Monday, 5 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'The Talisman' - Bike Shed Theatre (30 Sept 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: W.W Jacobs
Adapters: Ripple & Nick Discombe
Director: David Prescott
Reviewer: Christy Ku
The Talisman updates W.W. Jacobs’ short story The Monkey’s Paw, creating a spooky and modern, but faithful, play. Amanda and Gary are a couple hopelessly deep in debt when Gary’s friend returns from war and hands them an ancient talisman. It has the power to grant three wishes – but the wishes are cursed…

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'Mayor and James' - Cygnet Theatre (26 Sept 2015, Live Music)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Musicians: Simon Mayor and Hilary James
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Mandolin music, dry wit and songs about turkeys – it can only be Simon Mayor and Hilary James. Mayor is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, columnist and one of the world’s leading mandolinists. He tours with long-term partner Hilary James, a singer and fellow multi-instrumentalist. Together, they play folk music with an interest in children’s music.

The Reviews Hub: 'Flare Path' - Exeter Northcott Theatre (23 Sept 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Terence Rattigan
Director: Justin Audibert
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Set in World War Two, Patricia (Olivia Hallinan) is a former actress and wife of RAF pilot Teddy (Alastair Whatley). When her former flame and Hollywood icon Peter Kyle (Leon Ockenden) arrives and her husband is called on a dangerous mission over Germany, their seemingly perfect marriage is tested to the limits.
From the moment you enter the theatre, you feel yourself being immersed in the world of Flare Path. The action takes place in the lobby of the Old Falcon Hotel, a simple-looking but carefully designed set. The jagged metal framing of the stage juxtaposes the warm wooden furniture and reminds the audience of how fragile a thing safety was when attempting to live a wartime life.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'Beyond Expectations', Cygnet Theatre (06 June 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Charles Dickens
Adaptors: Martin Levinson and Avril Silk
Reviewer: Christy Ku
“What are we but agents in the lives of others.”
Beyond Expectations is a retelling of Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. Untold Theatre seeks to make Estella, one of literature’s most famous femmes fatales, the focal point of their play.
Estella’s birth mother, Molly (Brooke Andersen) has a stronger role in this version. A gypsy in the original tale, the theme of tarot cards runs throughout the show – something the writer Avril Silk may have gained knowledge of through her background of teaching and working with gypsy travellers. Andersen plays both of Estella’s mothers; Molly and Miss Havisham, creating a connection between the two otherwise utterly different characters.

The Reviews Hub: '603 Miles', Cygnet Theatre (06 June 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Marion MacBeth
Director: Mark Sidey
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Two estranged brothers, one urn full of their dad’s ashes and a long journey to Ireland.
The play’s story is simple, and has a lot of potential to be both humorous and touching. Yet, it struggles to deliver either well. It’s a fun play with lots of comic moments, but they generate chuckles rather than laughs. The punch lines are too obvious with generally poor comic timing from the actors.

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'So It Goes', Bike Shed Theatre (26 May 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub on 26 May 2015

Creators and Directors: Hannah Moss & David Ralfe
Reviewer: Christy Ku
“I’m not speaking. It’s easier.”
For several years after the death of her father, Hannah Moss found it hard to talk about him. Grief is difficult to discuss, and Moss discovered a way to do so in So it Goes – without speaking. Full of fabulously awkward dancing and immensely touching moments, this is a truly beautiful theatre show.
Moss connects with the audience on a deep, personal level from the moment she steps onto the stage, as she looks closely at them and smiles. It’s a self-conscious play as she talks about scenes she likes, and frequently breaks the fourth wall to speak to the audience. Joined by David Ralfe, they communicate through the use of whiteboards and hand drawn cardboard signs. The strong friendship between the two actors is apparent and they have a fantastic chemistry.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: '64 Squares' Bike Shed Theatre (20 May 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub 

Writer: Stefan Zweig
Adaptor and Director: Christopher Harrisson
Reviewer: Christy Ku
“When he sleeps, he dreams in black and white.”
In 1939, B finds himself on board a luxury cruise liner, playing against one of the world’s greatest chess champions during a storm. However, B is not one person – but four, and they’re all trying to remember how he got there.
When the four cast members enter, the unreality begins. Through ebbs and rushes of energy, drum beats and sweeping language, 64 Squares unfolds the story using themes of lost memories, identity and sanity.