Ok, I know it’s nearly the end of the month. However, at the beginning I (incredibly) had no theatre booked in. As the month has gone on, I’ve filled up the diary, so here’s my retrospective look back at the month with extracts of and links to the relevant reviews.

Measure for Measure, Young Vic (Weds 7th)
(c) Keith Pattison

“Joe Hill-Gibbins tackles Shakespeare’s classic ‘problem play’ with radical audacity at the Young Vic this season… The visuals immediately go for full-throttle shock factor, as Hill-Gibbins and designer Miriam Buether hit us in the face with their ‘forget-everything-you-think-you-know-about-Shakespeare’ staging… This madcap romp through a substantially cut version of Measure for Measure is both joyously irreverent and suitably unsettling. Hilarious, absurd, seedy and profane, this production more than fulfils the aims of theatre as a form of entertainment.”

Full review here.

Memphis the Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre (Tues 13th)

My review last year when Memphis first opened celebrated its “fantastic on-stage orchestra, high energy choreography and leads with two of the biggest voices on the London stage”. Killian Donnelly has now departed the show to don some Kinky Boots, but his replacement Matt Cardle is a brilliant replacement. His vocal power is nigh on equally as strong, and he brings a sweeter goofiness to the role, which plays off Beverley Knight’s sass and soul wonderfully. A hugely successful production, which I’m heartbroken to see leaving the West End at the end of the month.

Last year’s full review here.

Universally Speaking, Bread and Roses Theatre (Weds 14th)

“Shortly before IdeasTap was sadly forced into closure earlier this year, the charity announced the winners of a playwriting competition; subsequently, these four playwrights were left without a showcase for their winning works. Step in JayBird Productions – led by director Simon Jay – and producer/playwright Robert Holtom, who took it upon themselves to give them the reward they had earned… I applaud the effort to present the monologues in a creative way, and it keeps us on our toes; however, this garnish feels unnecessary… mixed success. Yet it’s fantastic to see these pieces finally on show, and there is a charm to the evening that manages to paper over the cracks.”

Full review here.

Next Lesson, Pleasance Theatre (Tues 20th)

“Woodley’s script expertly negotiates a series of different conflicts and relationships, as in short scenes these sketched characters are brought to life through dialogue that broaches the personal and political with a deft touch… All other members of the cast multi-role impressively… a sharply-scripted and deftly-crafted show that entertains and engages with issues that remaining pressing and relevant.”

Full review here.

Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre (Thurs 22nd)

Jamie Baughan as Don (L) and Matt Henry as Lola (R) (c) Johan Persson
Jamie Baughan as Don (L) and Matt Henry as Lola (R) (c) Johan Persson

“The high-energy performances have a mountain to climb to cover some rather formulaic and unsatisfying elements in the book, and only just managed it… And yet. When Kinky Boots is good, it’s very good. The creative team certainly know how to put on a big number… there is a handful of musical numbers and some stand-out performances that drag this average musical up to higher things, and leave you tapping your toes and grinning broadly as some zany sparkle distracts from the lack of artistry and power.

Full review here.

Titus Andronicus, New Wimbledon Studio (Fri 23rd)

Titus lacks the energy and pace of their previous work… With a blend of the ancient and the modern – cloaks and swords, orange jumpsuits and Apple Macs – the show’s design feels like a rather muddled attempt to make the play relevant today… performances feel underpowered… ultimately drags through to its conclusion, lacking the explosive climax of high drama that it needs”.

Full review here.


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