The Geminus

3 stars

In the dying days of the Victorian age, British ship the Geminus lies becalmed in some far-off sea. Alone on the deck, the captain hears a splash; a half-drowned man climbs aboard. He’s escaped from another vessel anchored nearby, where he’d been imprisoned for killing a sailor for insubordination during a storm. The captain recognises a kindred spirit and - notwithstanding the man’s apparent crimes - hides him within his own cabin until he can safely put him ashore.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 24 May | Read more

Crime Scene Illusion

4 stars

Tracy Wise doesn’t match the stereotype of a showy stage magician. As she strides out of the wings in a no-nonsense trouser suit, she’s every inch the DI from a hard-boiled crime thriller; and of course, that’s exactly the persona she’s aiming to convey. Crime Scene Illusion is a clever genre mash-up, which combines well-executed magic tricks with a satisfying detective back-story, in an impressive hour of crime-themed chicanery.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 24 May | Read more

GROOMED

4 stars

Groomed is the painfully honest telling of writer and performer Patrick Sandford’s abuse at the hands of David Moorby, one of his primary school teachers. It weaves a complex narrative from myth, historical anecdote and personal experience, to speak important truths about shame and the complexities of abuse. With added saxophone music.

Review by Annie Percik published on Thursday 23 May | Read more

Dream of a King

4 stars

Martin Luther King is an acknowledged giant, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his extraordinary leadership of the civil rights movement in America. The play is set on the night of his assassination in a Tennessee hotel room on 4 April 1968.

Review by Roz Scott published on Wednesday 22 May | Read more

Boris Rex

3 stars

I’m sorry to say I’m underwhelmed by Falling Sparrow’s production of Boris Rex, a satirical treatment of Boris Johnson’s political career. It’s not clear to me from the play how Boris appeals to the public, and why he is popular. His wit and his individuality don’t come across at all.

Instead, playwright Charlie Dupré presents Boris as a puppet without substance, manipulated by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove who exploit his ambition. The result is a two-dimensional Boris Johnson, lacking the layers one may expect to see in a complex protagonist.

Review by Roz Scott published on Wednesday 22 May | Read more

Truth Will Out

4 stars

Truth Will Out charts the lives of six students, during an evening that begins with light-hearted banter but ends up with the discovery of much more sinister truths. Plot and pace are good and tension builds as the story unfolds.

Review by Roz Scott published on Wednesday 22 May | Read more

Bloody Mary: In Service to the True God

2 stars

As the audience file in for Bloody Mary, we are presented with a woman in 16th century regal finery, reading a modern newspaper and standing before a banner of recent headlines about Brexit. It’s an arresting and intriguing opening image, presenting the play’s central premise that little has changed in Britain over the intervening 500 years.

Review by Annie Percik published on Monday 20 May | Read more

We Apologise for the Inconvenience

3 stars

The show opens with an entertaining introduction by The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with graphics and voiceover in the style of the 1980s TV show. It explains that Douglas Adams has been imprisoned in a hotel room by his agent, not to be released until he has completed his fourth book. The video clip contains multiple in-jokes and references that will be pleasing to Adams aficionados.

Review by Annie Percik published on Monday 20 May | Read more

Ross & Rachel

4 stars

This isn’t the play I expected it to be, from the cutesy Friends-inspired title and the hint of romance in the storyline. I should have read the blurb more carefully: they bill it as “dark and uncompromising”, and they’re certainly not wrong. I won’t give away exactly what happens, but I can safely reveal that the story takes a startling turn - and that we’re soon in for a disquieting tale of possessiveness and false-heartedness, set against a backdrop of escalating tragedy.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Monday 20 May | Read more

Sisterson Foods

3 stars

“People always ask me, what’s it like inside your head?” So runs the strapline for Sisterson Foods, which I can best describe as an hour-long video montage crossed with an epic beat poem. None of us can ever fully answer a question like that one, but by the end of the show we do have an inkling of what it’s like to be the eponymous Max Sisterson - and of the conflicting, often destructive, voices within his own brain.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Saturday 18 May | Read more

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