Inside Pussy Riot | Review

★★★★☆ Les Enfants Terribles, Saatchi Gallery

Inside Pussy Riot is a powerful and relevant immersive production that needs to be experienced.

Inside Pussy Riot - Les-Enfants Terribles - Production Shot
Roseanna Brear| Kenny Mathieson

In all honesty, I was very nervous before going into the play. Having previously read about Pussy Riot and Nadya Tolokonnikova, I couldn’t imagine how this would be turned into an immersive production.

Naturally, when being led into the first room, I was nervous. Surprisingly, Inside Pussy Riot starts out light and funny, when the audience are led into a room and an ‘incapable’ tour guide welcomes everyone. This was great as this made all of us feel more relaxed and it was a nice ice breaker to the experience.

Then we are led into a cathedral and encouraged to take part in a short protest, to show what we believe in. We get caught and arrested, interrogated and sentenced to labour camp and experience things similar (but toned down) to what Nadya went through during her time in the penal colony.

Inside Pussy Riot - Les-Enfants Terribles - Production Shot
Kenny Mathieson

However, having been to other Les Enfants Terribles productions, this one slightly dissapoints. Some things feel a bit forced and not as natural as in previous productions. There are also parts that slow down the story-telling.

Nonetheless, Inside Pussy Riot feels contemporary and right at the time, hinting at a Trump-led America and the Weinstein scandal that led to the uncovering of countless of other sexual abuse cases in the entertainment industry. It sets up the audience with just the right amount of anger before we are encouraged to vocalise our beliefs.

Another great thing is that it feels like a very millennial way of showing people social issues around the world. Instead of reading or hearing about those issues, we get to experience it, which has a much deeper impact. We walk away finding ourselves thinking: Would I stand up for my beliefs? How would I react in the same situation? Would I be brave enough to stand up for myself and for others?

Inside Pussy Riot - Les-Enfants Terribles - Production Shot
Kenny Mathieson

It seems as though the intention was to raise awareness of oppression, the judicial system and injustice, what happened to Nadya and other members of Pussy Riot and how quickly basic human rights can be taken away from you. As well as adding that typical Les Enfants touch of quirkiness to it, this was completely achieved.

Inside Pussy riot is an immersive production that needs to be experienced. It raises attention to important issues and shocks the audience, so be prepared!

Inside Pussy Riot runs at the Saatchi Gallery until 24 December.



The Killing of a Sacred Deer | Review

★★★★☆ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Film4 & HanWay Films 

Directed by Yargos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is spine chilling and eerie right down to its very core. Both Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman create an unnerving experience never to be forgotten in this weird taboo thriller.

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Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell | Instagram @thekillingofasacreddeer 

Colin Farrell plays Steven Murphy, a well-respected surgeon with a beautiful and loving wife (played by Nicole Kidman) and two children Bob and Kim (played by Sunny Suljic and Raffey Cassidy). They play happy families until 16-year-old Martin (played by Barry Keoghan) finds his way into Steven’s life, hangs out with the surgeon as if they were best friends and inviting each other to their houses for dinner. Things soon change as Martin’s true colours and motives are shown as he threatens the surgeon and bodies get dragged up from the mud. Through a twisted game of playing God, Steven is forced to think about the past and what he’s done (or not done) and to make a decision that could affect his family forever.

Steven and his wife’s marriage is a particularly odd and intriguing one. They have a few kinks within the bedroom, especially one involving the phrase ‘general anaesthetic’. Steven has somnophilia which his wife submits to. She lies there pretending to be asleep whilst Steven has sex with her.

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Nicole Kidman | Instagram @thekillingofasacreddeer

Farrell provides the audience with a sensational piece of acting, alongside Kidman and more specifically new kid on the block, Keoghan, who plays Martin. A lot happens in the film where you question everything. However, the nature of the film is about guilt and the repercussions and responsibilities of the life and death of human life.

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Barry Keoghan | Instagram @thekillingofasacreddeer 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is unnerving and sets your hair on edge, but it’s thrilling and will have you biting at your nails, ready and waiting for what’s to come next.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is out now in cinemas.

Stick Man | Review

★★★★☆  Scamp Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre

Sally Cookson directs Stick Man and enchants kids with delightful music, creativity and playful characters.

Stick Man - courtesy of Steve Ullathorne_9
Lara Cowin (Stick Lady Love), Sam Heron (Stick Man) and Alex Tosh (Musician) | Steve Ullathorne

The best-selling adaptation by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler returns to the Leicester Square Theatre for the festive season. 

