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Review: Happy Birthday Without You

24th January 2015 | Theatre

Review: Happy Birthday Without You

Happy Birthday Without You at the Tricycle Theatre is a one woman play that can only be described as bizarre yet brilliant. A play like no other. The audience leave confused, slightly scarred and with a belly ache from too much laughter.

Sonia Jalaly is an actress to look out for. To captivate an audience with nothing but yourself requires talent- and she's got it. Her performance paints pictures to recreate a peculiar world for us all to enjoy. Not to mention that writing a nonsensical play that an audience can follow probably makes her a genius.

The play stars fictional character Violet Fox who invites you to join her on a journey of her past tragic birthdays, usually involving a lack of cake and a drunken mother. Sound exhausting? Well spending 1 hour and 10 minutes in fits of laughter can be, especially when you feel guilty about it. The story is devastating, the actress hilarious.

Fox woos us with song, expressive dance and party bags, constantly keeping you guessing what her next move is till the very end of the show. Her skills include miming to 80s songs and the best impression of Julie Andrews you'll ever see.

The play starts at 9:15 which, although late, is perfectly suited to it. I urge anyone with a spare evening to grab a friend and a bottle of wine and make their way to the Tricycle Theatre to enjoy what can only be called an 'experience'.

Review: I Can’t Sing – The X Factor Musical

4th April 2014 | Theatre

Review: I Can’t Sing – The X Factor Musical

 

The idea of a musical parodying the X Factor instantly turns heads. If Harry Hill’s name is on it then you will most definitely be checking out the website. If Simon Cowell has approved it – you’ll be booking tickets in an instant! However, in the case of the Palladium’s latest offering, I wouldn’t bother bookmarking the “Tickets” page.

 

When the concept of “I Can’t Sing” (a West End musical based on one of TV’s most successful, and most controversial, programmes) was announced, there were mixed reactions. As much as the British public love the ITV series, we were all sceptical as to whether we would be able to take it for 2 hours and 30 minutes in a packed out, stuffy theatre.

 

Reviews for the previews were poor, with some performances being cancelled due to “Technical Issues” and even one being shut down half way through. With a £6 million budget – what issues could possibly persist? Once the show has started, it doesn’t take long for you to realise exactly where that money went: Ensuring Es Devlin (Production Designer) and Leah Archer (Costume Designers)’s happiness.

 

It is a wacky extravaganza that hits you with so much satire that you are almost out of breath by the end of it! It is simply impossible to watch for longer than 15 minutes without feeling the urge to stand up for a round of applause. The set design, costumes and level of talent make the Palladium a hot spot during this run. Interestingly enough, my list of “Show Stealers” does not include Nigel Harman’s rather pathetic version of Simon Cowell. His performance sits in the awkward spot between “I am doing a superb copy of Cowell” and “I am making Cowell my own”. He…

Review: 1984, Almeida Theatre

29th March 2014 | Theatre

Review: 1984, Almeida Theatre

 

I feel it imperative to start by stating how I’m a sucker for a dystopia. Throw sex and a rebel in and I’m bound to fall in love with any interpretation of it – theatrical or written. The first ‘proper’ book I remember reading was Animal Farm, back in ’09 and for this reason I have always held a special, slightly disturbing shaped hole in my heart for George Orwell and his musings. Of the few pieces of his writing that I’ve dissected and adored, 1984 is the clear winner. It’s a complex piece covering the problems within our society (the neurotic within me believes I’m always being watched over CCTV) and offering many spine-chilling phrases, which we all namedrop, daily- regardless of their origin. Big Brother fans I’m talking to you.

The book’s no beach read and makes for a static piece with shoddy dialogue due to the characters previous lack of expression. It created a similar scenario to putting a religious girl in a room with a sex-fuelled boy. Deprived of having fraternized with the opposite sex in the past and rather sexually frustrated. This is unfortunately evident in the play. Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan must be congratulated in putting on a piece in such a loyal way to the novel however in doing so it inevitably makes for uncomfortable viewing. The real virtue of the piece was the use of visuals- footage was projected onto the area inhabiting the above stage abyss. It simulated the sensation of sitting in big brothers seat, watching down on their shady home-movie as they explore defiance in the form of sex.

As a GCSE drama student who’s disobedient to the mark scheme, I’m trying to interpret each play I see with one example from each category.…