The Unknown Island adapted from a short story by José Saramago, Gate Theatre, 29 September 2017

Ellen McDougall is the new artistic director of The Gate and this production is a great start to her role.

Based on The Tale Of The Unknown Island, an allegorical short story by Portugese writer José Saramago, four actors enact the piece. It is a very simple story with many-layered themes; to some extent the unknown island is an individual’s capacity to explore personal horizons, to some extent it is an allegorical tale about bureaucracy, leadership, power and colonialism.

Sounds heavy but honestly it isn’t. It is a one hour piece full of fun and little coups de theatre. There’s even a tiny bit of audience participation…but not of the “embarrassing pick on one person” kind.

Here is a link to The Gate’s resource on the play/production. The production has deservedly had superb reviews, links to which can be found in this resource, saving me the trouble.

Janie and I thought we were the oldest people in the audience…

…turns out I had inadvertently booked for “Young People’s Night” – it was simply the only Friday evening we were available!

Still, we are young at heart.

There was a short Q&A session after the show for Young People’s Night. As we were honorary young folk by then, Janie and I stayed on, finding the discussion interesting.

But back to the play/production – it is most certainly well worth seeing; for the story, for the production and for the quality of the performances, all four performers being excellent.

At the time of writing (the next morning), this production still has a week to run; Janie and I would thoroughly recommend it. Hopefully the piece will transfer and allow a wider audience to enjoy this thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable production.

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.

 

buckets by Adam Barnard, Orange Tree Theatre, 30 May 2015

An interesting short play, this one, lots of tiny vignettes not really connected other than a general theme around bucket lists.

The title actually is “buckets” with a small “b”. Not sure if that is significant or just modern “mess with capitalisation” stuff.

There’s real “what was that all about” weirdness about this play – I’m pretty sure Janie said that as we left – but still we enjoyed some of the scenes and performances. We had plenty to talk about afterwards.

It reminded me, actually, of the sort of experimental stuff Sam Walters used to do above the pub back in the “original Orange Tree” days.

Excellent on-line resource with all the details, in the modern Orange Tree way – click here. Lots of review quotes in there but tellingly the one from the Guardian is excluded. In his gentle, pro-Orange Tree style I think Michael Billington sums it up very well – click here.

Yes, we went for Spanish food at Don Fernando afterwards, That’s normally what we do.