Reviews

Written for Everything Theatre

Usually when I tell people about a show I’m going to review, I get a mostly enthusiastic response. Occasionally, it’ll be something like ‘well, rather you than me’. This was the first time the reactions were more along the lines of ‘are you sure this is legit and you’re not going to be kidnapped?’. That’s because The Vanek Trilogy took place in a stranger’s living room at an undisclosed address, and all I knew was to come to the corner of a street off the Shepherd’s Bush Road at 7.30 PM to await pick up. Fortunately, there were already quite a few other audience members on the scene when I arrived, soon followed by two ladies with clipboards, so it was all a lot less sketchy than it sounded like. (You’ll be relieved to hear that I’m writing this on the tube back home after the show, rather than from the boot of a car.)

Written for Everything Theatre

This new reworking of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca, by Becca Marriott and King’s Head Theatre artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, is set in Paris during World War Two. Painter Marius, played by Martin Lindau on press night, has agreed to hide a Jewish man escaped from prison. Unfortunately, Marius has already attracted the attention of Nazi officer Scarpia (Przemyslaw Baranek), who also happens to have the hots for Marius’ girlfriend, the titular opera singer Tosca (Philippa Boyle).

Written for Everything Theatre

I struggle to decide which topic I know less about: opera or football. So I definitely felt like I was going in at the deep end, when I arrived at the Union Chapel for the opening night of Fever Pitch the Opera, by local company Highbury Opera Theatre. The show is adapted from the book of the same title by Nick Hornby, who is well known for immortalising the Highbury and Islington area in his works (see also About a Boy and Slam, for example). Fever Pitch follows main character Gooner, from his first introduction to professional football as a young boy, through the ups and downs in both his own and Arsenal’s fortunes.

Written for Everything Theatre

When you venture into the Underbelly, you can usually be sure of one thing: it’s not going to be a boring evening. Playing here for one night only, Iconic: A Brief History of Drag is no exception to that rule. Ian Stroughair, in his alter ego of the spectacular Velma Celli, takes the audience on a whirlwind tour around some of the most recognisable moments in the history of drag. From Freddie Mercury’s black leather skirt and fishnet stockings in I Want to Break Free to Rocky Horror’s Doctor Frank N. Furter, Iconic features powerful vocal performances, a lot of cheeky fun, and a couple of surprisingly moving moments. Oh, and audience participation of course.

Written for Everything Theatre

Perhaps a bit of an odd one out in this year’s Camden Fringe programme is Persuasion: A Musical Drama, playing for one night only at the Shaw Theatre. Performed by Chamber Opera Tours from Chicago, this operetta set the plot of Jane Austen’s novel to a selection of classical music pieces by the likes of Handel and Beethoven.