Written for Everything Theatre

Half a Sixpence is a classic rags-to-riches affair, a new and improved take on the original 1963 musical that was written for teenage heartthrob Tommy Steele. Set in the early twentieth century, it tells the story of draper’s apprentice Artie Kipps and his attempts to blend in with ‘civilised society’ after he unexpectedly inherits a fortune. You probably don’t need my help to figure out where this is going, but then again, I don’t think anyone would go see this show primarily for the plot. I’m not saying it’s not entertaining – it is – and behind its wholesome exterior lies an unexpectedly large amount of dirty jokes, which made me very happy. But what sells this show are the catchy songs, the nearly acrobatic dancing and, of course, Charlie Stemp’s fantastic performance as Artie.

Written for Everything Theatre

You might want to get out your posh-to-pleb dictionary for this one. Laura Wade’s 2010 play chronicles the occurrences on a night out with the ‘Riot Club’, a fictional cousin of the infamous Bullingdon Club. Our evening starts off fairly low-key: ten young men get together for a dinner party at a country pub, the club’s first after a ban caused by one of its members being embarrassing in the Daily Mail. But as the booze flows and the mood becomes bitter, the evening’s events take a nasty turn.

Written for Everything Theatre

Last night, as my plus one and I made our way out of the auditorium at the end of the show, we were both very silent for a minute. And then we looked at each other. ‘Well, that was, um, something else, wasn’t it?’

Triple Threat is a something of a mix between cabaret, comedy and performance art, and it has come to the downstairs space at Soho Theatre after a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Lucy McCormick, backed up by a Girl Squad in the shape of two hunky male dancers, has set herself the challenge of presenting an abbreviated version of the New Testament, in which she plays all the main roles herself. The resulting show is something that needs to be seen to believed.

Let’s get this clear from the start: this show basks in its own offensiveness and bad taste. For God’s sake, do not take your parents. Or your children. Or anyone even remotely religious. Part pisstake on the bible, part pisstake on celebrity/ reality TV/ social media culture, a more-than-half-naked McCormick and co grind their way through the most famous scenes from Jesus’ life – although they have wisely decided to leave out the crucifixion. Occasionally, it’s hilarious; the three wise men enter with a slick dance routine to Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty, before McCormick showers the audience with Frankfurters (rather than frankincense) and myrrh-ingues. Equally funny are the bits when her faithful sidekicks try to share the limelight, only to be cut down savagely. We also got to sing along to various power ballads, a treat that brought the already exuberant audience to even greater heights.

It’s all outrageously over the top, and in its best moments that serves the show well; on other occasions, it’s just too much. McCormick has clearly decided to take on the ridiculous excesses of contemporary culture by going even further, piling even more on top. Everything she does is more vacuous, more disgusting and/or more naked. That’s a totally valid form of social critique, but it’s not the most intelligent or engaging one. As soon as you’ve figured out the theme, much of the show becomes fairly predictable as well. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus naturally leads to some extremely heavy petting on the auditorium floor. And when McCormick announces that she’ll be tackling the scene of Doubting Thomas, starring herself as Jesus, it’s immediately obvious that this is not going to be limited to any stigmata holes. (Spoiler alert: they do cover literally every other hole. Literally.)

Nevertheless, Triple Threat is good fun, and it’s executed well. The inclusion of a range of pop songs is a great find, especially when they fit their new context in hilariously unexpected ways. When Mary Magdalene finds Jesus’ empty tomb and breaks out in Justin Bieber’s Sorry, including the line ‘I’m missing more than just your body’, the audience roars with laughter. McCormick’s singing is good, except when it’s purposefully bad, and the trio’s dance routines look absolutely amazing. And, let’s be honest, this really is something else, however you want to interpret that. But… you have been warned.  

Triple Threat plays at Soho Theatre until 22 April 2017 

Written for Everything Theatre

Seeing a show at Battersea Arts Centre is always a bit of an adventure: you know it’s going to be interesting, but you can never be quite sure what exactly you’re going to get. This was much the same for my evening there last night, of which I only knew it would involve karaoke and hip hop Hamlet.

Written for Everything Theatre

You can always count on the people at Vault Festival to serve up an eclectic programme, and this year they might just have outdone themselves. Example: Summer Nights in Space, which is billed as a ‘new glam rock space musical’. It sounded like a (more) sci-fi version of The Rocky Horror Show, so I was immediately intrigued.