When Stick Man accidently gets pushed into a misadventure and taken away from his family, he sets out on a long journey back to find his tree and family again. On the way he encounters people and animals that often confuse him with an ordinary stick and he gets lost even more. Will he ever find his way back home?

Children’s laughter echoes through the theatre ignited through the shows comedic value, that even leaves adults chuckling in their seats. The whimsical stage design thrills and engages everyone in the audience, keeping children captivated throughout the performance. 

Stick Man - courtesy of Steve Ullathorne
Alex Tosh (Musician), Sam Heron (Stick Man) and Lara Cowin (Stick Lady Love) | Steve Ullathorne

Sam Heron embodies Stick Man and gives the character a voice that young audiences can interact with, while Lara Cowin plays his wife and other endearing characters. Everything that happens to Stick Man, Cowin conveys with charm and comedy.  

Alex Tosh (Musician) emphasises and compliments what’s happening in the play, with sounds and music. Many things are purely conveyed through music and choreography which sparks imagination and creativity in kids and adults alike.

Stick Man - courtesy of Steve Ullathorne_13.jpg
Sam Heron (Stick Man), Lara Cowin (Stick Lady Love) and Alex Tosh (Musician) | Steve Ullathorne

The show is an hour long which is the perfect amount to keep the children entertained without them becoming bored of sitting still. Every time the young ones engage in the play, many of their faces light up with excitement. It also breaks up the show, so they [the kids] don’t get restless.

This Christmas production fires up children’s imagination with props and loavable characters. A perfect family show to see during the festive season.

Stick Man runs at the Leicester Square Theatre until 7 January 2018.



The Secret Keeper | Review

★★☆☆☆  National Theatre Studio,  Ovalhouse

The Secret Keeper promises mystical mystery but only delivers cringy songs and confusing themes.

The Secret Keeper - production image 1 - Angela Clerkin (photo by Sheila Burnett)
Angela Clerkin| Sheila Burnett

In a fairytale village the daughter of the Dollhouse maker has a ‘gift’. She helps her father by keeping his deepest and darkest secret which changes him. He tells everyone to share their most intimate secrets with her to feel better. But what happens when one girl knows all the secrets in the village, including who killed her uncle?

Going into the theatre the atmosphere is eerie and promises a night of gothic and mysterious tales. However, that is only partly the case. The show switches between styles, which is confusing and lowers the quality of the production.

The Secret Keeper - production image 4 - L-R Niall Ashdown _ Angela Clerkin (photo by Sheila Burnett)
Niall Ashdown and Angela Clerkin | Sheila Burnett

It starts out feeling like a fairytale and the audience expects to watch a gothic style play, but then the style suddenly switches to a much more modern tone. This ruins the illusion and rips the viewer out of the story. The constant switches make it difficult to get lost in the play.

Things happen that don’t need to happen as they don’t help to tell the story and move it along, such as spontaneous singing.

The Secret Keeper - production image 6 - L-R Anne Odeke _ Niall Ashdown (photo by Sheila Burnett)
Anne Odeke and Niall Ashdown | Sheila Burnett

The spontaneous songs might be fun in a different, more modern setting, but with the fairtytale-like setting they seem silly and unnecessary.

Parts of the production were confusing, such as the gathering of the secrets. It wasn’t needed for the development of the story as the Good Daughter already showed that she was struggling to keep the secrets in.

Overall, the intentions of the production were good with a great storyline. The premise is intriguing but the execution of the production thoroughly disappoints.

The Secret Keeper runs at Ovalhouse until 21 October

30 years later and she’s still carrying that watermelon

Although in the US it was August 21, in the UK it’s actually today that marks the 30th anniversary of the musical hit that is Dirty Dancing. Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman made all the females jealous by her ability to win the heart of the most eligible bachelor going (and the most sought after pin-up of the 80s) Johnny Castle. Whilst Johnny on the other hand, flaunted his way into the 80’s with such style and sex appeal.

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Johnny Castle and Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman | Instagram @dirtydancingmovie

So what does make this classic film so loveable? Here are a few examples of why we love Dirty Dancing:

The Soundtrack

The award winning soundtrack has given its audience dance fever with some of the film’s hit favourites, such as (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, Hungry Eyes, Be My Baby and You Don’t Own Me. The film might be Dirty but this album is far from it. She’s Like the Wind is even written and sung by Mr Castle himself, Patrick Swayze. Who knew the guy could dance and sing like that?

The Dance Moves

Not only do both Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze make the cutest onscreen couple, but the dance pretty good too. The dance moves are exactly what it says on the tin, Dirty but thirty years ago this kind of dancing was a bit deal, controversial some might say. Now in the 21st century it’s seen as part of the norm (what other dance moves do you see in a club these days?) Perhaps this is where it originated from. The Dirty Dancing of the 21st century; night clubs in Soho.

