Of Kith And Kin by Chris Thompson, Bush Theatre, 28 October 2017

Another night at the theatre, another enjoyable evening despite a rather messy play.

We enjoyed Of Kith And Kin, especially once the narrative got past the rather sitcom meets soap opera first act. There were interesting issues and a nice mixture of comedy, tension and tragedy.

But my goodness did we have to suspend belief a lot at times. No amount of desperation, deep-seated psychological damage and troubled back story would, in my view, lead a solicitor to behave as Daniel behaves at times in the second and third acts.

The acting felt a bit patchy too. All three female parts were very well-expressed but the central (male) couple felt a bit weak at times. Perhaps it was the play. Perhaps it was the way the play was directed.

The Bush has published a trailer on YouTube:

The Bush anchor and details can be found by clicking here.

I’ll guess the play will get/is getting mixed reviews – this search term should find whatever is out there whenever you come to look.

Still, we had a good evening.

We met again the nice young chap who sat next to us and chatted with us at The Gate the other week, serving behind the bar at The Bush.

We tried a very tasty Thai takeaway from the Sisters Cafe in Pitshanger Lane after the show.

Forget Me Not by Tom Holloway, Bush Theatre, 19 December 2015

A powerful evening at the theatre, this play.  It is about the forced migration of thousands of British children to Australia in the quarter-of-a-century or so after the second world war.

Janie came away from the play feeling very angry about the Australian Government, although in truth the Church and the UK Government have just as much to answer and apologise for; which, to some extent, all these parties have done in recent years.

The play is focused on one such child’s story and the impact this ill-thought policy had on his life and the lives of those around him – explained well in the Bush Theatre rubric – click here.

It is superbly acted by all four actors and well produced at the Bush, one of our favourite places at the moment, putting on interesting work with a consistent high quality; very few misses there.

Michael Billington was full of praise in his Guardian review – click here.  Henry Hitchings in the Standard was perhaps even more keen on it – click here.

It was originally produced at the Belvoir Theatre in Sydney in 2013, where it also seems to have gone down very well – for information and reviews click here.

It is quite a short evening at the theatre, which was just as well for us, as Janie and I wanted to go on to Lisa Opie’s party afterwards and get there before most people had left, which we achieved.  The party did a jolly good job of cheering us up again after this sobering but gripping evening at the theatre.

F*ck The Polar Bears by Tanya Ronder, Bush Theatre, 12 September 2015

This play/production at the Bush Theatre made for a very good evening.

The communications head for a giant energy company faces issues of climate change in the discomfort of his own increasingly dysfunctional household. This sort of play is fun but it also makes you think. The Bush does this sort of play well.

Click here for the excellent Bush stub with all the information you might want about the play/production.

It didn’t get fabulous reviews, despite the fact that we really liked it:

Oh well. We did.

 

The Invisible by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Bush Theatre, 4 July 2015

This was an interesting play about a legal aid lawyer and her cases. It raised a great many issues about that corner of our society.

Click here for the Bush Theatre stub, which explains the play/production well.

I have a playtext for this one; which is a good read.

It worked better as agitprop than as drama, in truth, although there were also some good dramatic moments.

Well written, well acted, well produced.

It got me and Janie talking about the issues anyway. Well worthwhile evening.

 

Islands by Caroline Horton, Bush Theatre, 24 January 2015

We thought this play and its production were just awful.

I seem to recall that it ran straight through without an interval; had there been an interval we would not have returned for the second half of this one. Perhaps there was and we didn’t. The whole experience was so bad we’ve mostly blotted it from our minds.

The subject matter – tax havens and the greed of the super rich – is fair game for theatre. But this was like a really bad copy of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi style with almost no substance – opportunities missed.

If you want to know more about the production, the Bush has a decent stub on it – click here.

I could go on, but I won’t.

 

We Are Proud To… by Jackie Sibblies Drury , Bush Theatre, 15 March 2014

This was a very unusual piece about the Herero people of Namibia and the tragedy that befell them at the hands of the German colonial power in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The whole title is unfeasibly long.

It is written & performed in the post-modern style of a group of young people trying to put together a performance about…

It occasionally grated but mostly it worked well; a very moving, informative and entertaining piece.

Here is a link to the Bush resource on the play/production.

It divided the critics, did this one – a search term with links to reviews is here.

Here is a YouTube with the playwright and director:

 

suddenlossofdignity.com by Zawe Ashton, James Graham, Joel Horwood, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Michelle Terry, Bush Theatre, 8 August 2009

I don’t remember a great deal about this one, so perhaps it wasn’t the hilarious romp the Bush production resource suggests that it must have been.

Interesting list of young playwrights collaborated on the piece, though; James Graham in particular having shot to playwright stardom relatively quickly since.

I don’t remember hating it – but I do recall that curates egg feeling about it. “Sounded better as an idea than it turned out to be as a play” was probably Daisy’s verdict.

 

 

On The Beach by Steve Waters, Bush Theatre, 25 April 2009

This play was part of a double bill of plays about climate change known together as The Contingency Plan.

We only fancied the first part; On The Beach.

The Bush was still above the pub on Shepherd’s Bush Green in those days.

It was well acted and produced, but we both found the first play a bit long, ponderous and not entirely plausible. We didn’t seek to book nor did we regret not having booked the second part.

On the whole the double-bill was reviewed jointly, so our take is only partial:

Land of the Dead and Helter Skelter by Neil LaBute, Bush Theatre, 18 January 2008

Neil LaBute is good at short, punchy plays. These two, Land of the Dead and Helter Skelter – see Bush Theatre stub here,  are companion pieces.

It was a Friday evening, so it was stronger meat than we would normally choose for the end of the working week. Still, we were really taken by these plays and this production of them. The reviews we can still find tend to agree with us:

 

The Dysfunckshonalz by Mike Packer, Bush Theatre, 16 November 2007

This play was good fun. It is basically a comedy about a punk band that fell out in unusual circumstances reforming many years later as Mammon comes calling. It sounds a bot “so what?” and it some ways it was, but it was an entertaining evening at one of our favourite venues.

The Bush has a good stub for this production, as the best theatres now do – see here. The reviews bit doesn’t seem to be working, but there are several reviews still to be found:

It didn’t get a west end transfer, but perhaps that idea was b*llocks, never mind. The Bush was still a room above the pub in those days, which seemed a fitting venue for this piece.