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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.…

Review: Good People

19th March 2014 | Theatre

Review: Good People

 

“So politically incorrect it's offensive enough for us to be able to laugh at...” - 4 Stars

 

Good People, playing at Hampstead theatre, is one of the only plays I've seen which would also work as a BBC3 sitcom. As unlikely as this may sound, that's not actually a slating. I believe the true impression was left not by the play, but by the actors. The play is riddled with juxtapositions (such as class, accents, motives etc) which start with the audience; amongst the middle aged, middle class Jewish grandparent figures were a few young, relatively cool looking people. Granted, us youngsters were not out in force yet I think as time passes, word will spread on the eternal, rather gossipy grape vine, and the kids of North London will colonize and fill the (immensely uncomfortable) seats of the Hampstead theatre.

The contrasts don't end there - this play covers class in the way Clynborne Park deals with race issues. Bluntly. You empathize with the poor and just want to buy Imelda Staunton a winning bingo card and a warm cup of coffee. Staunton is a fantastic actress and it takes about 10 mins of her waxing lyrical about a shitty story in a grimy alleyway for you to fall in love with her. It's partially her ability to bounce around the stage with an incredible amount of energy, and partly her use of profanities. The play is full of pardoning one's French and layered with brilliant 'banter' such as being asked how her the wine was and simply replying "how the fuck should I know?" As a foul-mouthed teen I felt as at home in the audience as I would have at a tourettes convention.

The play is so politically incorrect it's offensive enough…