The Cheesy Quotes

We all know the most iconic quote to have ever come from the lips of Mr Patrick Swayze to be “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. But do you even know the rest? Some of the best quotes have come from this film. There’s even one relating to the title of this article, did you know that? (It’s watermelon related). Some of our favourite quotes are:

Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am. And most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you – Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman. 

I’ll never be sorry – Johnny Castle. 

You wanna hear something crazy? Last night I… I dreamed we were walking along and we met your father. He said, “Come on,” and he put his arm around me. Just like he did with Robbie – Johnny Castle. 

I carried a watermelon – Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman. 

All the Little Lights | Review

★★★★★ Fifth Word, Arcola Theatre

Jane Upton’s ever so important and powerful play is heart-breaking, thought-provoking and cannot be missed.

Esther-Grace Button & Tessie Orange-Turner in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton - credit Robert Day
Esther-Grace Button and Tessie Orange-Turner |Robert Day
In the midst of rubbish, wrappers, empty bottles and fallen autumn leaves just off the railway tracks, three young girls are celebrating a birthday. Joanne and Lisa reunite, while Amy wants to belong. Lisa got out, but now she’s back and their past is haunting her. Where alcohol abuse is celebrated, a life threatening game where entertainment and violence is normal. In a society where the forgotten just want to belong and predators lurk around the corner. When does the victim become the villain?

Tessie Orange-Turner & Sarah Hoare in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton - credit Robert Day
Tessie Orange-Turner and Sarah Hoare | Robert Day
The play makes several important points. No one cares about children without a family, how easy it is to turn villain after being the victim and the horrendous, long-lasting effects of sexual abuse.

In times where you can’t flick on the news without men getting away with saying things like “grab them by the pussy” and making it seem normal, and Harvey Weinstein who uses his powerful position to sexually assault women, this play needs to be seen. It needs to be seen now.

People need to be made to feel uncomfortable, their hearts need to break for the girls and what they’ve had to go through.

Tessie Orange-Turner & Sarah Hoare in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton - credit Robert Day
Tessie Orange-Turner and Sarah Hoare | Robert Day
All three leading ladies, Esther-Grace Button, Sarah Hoare and Tessie Orange-Turner are remarkable. It cannot be easy to convey three forgotten and vulnerable teenage girls, who all have had horrible things happen to them, but Button, Hoare and Orange-Turner take the audience on a dark journey through unimaginable experiences.

Jane Upton’s script, directed by Laura Ford is simple, touching and shocking that will have the audience holding their breaths.

All The Little Lights runs at the Arcola Theatre until 4th November.

Gene Wilder | One Year On

I don’t know about you but Gene Wilder was one of those men who you instantly recognised just by the sound of his voice, and it was great. He reminded you of all those films you loved and it’s still shocking now to know he’s gone. August 29 marks the one year anniversary of actor, director, producer and writer Gene Wilder’s unexpected death. To celebrate his life, Millennial London has decided to honour him by taking a look back at some of his greatest acting moments.

Gene Wilder | IMDb

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

There’s no need for an introduction here. Wilder is Willy Wonka – the king of confectionary. Even a film made before our time is still loved now and will continue to be just as much loved by future generations. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a well loved classic and adored by every child and adult alike. We sing along and know all the words and even appreciate the great taste in fashion Mr Wonka had. Mr Wonka will never be the same. Although there was an adaptation which saw Johnny Depp take on the role as the Candyman, the original classic will always be our favourite.

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka | IMDb

Young Frankenstein (1975)

Wilder is Dr Frederick Frankenstein, the American grandson of that other Frankenstein. He tries to prove that he isn’t as insane as people make him out to be (like his infamous grandfather) and with that he is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers how to bring a dead body back to life. This spoof plays comedic homage to the original classic tale by Mary Shelley in which Wilder himself co-wrote along with Mel Brooks. Dr Frankenstein makes it obvious that he doesn’t want to be connected to his grandfather, (even with his distinguishable American accent) he tries everything he can to refuse that connection – even correcting the pronunciation of his last name so as to not be confused.

Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder as Frederick Frankenstein | IMDb

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) 

Wilder is Dave, a deaf man who meets a blind man called Wally (played by Richard Pryor) after accidentally witnessing the murder of a man. With the police laughing at them and with a target on their backs by the real killers, the duo try to work together to save themselves and bring the real killers to justice. Wilder and Pryor make the ultimate laugh-out-loud pair. With quotes like “Today I threatened to shoot a naked woman with my erection” from Dave and Wally’s “I hear prison isn’t so bad if you like it up the butt” – it’s hard to not laugh at those two on screen trouble makers.

