No One Will Tell Me How To Start A Revolution by Luke Barnes, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, 23 September 2017

Interesting and entertaining play, this.

Hampstead resource on the play/production can be found here.

It is the tale of three sisters from a self-confessed chav family which moves to a posh town for the sake of the girls’ education.

It throws up a great many issues about class, families, aspirations and the like.

The problem with it is the extreme nature of the plot. I’m not sure where this posh town might be, entirely populated by such snobby, middle-class people that this trio of roofer’s daughters are so utterly different from all of their peers.

Still, the story provides a vehicle for those pertinent issues and a vehicle also for three very high energy and vibrant performances by the actresses.

Weird set with the audience separated into four quadrants while the stage formed a cross formation covering most of the room, allowing the girls plenty of space for their performances.

It’s a short play (100 minutes without an interval) which suited us well. Janie had bought one of those crispy Gressingham duck things for the weekend and it seemed a shame not to roast and eat it when we got home.

Low Level Panic by Clare Mcintyre, Orange Tree Theatre, 25 March 2017

This made it two in a row theatre visits to see all female affairs, the previous visit being Scarlett at the Hampstead Downstairs – click here – earlier this month.

Unlike Scarlett, though, this production is a revival of a 1980’s play. Indeed, a quintessentially 1980’s play. It’s a three-hander.  All three actresses performed their roles very well.

Here is a link to the excellent Orange Tree on-line resources about the production, including reviews and stuff.

Lots of excellent reviews up there, mostly four stars. Of course, the Orange Tree only puts up the best ones with stars, so I add these only for balance:

Several of the reviews discuss feminism 1988 style and debate the extent to which things have changed since then – very much the conversation Janie and I had over dinner and the next day.

Anyway, Janie and I both really enjoyed our evening at the theatre and our Don Fernando grubsie afterwards.

 

Diary Of A Madman by Al Smith after Gogol, Gate Theatre Notting Hill, 29 July 2016

I rather liked the idea of this modern adaptation of Gogol’s magnificent short story, Diary of a Madman, set in modern Scotland.

This show is going to Edinburgh in August and then running at The Gate Theatre in September, but we booked for one of three previews at The Gate, which we thought would be a good way to see the production.

The play and production certainly had its moments, but also had some longueurs. Perhaps these will be ironed out between preview and main show, but the preview ran for some 90 minutes and I suspect that 60 to 70 would work better; there is certainly at least 20 minutes-worth of material, mostly earlier in the piece, that is surplus to requirements and made the play seem slow.

But it was very well acted and there were some lovely ideas in there. The bar scene towards the end was a wonderful mixture of anarchic, comedic and suspenseful drama. Some of the topical humour about referenda should play well, especially in Edinburgh.

Here’s a link to the Gate resource on the production. Too early for reviews at the time of writing, but perhaps not at the time of reading.

Janie particularly enjoyed the pea soup followed by “Big Al” pasta dish at Chez Clanricarde after the show.