SOPHIE PARKER reviews UCL Musical Theatre Society’s production of Edges at the Bloomsbury Studio. Edges, a piece of musical theatre written in 2005, is the earliest work from creators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who would go on to write music for Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman, and ‘City of Stars’ for La La Land, for which they won a Best Original Song Academy Award, amongst other accolades. The show explores the trials of growing up at university, and rings true since Pasek and Paul were 19-year-old undergrads at the University of Michigan when they wrote it. The subject matter, along with the minimalist staging, and the cast of just four and two musicians (Louis Shaw on drums and Yutong Zhang on keys, and also the show’s Musical Director), meant the production could very easily have felt like a sixth-form recital. However, the charisma of these cast members (Dan…Continue Reading

Edges

SONIA CHUI reviews Dirty Laundry at Tristan Bates Theatre. The lights dim. A bell chimes. A single woman clothed in all black walks slowly into the room, ritualistically preparing an intimate space. The play begins with a prayer followed by a confession, with a booming voice from beyond the room not encouraging, but forcing the woman to confess her sins. Dirty Laundry, performed and written by Wallis Hamilton Felton, grapples with suffering and forgiveness. Weaving in traditional Irish songs, Hamilton Felton’s protagonist unearths the decades of abuse endured in the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, otherwise known as Magdalene’s asylums. Operating from the 18th to the late 20th centuries, these were predominantly Roman Catholic religious institutes for ‘fallen women’ who were forced to spend the remainder of their lives repenting. This term was gradually used to encompass not just prostitution but a huge number of perceived ‘sins.’ An estimated 30,000 women…Continue Reading

Dirty Laundry

SOPHIE PARKER reviews Clamour at the Roundhouse. Digital artists Simon Katan and Luke Fraser’s 2018 incarnation of their evolving show Clamour pitched itself as ‘an interactive, mixed media theatre piece’ which ‘wryly and reflexively interrogates how social media mediates and influences our knowledge, relationships and identities.’ This is a bold description, given the many intricacies these social issues entail in our modern world. Considering the production was only 45 minutes long, it perhaps tried to cover too much ground in its attempt to do each issue justice, but that in itself could reflect the shallow and transitory nature of life in the technological age. The production worked through a combination of a web app on audience smartphones, a projector and a vast soundscape. The only person on stage – a man in a black t-shirt typing on a MacBook throughout – dictated the content appearing on the audience’s phones in…Continue Reading

Clamour

IDO VOCK reviews Momma Golda at the King’s Head Theatre. Thelma Ruby is 93. As her new play Mamma Golda unfolds, it’s astounding to remember that the spritely figure on stage’s first job was entertaining British troops towards the end of the Second World War. Ruby’s stamina is more than impressive, not only for someone billed as the oldest actress currently performing in the UK. Ruby plays Golda Meir, the first female Prime Minister of Israel, as she faces her most serious crisis, which would eventually cost her the premiership. In 1973, on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the armies of Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on two fronts. The play flits back and forth between Meir manoeuvring through this crisis and her memories of her earlier life, from her childhood in Kiev to her appointment as Israel’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union. Ruby’s Hebrew pronunciation is impeccable, no…Continue Reading

Momma Golda

ISABELLA JAKOBSEN reviews The Distance You Have Come at Cockpit Theatre. In The Distance You Have Come, the stories of six different people have been put together from a selection of Scott Alan’s songs to create a new musical. Each of these interlocking tales takes a unique lens to the collision of relationships and mental health, grappling with the subjects of depression, rape, surrogacy, homosexuality and bisexuality (a pleasant surprise given common bi-erasure in the general media). Although this is a collection of songs previously written by Alan, under his direction and with the musical direction of Scott Morgan, it also flourishes as its own work, and deserves to be viewed as a dramatic piece, not just a performance of Alan’s back catalogue. The set is strikingly beautiful, consisting of a park, featuring a bench and a swing intertwined with natural elements; on the stage floor there is a giant print…Continue Reading

There In Never Neverland