Bumper Blyton: The Improvised Adventure

4 stars

From the first moment of this improvised show, you sense the presence of dear old Enid Blyton. All of the actors are dressed in suitable adventure attire – knee-length shorts, long white socks and smart tank tops. Oh, and the audience are all of a certain age!

Jonah Fazel bounces onto the stage, larger than life, and introduces the clever way the performance will unfold. There are two large dice with suggestions from the audience attached. Once rolled onto the stage, they are used as material for the story.

Review by Tig Land published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

The Imagicarium of Mr Dickens

2 stars

Here's a true fact: alongside his rather more famous writing career, Charles Dickens was an enthusiastic amateur magician. This one-man show, from Fringe regulars Quids In, uses that fact as a jumping-off point for their trademark combination of theatre and stage magic. Alone on the stage, Kreestan Sennakie presents a series of Dickensian figures, and performs a trick in character as each one.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

After

4 stars

After is very much a theatrical experiment, with not one but two unusual cards to play. First of all, the 20-minute script is performed twice, once with two female actors and then with two male ones. And secondly, each of the pairings is made up of a real-world family – one a mother and daughter, the other a father and son.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 15 May | Read more

The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away by Cole Moreton

4 stars

Cole Moreton narrates a touching, true story about two boys, Marc McCay and Martin Burton, who both become seriously ill and the impact this had on their two families. It’s based on a radio programme and a book with the same name, written by Moreton – who is a broadcaster, interviewer and journalist.

Review by Roz Scott published on Sunday 13 May | Read more

Rope

3 stars

Patrick Hamilton's Rope may be a classic script, but it's also a rather bizarre one. Two upper-class students commit a brutal murder: not for gain, or any other kind of motive, but simply to demonstrate their own superiority. They've hidden the body in a packing chest, and invited some friends round for tea. They're using the chest to lay out the buffet. Is this really a good idea?

Review by Richard Stamp published on Saturday 12 May | Read more

The Looker

2 stars

Don't take career advice from a pigeon. That's the main message I've carried away from The Looker, a show which – I'm not ashamed to admit – I simply didn’t understand. Blending live actors, puppetry, and mask work, it's heavy on striking images but vexingly light on meaning.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 11 May | Read more

Antony and Cleopatra

3 stars

According to the blurb, this off-the-wall version of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra is inspired by the Profumo Affair. I'm not sure I'd have realised that if they hadn't told me, but it's an evocative milieu all the same: amidst the seething tensions of 1960's London, Mark Antony is a political leader, and Cleopatra a dancer in a high-class nightclub. Antony's fascination with Cleo is stirring up scandal – and his political rivals sense the opportunity to take him down.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 11 May | Read more

Bin and Gone

5 stars

Danny Rogers is a likeable, talented, and highly versatile performer… but there's a moment in this touching solo show when he's upstaged by a dustbin. Not just any bin, mind you, but Dusty Bin – the motorized robot mascot of 1980's quiz show 3-2-1. If you're a certain age, the nostalgia of seeing Dusty trundle onto the stage may be the hook that draws you in; but it's the candour of Danny's bittersweet life story which you'll remember at the end.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 11 May | Read more

The Sorrowful Tale of Sleeping Sidney

4 stars

It's one of the stranger stories from Brighton's chequered past: a spate of poisonings in 1871, tracked in the end to strychnine-laced chocolates. And this gothic comedy of a puppet show is fittingly dainty and sweet; performed with miniature glove puppets on an adorable fold-out set, it's full of knowing humour, yet still does justice to the grotesque historical tale.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Thursday 10 May | Read more

ROUTE

4 stars

Route is about colour, home and belonging. It’s about being British and being black; about youth and optimism, against a backdrop of international oppression, isolation and exploitation. It's about the Windrush generation, the West Indians who were invited to come to Britain and made their home here. And it’s about the hostile environment for immigrants – even Margaret Thatcher makes a guest appearance. The central question is: who am I, and where do I belong?

Review by Roz Scott published on Thursday 10 May | Read more

Pages