See no Evil Hear no evil
Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder as Wally and Dave | IMDb 

Alice in Wonderland – TV Movie (2000)

Wilder is the Mock Turtle in this TV-film adaption of Alice in Wonderland. Although he makes only a small appearance in the film, his acting and singing is simply beautiful that it lasts throughout its entirety. Alongside the Gryphon (voiced by Donald Sinden), together they sing Will You Won’t Join The Dance and Beautiful Soup with Alice herself (played by Tina Majorino). It’s a memorable few minutes that make you sing along – blissfully unaware of the outside world of reality.

Mock Turtle Alice
Gene Wilder as Mock Turtle | IMDb

Graduation: life changing or just another day?

Attending University can be one of the pinnacle moments in a person’s life. You’ve gone through three or more years of hard work, dedication, sleepless nights and a shit load of alcohol. But here you are, at the final hurdle of student life: Graduation.

Millennial London spoke to several undergraduates who’ve recently graduated about what it was really like for them. From lining up for their cap and gowns to finally walking across that dreaded platform as your name was being read out, carefully trying not to fall over and look like a total idiot. Must be easy right?

Graduation Ceremony at Royal Festival Hall | Alex Clement 

You only really graduate once in a lifetime and it plays a huge part in our lives. We always have some sort of expectation when it comes to what really goes on at a graduation. What are the steps? And how can you picture it before it’s even happened?

“I thought it would be hot, stressful, long and I wouldn’t enjoy it that much” says Jack Leslie, who graduated with a BA in Journalism. “I had been to my sister’s graduation a few days prior, so I had a vague idea of what it’d be like”.

“I assumed it would be more traditional, with inspirational speeches and the whole cliché slow-motion cap toss after which I would feel like a liberated individual” says Laura Grable, a graduate in Public Relations and Advertising. “Although not far from the mark, the actual graduation experience did differ from the more glorified, poetic version I’d had in my head”.

Jack Leslie with Journalism course leader Jim | Jack Leslie 

When it comes to the term graduation, its meaning differs amongst people. “It was the conclusion of this period of my life and my time at university. It’s basically the closing ceremony of your time there” Says Jack. “So I was just thinking of getting it over with”.

Amy Kelly, a recent graduate in Radio Production says “When I thought of graduation, the stereotypical American graduation comes to mind. The massive crowd of people, the mass of students standing around outside posing for photos, and then the throwing of the graduation cap. But when it came to reality it’s quite different”.

“Graduation was like saying, “I was here”, making a marker, moving onwards. The fact of the matter is, life doesn’t stop after graduation and become a chore, life begins. You have all this knowledge and these skills behind you (hopefully) which you can now apply to everyday life” says Laura.

Zynab ML
Zynab Sandhu | Zynab Sandhu

But what matters the most? After spending time thinking of what outfits to wear, how to get to the venue, what restaurants to eat in afterwards? It all boils down to experience and what would the graduates appreciate the most. After all, graduation is a right of passage for some people. So, what advice would they pass down to their fellow undergraduates who will be following in their footsteps?

Jack says to “Go in with a more upbeat attitude and make the most of seeing everyone”.

“Don’t panic” says Amy. “Don’t worry about what you or anyone else is wearing but feel comfortable in your own skin. Feel proud that you’ve finished university”.

Ioana Alazaroae, a recent graduate in Photography and Digital Imaging Technologies says “Don’t be so stressed over your guests being happy, it’s a day in which you’re celebrating something special so enjoy it”.

“Don’t get caught up in the context of the day” says Laura. “Graduation day is for you; it’s a celebration of your hard work. Breathe a sigh of relief and let yourself enjoy the moment. That moment goes by in a flash”.

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Ioana Alazaroae | Ioana Alazaroae 

Graduation takes a toll on anybody attending. The day is a whirlwind of friends, family and a lot (and we mean a lot) of clapping and concentration. But what one thing do these graduates love and appreciate the most? Jack says “Going up on the stage and hearing all my family cheering and shouting. I know it seems silly, but it was a little overwhelming after three years working so hard, to hear their cheers and support. Family is always going to be there for you”.

“When I had my cap and gown fitted beforehand, It felt like a very personal and symbolic moment, perhaps even more than the graduation itself” says Laura. “It’s not every day I have a stranger silently place a heavy cloth on my shoulders and an unusual hat on my head. It felt like I was being crowned, or getting into character before a play”.

Zynab Sandhu, another Journalism graduate says “The moment that I really loved was when we were taking pictures. It makes you feel proud that you’ve achieved something major in your life. Degrees are not easy to get. It marked the end of a chapter, moving on to the next one”.

