As this perplexing adaptation Homer’s ancient text at last draws to a close, the protagonist notes that he’s been on a journey which he “can’t begin to describe, or explain, or understand”. I’m not sure I can either, but I'll try. Bringing the story into the present day, playwright Simon Armitage re-imagines Odysseus as a government minister called Smith – who finds himself accused of murder during a diplomatic jolly to Turkey. Accompanied by his bodyguard, he evades the authorities by diving off the harbour-side into the raging sea; it’s a frankly ludicrous opening gambit, and just the first of several preposterous moments in a story which the programme tells us “places the action of Homer’s classic into modern-day Westminster”.
Reviewed by Richard Stamp on Wednesday 28 October |
From the opening few minutes – where a body, followed closely by a life-size rowing boat, descends slowly from the roof top – you sense this production may be something special. The luxurious yet untamed set, complete with steps and wild rocks cascading down the stage, has plenty more tricks to perform. I'd say it's the star of the show.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Tuesday 29 September |
This production is a mix of 'St. Trinians' and 'Mallory Towers', with a dash of 'Daisy Does it Again'. All the necessary ingredients are there: the girls, aided by the loyal Miss Austin (Sara Crowe), strive to save the Dame Dorothea Dosserdale School from the tyranny of Miss Bleacher, portrayed brilliantly by Rosemary Ashe. Running alongside this – and the main focus of the piece, in some respects – is the blossoming romance between two of the Sixth Form girls, the dependable Susan (Stephanie Clift) and the over-dramatic Camilla (Charlotte Miranda-Smith). And interestingly, in the main, it seems their classmates accept this relationship as the norm. Or do they...?
Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 23 September |
This lively, fun-packed, family musical has something in it for everybody. It's notoriously difficult to portray animals realistically on stage, but the cast here do a convincing job of capturing the Jungle Book's so-familiar characters – known to everyone, of course, from the iconic Walt Disney version. And while it's hard to put Disney entirely one side (I kept wanting Baloo to burst into a verse of Bear Necessities so we could all sing along), the original music and lyrics were so catchy in places that I found the new tunes playing in my head long after I'd left the theatre.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Saturday 1 August |
I don't know a single youngster who isn't a fan of the Hetty Feather novels by Jacqueline Wilson. And the author – famous for tackling real and gritty issues where fairytale endings don't always come true – should be very happy with this production. We watch as Hetty (played brilliantly by Phoebe Thomas) is left orphaned at the Victorian Foundling Hospital, and the audience are soon transported into a world of circus, colour and acrobatics.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 29 July |
The essence of Agatha Christie was well-captured in this timeless production, based around the author’s own adaptation of her much-admired novel. Transported back to 1930's England – an era when discussing murder was not the gentlemanly thing to do – we find ten people stranded together on an island, awaiting a chilling fate which catches up with them one by one.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Tuesday 14 July |