when it finally dawned on me just what this particular soldier was doing in the Somme, the desensiti

Review by Richard Stamp originally published at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 | Read more

Mrs. Oscar Wilde

4 stars (previous review)

What was it like to be Oscar Wilde’s wife?  He’s one of history’s most celebrated gay men, so you might be surprised at the question.  But he was married – for fourteen years – to an independently-minded woman named Constance Lloyd; and this one-woman play seeks to redress the balance, telling the tale of their lives together entirely through Constance’s eyes.  Through a fictionalised series of letters to her brother Otho, we follow the couple’s romance, parenthood, and ultimate parting – and while Oscar’s electric personality is never present, it’s always felt.

Review by Richard Stamp originally published at the Buxton Fringe in 2016 | Read more

In Conversation with an Acid Bath Murderer

5 stars (previous review)

Before I saw this mesmerising play, I’d only vaguely heard of John George Haigh – the 1940’s serial killer who dissolved his victims’ bodies in acid, in the mistaken belief that destroying the corpse would preclude a charge of murder.  This well-travelled production, which returns to Brighton Fringe after an absence of five years, certainly fills in the details of the notorious real-life tale.  But it’s more than a documentary: it’s an engaging character study, and despite its hideous subject matter it proves deceptively watchable, too.

Review by Richard Stamp originally published at the Brighton Fringe in 2016 | Read more

Doing What It Says On The Tin

4 stars (previous review)

A torrent of industrial language erupts from somewhere around the corner, and a burly carpenter hauls a window-frame onto the stage. With a hammer in his hand and the f-word never far from his lips, actor-playwright Tom Dussek gets straight down to work – straight into his monologue, straight into his anecdotes, and straight into a fine impersonation of Brian Blessed. What follows is a well-constructed hour of humour and poignancy, and an able riposte to anyone who’s ever caught themselves looking down on the humble working man.

Review by Richard Stamp originally published at the Brighton Fringe in 2013 | Read more