Laura Grable Graduation png
Laura Grable | Laura Grable 

So what can you expect from your university graduation? Happiness, feeling elevated and being proud of how far you’ve come. Or for it to all finally be over? No more exams, no more deadlines and no more 9am lectures which nobody ever turned up to.

So when it comes to that big day, don’t worry too much about the little things – what to wear, where you should eat afterwards or if your family are getting bored. None of that matters and it shouldn’t be part of the stress you’re already having to face.

Your graduation is exactly that, your graduation. Be proud that you’ve made it this far, all the hard work is out the way. You now have your whole life ahead but this is the part where you decide what to do next.

Graduation is your ticket into adulthood. A new chapter beings and the world is waiting, so what will you do?

Flood | Review

★★★★★ Paper Creatures Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre

Flood is a flawless debut production for Paper Creature Theatre and another hit for Tom Hartwell.

Emily Céline Thomson (Jess), Nathan Coenen (Michael), Jon Tozzi (Adam) and Tom Hartwell (Ben) | @HeadshotToby

While his village is flooding, Adam feels like he’s drowning with it. His mother has just died and all his friends have moved away, closer to the capitol. Everyone is moving on with their new lives, millennials leaving the village in search for a better future. Adam  feels abandoned by his friends and sister. When his friends return to the village for the funeral, secrets are uncovered.

Jon Tozzi (Adam) | @HeadshotToby

Playwright Tom Hartwell creates a wonderfully slick and heartfelt play that flows from scene to scene with characters that feel natural. The comedy drama deals with millennial themes such as how our culture is dominated by viral videos, occupied by the constant use of social media and how it’s made us lazy when it comes to social interactions. As well as all this, the play also touches on how millennials deal with loss and bereavement.

We find ourselves sending condolence messages and birthday wishes over social media which have just as much meaning as poking someone on Facebook. Hartwell seems to be able to tell relatable stories about different aspects and hurdles of millennials’ lives and finds the right tempo and tone with ease, by creating characters that are relatable and real.

Tom Hartwell (Ben) and Molly McGeachin (Laura) |@HeadshotToby

Adam (Jon Tozzi) and Michael (Nathan Coenen) compliment each other well and have a fun character dynamic. Jess (Emily Céline Thomson) brings a slightly more mature note to the play with her  relationship with Michael that is moving forward and developing through the play. Overall, the chemistry between the actors aids the brilliant direction by Georgie Straight.

From the set that looks like floating furniture in a flooded basement, to the swift and creative scene changes, everything in this play works together perfectly and turns this debut production into a must-see for Paper Creatures Theatre.

Flood runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe until 5 August.

Disco Pigs | Review

★★★★☆ Tara Finney Productions, Trafalgar Studios

Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs comes to London for its 20th anniversary and brings a punch of energy and youthfulness.

(c) Alex Brenner
Colin Campbell (Pig) and Evanna Lynch (Runt)| Alex Brenner

John Haidar directs this upbeat, whirlwind of a story that follows Pig (Colin Campbell) and Runt (Evanna Lynch), who are born on the same day, at the same time. They’ve been inseparable ever since, dancing and drinking. They’ve created a world just for the two of them, in which they speak their own language, slang and only follow their own rules. Their friendship almost has a Bonnie and Clyde-esque feel to it, it’s them against the rest of the world, or at least their hometown of Cork. On their 17th birthday however, something changes. They find themselves growing apart.

The production manages to take the audience on the lively and adventurous journey with Pig and Runt through their life in Cork, their own little world with humorous stories and their hopes for the future.

(c) Alex Brenner
Colin Campbell (Pig) and Evanna Lynch (Runt) | Alex Brenner

Evanna Lynch, who is best known for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series, gives such a strong performance as Runt. She shows versatility and skill, switching to other characters in a heartbeat. A shimmer of dreaminess shines through when Runt is dreaming of a different life, away from her home and even her best friend Pig.

Colin Campbell is excellent as the youthful, quite intense Pig. His range of emotion keeps the audience on their toes and surprises them when he shows his true feelings for Runt, something other than just the friendship they clearly have.

(c) Alex Brenner
Colin Campbell (Pig) and Evanna Lynch (Runt) | Alex Brenner

Many things are left to the audience’s imagination. The movements created within the play, with thanks to Naomi Said, plays a big part of the production as it creates the space for the audience to use their own imagination. Wonderfully executed, the lighting is magnificent (Elliot Griggs) and transports the viewer into a 90s disco, with (almost) magical lighting effects.

Disco Pigs runs at Trafalgar Studios until 19 August.