17th April 2016 | Theatre
This is Emma. Emma has a problem with drugs and alcohol. Emma maintains she does not have a problem with drugs and alcohol. Emma is now in Rehab.
After its massively successful run at the National Theatre, Duncan MacMillan’s smash hit play, People, Places and Things has made its transfer to Wyndham. The plot would (at face value) seem to be a very simple one. Emma, an actress suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, has a breakdown on stage during a performance of The Seagull and is sent to rehab to get a certificate that says that she is allowed to work again. Emma, throughout the first half of the play, stays adamant that she has no problem, and wants to get through her 29 days in rehab and get back to work. What follows is a series of intense clashes between Emma as they argue over the nature of addiction, religion and life, as well as dealing with the death of her brother.
This production, directed by Jeremy Herrin, is spellbinding. The physical theatre elements of the production, born out of it being a Headlong/National Theatre production not only work but astound the audience, with multiple Emmas going through drug withdrawal making the whole experience of the withdrawal so much more painful and real for those watching. The set is also very much a massive draw. The sickly hospital white walls constantly break to make the set for new scenes. The show is a marvel of technical stage design.
However, it would be impossible to talk about this show without talking of the marvel that is Denise Gough. Gough, a native of County Clare in Ireland, has been theatre’s best kept secret, but now is getting the popular recognition that she so blatantly deserves. Gough plays…
26th March 2016 | Theatre
Strange and Familiar is the title of the new exhibit (curated by Martin Parr) and is the perfect title for a show that is both strange and familiar to all those who visit it.
This show is about modern Britain. All of it. Parr has collected the work of non-British photographers who have done projects in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to give an almost anthropological look at the people of Britain. The locations will be familiar, as they are places that Britons have been to or lived in, but the perspective that we see it through is one that is both strange to us, and strange to those taking the photos.
One of the first thing that interested me about the show is who is mainly portrayed in these photographs. It is not the rich, or even the middle class who are the main subjects of this show, but it is instead the working classes. However, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. According to the 2013 British Social Attitude survey, 60% of Britons identify themselves as working class, a statistic the same level as when the survey was taken in 1983. It would seem then, that the choice to focus on the working classes is really just a reflection on the way that we are viewed by the outside world. We are, as a nation, a lot less Downton Abbey than we would like to think.
Although all of the work is really good, there were a few artists who really caught my eye. Bruce Gilden’s (American) collection of close up faces of members of the public, with such a detailed lens that you can see every contour, every line and blemish on their skin. These images have been blown up to…
26th March 2016 | Theatre
Welcome Home Captain Fox, the new play at the Donmar Warehouse, gives us an interesting and humorous view of what makes up a family. But is it a night to remember, or one easily forgotten?
Gene (Rory Keenan) has completely lost his memory and is taken to a US army psychiatric ward after being exchanged from a east german prison. He is then taken out of the ward by the society debutante Marcy DuPont DeFort (Katherine Kingsley) and her much older and much more cynical husband DeWitt DuPont DeFort (Danny Webb). Marcy wishes to use Gene, who she suspects, due to his accent, that he might be from Long Island, and so she decides that she will go around houses that have sons matching his description that went missing during the war. The first one he goes to are the Fox’s, who lost their son, Jack Fox, when he went to war, partially due to trouble within the family itself. The Fox’s take him in, believing him to be their Jack. Is this his family? Does he like his “family”? What will happen if he doesn't?
The first good thing to say about this production is it’s very strong sense of 50’s style. For fans of such movies as Some Like it Hot and Gentleman Prefer Blondes, this show is very much aimed at you. Everything from the french music in the scene changes to the writing that is both dramatic and witty throughout. This play is all about relationships of every kind, and knows that this will be a big draw of the show and so really focuses itself on these scene. The most compelling scenes of the play are results of characters such as Mrs Fox and George being left alone with what is (allegedly) their…