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Review: The Tulip Tree

7th April 2015 | Theatre

Review: The Tulip Tree

Enoch Powell is notorious. He is mentioned on average three times daily in the UK press. His observation, made in relation to Joseph Chamberlain, that “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and human affairs” is misquoted daily in a British newspaper.

When approaching a production in which Mr. J Enoch Powell is the central character, there is definitely an err of caution. A production taglined, “The Love Story of J Enoch Powell” definitely sounds intriguing, if not a tad worrying, but once ventured into, the result is nothing less than a thought provoking, engaging performance telling the story of Enoch Powell (played superbly by Alexander Shenton) and his lover, Barbara Kennedy (played by the elegant Helen Reuben).

Based in the attic-like performance space known as the Drayton Arms Theatre, this intimate performance is pulled off with near perfection, with all parts played with conviction. In a theatre where there are only four, short rows of seating, ‘intimate’ does go to a whole new level, but whilst watching ‘The Tulip Tree’ that doesn’t seem to be an issue. The closer to the characters you seem to get, the more real it seems.

Much needed humorous breaks are given by Tessa Wood in the role of Mrs Monckton (who has recently starred in Our Town at the Almeida Theatre). All of the performances are outstanding.

The experience can be summarised by the word ‘intense’. With a running length of only just over an hour and a half, you find yourself encapsulated in this world whereby Enoch Powell is not a ‘dangerous leader’ as we would know him in the political sphere, but more as a mate or an awkward associate.…

Live Blog: WhatsOnStage Awards 2015

15th February 2015 | Theatre

Live Blog: WhatsOnStage Awards 2015

This LIVE BLOG will launch at 6.00pm from the Prince of Wales Theatre, London.


18:39 We are here, live, at the Prince of Wales Theatre in the heart of London's West End for The WhatsOnStage Awards 2015. We'll be covering all of the gossip and award winners (and losers) live on here! Keep refreshing for the latest updates...



18:46 The audience are arriving in their droves! Some famous West End names have also arrived - including Kerry Ellis who is currently in Cats at the Palladium and West End Producer (#dear). Cast members from Jersey Boys, Miss Saigon and more are already seated as well.



18:56 And... West End Producer have just walked past us! We're shaking in our boots... #dear.



19:00 The tannoy has spoken and tonight's events are about to kick off! Here we go...



19:10 The first award for Best Supporting Actress is taking place right now!



19:15 The nominations for Best Supporting Actress are... Billie Piper (Great Britain), Gillian Anderson (A Streetcar Named Desire), Helen McCrory (Medea), Imelda Staunton (Good People) and Lucy Briggs-Owen (Shakespeare in Love).



19:21 We can hear all sorts of noises from inside the theatre here at the Prince of Wales! We have a feeling that our first winner may be on the way.



19:22 And our first winner of the night is VANESSA KIRBY for the Young Vic production of A Streetcar Named Desire! Congratulations Vanessa - an interview with us is your next appearance!



19:23 Vanessa has thanked her team, Director Benedict Andrews and Gillian Anderson. She's self-proclaimed that her dressing room is like a bomb site! We've probably seen worse Vanessa, much worse.



19:25 Just before Vanessa comes up to us, it's time for the Best Supporting Actor in a Music Award! This one has gone to KWANG-HO HONG for Miss. Saigon



19:27 We've just realised we wrote the wrong…

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'.