Oliver Simmonds

Today I am seated next to Leah Lawry-Johns and Eduard Lewis, who comprise part of the production team of Caught, the Pleasance Theatre’s latest show. Leah, while also writing the piece, is one of its actors in an all-female cast. Eduard, working entirely behind the scenes, is the play’s director. What is Caught about? L: Caught […]

  Oliver Simmonds

The National’s version of a modest summer hit is The Motherfucker With the Hat, a vulgar look at a man trying to overcome his addictions and stick to his moral code. This man is Jackie, an ex-con who struggles to maintain a relationship after he finds out his coke-addled partner has been sleeping with the […]

  Oliver Simmonds

Letter To Larry has the advantage of being a play that one cannot reasonably turn away from. It does this by its dialectics—past and present; stage and life; mania and depression—to the effect that the audience is engrossed and rarely numbed by the terrible sadness of it all. This balance is clearly a troublesome one […]

  Adam Mcdonnell

Get lost down the rabbit hole, immerse yourself in the madness and enter the freakishly wonderful world of Alice. Hidden away in the Waterloo Vaults, a beautiful and unique experience has been created as Les Enfants Terribles explore Lewis Carroll’s timeless novel. Alice’s Adventures Underground is an interactive theatrical piece consisting of a maze of […]

  Oliver Simmonds

The Iris Theatre’s Pinocchio is a show for children. That does not necessarily preclude an adult from enjoying it, but the adult in question will have to find the childish part of their brain (as long as it still exists). Pinocchio is a kid’s show because it is not layered: it does not entertain both […]

  Oliver Simmonds

There is nothing like the Iris Theatre’s outdoor season in London. It is usually the summer, you have been working all day and you venture to Covent Garden; no, not to see the buskers, although there is some similarity to the Iris and what goes on only metres away. You gather around the performers, starting […]

  Oliver Simmonds

As part of their eclectic ‘Summer Season’ week, Sedos has put on a series of scenes from six American plays, each with distinctive moods and dynamics. I say dynamics because that it was most apparent in the selection we were given by the director Alex Magliaro. Despite the almost century-wide gap between the plays’ various […]

  Oliver Simmonds

Robert Icke wants to do something with his adaptation of The Oresteia. He wants to smooth out the contrivances of Aeschylus’ original tragedy while increasing the emotional intensity. While I applaud that effort—recontextualisation is crucial for modern theatre—the funny thing is that for all its clever techniques, Oresteia leaves me wanting more formality in these […]

  Adam Mcdonnell

It is refreshing when a rarer musical pops up on the London fringe circuit, and this production of The Baker’s Wife does a fine job at demonstrating one of composer Stephen Schwartz’s lesser known works. The intimate Drayton Arms Theatre serves perfectly as the local French village where the show is set and the stage […]

  Adam Mcdonnell

Take a bow, Imelda Staunton. The national treasure is mesmerising as Mama Rose in this perfect West End revival of the 1959 classic, Gypsy. Having been lucky enough to see the production at the Chichester Festival Theatre prior to its West End run, I couldn’t wait to see it again at the Savoy and certainly […]

  Oliver Simmonds

Steve Waters’ new play Temple is invigorating, and that is a surprise considering its subject matter. Temple reveals the trials of the administration of St. Paul’s Cathedral during the 2011 Occupy Movement. It is set on the day the building reopened following a two week closure. It also tells of the drama surrounding the resignation […]

  Oliver Simmonds

This 2015 Revival of The Elephant Man is an average production of a bland play with competent actors. It tells the story John Merrick (played by Bradley Cooper), a disfigured Victorian who is saved from the life of a circus sideshow by surgeon Frederick Treves (Alessandro Nivola). Treves teaches John the ways of the upper […]

  Oliver Simmonds

Mad world, mad kings, mad composition, mad play. King John, as a text, is a mess. The plot casually advances from war to marriage to war and then to death in a literary frenzy. The king is barely a character for most of it (Falconbridge seems to be given the most to say) and we […]

  Jordan Morrissey

One of the most intriguing aspects of our fascination with the lives of the members of Britain’s Royal Family is how little we really know about them. Although perhaps one of our most public institutions, it is striking that we know only snippets of their ambitions, their disappointments, their hopes and dreams. Indeed, behind the […]

  Adam Mcdonnell

Regarded as one of the biggest flops in Broadway’s history, following its five-day run in the late 1980s, this revamped and modernised version of ‘Carrie: The Musical’ does an excellent job at leaving its past failures behind and revitalising itself for a new audience. Based on the Stephen King novel, made timeless by the 1976 […]

  Oliver Simmonds

It was not surprising that the National would put on a play post-election about the origins of Parliament. Fortunately, it is not the dry, dour production that one might expect it to be. Carol Churchill’s 1976 work takes on the struggle of the factions of Parliamentarians, Levellers and Diggers during the English Civil War in […]

  Oliver Simmonds

What a turnaround. It is not often that a show can improve so much between its Acts. From the first Act’s close, it seemed like High Society was an extremely middling production, which is not at all expected from the Old Vic. However, the change is unexpected and grand. It is not clear whether the […]