Reviewed: Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

Over on Musical Theatre Review, I’ve reviewed Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens, currently playing at the Leicester Square Theatre Studio.

This is no murder mystery, no ‘The Mirrorball Crack’d’ – the killer couldn’t be more obvious if he were twirling a moustache. And this is a show so unsubtle that it’s almost a surprise that he doesn’t.

The characters are almost uniformly one-dimensional, drawn in crude, glitter-speckled strokes, a comic strip writ large. But all the actors know exactly what it is, ensure their performances are as broad as the characters are shallow, and encourage the audience to buy into just how ridiculous – and fun – the show can be.

Musical Theatre Review: Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

Talking about Peter Capaldi

So I’m a guest on this week’s As Yet Untitled London Theatre podcast, talking about new Doctor Who Peter Capaldi’s acting CV and how the approach he’s taken to his previous roles in theatre, film and TV may – may – give us clues about how he may approach his fortchoming role of the Doctor.

Some of the stuff I talk about is based on the interviews The Stage has done with Capaldi over the years, extracts from which I featured the other day.

Reviewed: The Color Purple, Menier Chocolate Factory

For Musical Theatre Review, my review of the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of The Color Purple:

Alice Walker’s classic novel, adapted first into an acclaimed film and then a musical, makes its London debut in the latter form with an assured production that showcases some of our finest musical theatre talent – while also producing an incredibly moving and emotional tale of abuse and survival, and of rejection of the idea that subjugation of anyone can be tolerated.

Read the full review.

Reviewed: Strictly Confidential

Over on The Stage, I review Strictly Confidential, Craig Revel Horwood’s new stage show based on the Strictly Come Dancing brand. Personally, I found that Ian, Natalie and Artem, while all fabulously charismatic dancers, don’t work quite as well when having to deliver monologues. It’s still fun – a pastiche of Lisa Riley’s seven years as a regular on Emmerdale works well, for example – but didn’t quite satisfy me in the ways that Burn the Floor or Brendan Cole: Licence to Thrill did. Still a fun night out, though.

Reviewed: Patti LuPone and Seth Rudetsky

Last night I went to see Broadway legend Patti LuPone being interviewed by Seth Rudetsky at the Leicester Square Theatre. My review for The Stage is now online.

Shows run until Sunday – see the theatre website for more details. I’m also going to be at Seth Rudetsky’s Deconstructing Broadway at the same venue on Saturday – if it’s anything like his warm-up routine last night, it’ll be an absolute hoot.

Review: The Great Gatsby, Riverside Studios

Another review for Musical Theatre Review, this time for Ruby in the Dust’s The Great Gatsby at Hammersmith’s Riverside Studios.

A fringe musical of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby could never compete on scale or budget with Baz Luhrmann’s $100 million-plus Hollywood adaptation. But nor should it attempt to – and Ruby in the Dust’s production wisely shuns trying. Instead, the limitations inherent within Fringe theatre become its greatest strength, focusing on the crumbling foundations on which the façades of hedonistic 1920s opulence are constructed.

Review: Avenue Q, Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Published yesterday at The Stage, my review of the first fringe production of puppet musical Avenue Q. Lovers of the original production will be pleased to note that not too much has changed. If you go, take care to notice the conviction with which Katie Bradley plays Nicky/Trekkie Monster’s other arm. With both characters, puppet, principal puppeteer Josh Wilmott and Bradley work in unison. It’s an otherwise under-appreciated role, but a vital one.

Update: I have a longer review now published at Musical Theatre Review.

Off Cut Roots

For the last couple of years, I’ve been privileged enough to help select a few plays for the Off Cut Festival of new theatre writing.

The Festival isn’t happening in the same form this year. But instead, the organisers have announced Off Cut Roots.

The aim of Off Cut Roots is to bring writers into the heart of the process of developing a play for performance.

The plays we are looking for do not need to be perfect, not ready-for-stage. Our panel of readers will be looking for two plays with the potential to benefit the most for the Roots project.

Once the two plays are chosen, the writers will be invited to a first read through with each play’s cast and director. Also in attendance will be Off Cut’s Artistic Director, a dramaturg from Theatre 503, and, depending on availability, an established playwright, director and actor. This will probably take place on Monday 8th July, but may be subject to change.