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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 12.23.26
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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 12.23.03
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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 12.23.51
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.

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

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.

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.

The Circle | Review 

★★☆☆☆ The Circle, Imagine Nation Abu Dhabi & Likely Story & Playtone 

This techno-thriller fails to keep us wanting more. The combination of actors such as Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega gives us all kinds of hope for a triumphant film, which sadly gets shattered.

The circle 2017
The Circle Official Poster |

Its sudden release onto Netflix this July sparked an interest as to why it barely made it into British cinemas. At first it was intriguing. Technology, mystery and Emma Watson. What was not to love? Now that Harry Potter is a thing of the past and Beauty and the Beast has had it’s 15 minutes of fame; this could be the next big thing. Your heart sank the moment you realised it was never going to be this great techno-thriller you thought it was going to be.

Mae gets a job at The Circle with thanks to her friend Annie (played by Karen Gillian). From the steps of a boring job at a water company to the doors of The Circle, Mae is ecstatic and couldn’t be happier. Mr Bailey (played by Tom Hanks) is co-founder of The Circle and soon takes a shine to Mae and invests his time and effort into pursuing a better world with her help. Things take a turn for the worse but with such minimal effort. 

In an age where technology has grasped everyone’s interest and the use of social media is forever constant, The Circle’s aim is to engage the audience and to think about the use of technology and its consequences. How much information can one store? What actually is privacy and do we really have it? So many questions yet hardly any answers are given within the film. It’s thought provoking yes, but only at rare moments.

Mae Holland (played by Emma Watson) and her totally fake American accent is humorous. You can’t help but laugh a little as soon as her mouth opens in the first few minutes. It doesn’t suit the beloved British actress. Its feeling of fakeness is a letdown but you have to give her credit for trying.

Sadly, two of its finer actors are lost to us. The death of actors Bill Paxton and Glenne Headley before and after this film was released was truly shocking. Paxton played Mae’s father, Vinnie who suffers from MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and his wife Bonnie is played by Headley. Both these actors worked beautifully together and the scenes that gave us the real emotions always had the two together, along with their daughter Mae. Each scene that saw the couple struggling to do mundane things like eat food or go to the bathroom or even have sex felt raw and pulled at the heartstrings. You forget for a moment about the film’s main plot, and you simply focus on the reality of home life for Mae. How it’s about family and how it can be about nothing else.

Its pace is slow at first and the storyline pretty much non-existent. However, It’s a thought provoking film at times, which makes you think a little too hard. In some parts throughout it can be difficult to keep up as It goes from 0 to 60 in such a short space of time. You think to yourself ‘have I missed something?’ The film simply lacks suspense and disappoints thoroughly.

An American and The Cursed Child

London has millions of visitors every year, a fair amount of them see at least one West End show. Here’s what an American Harry Potter fan thought of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

By Lori Gilchrist

Lori Gilchrist just before she stepped into the Palace Theatre | Sarah Louhichi

To be fair, I’ve read the Harry Potter books twice, seen every film multiple times, own the DVD’s and have joined Pottermore – All hail Ravenclaw and Thunderbird. That being said I was angry when Albus was put into Slytherin House in the book version of the play. So I’ve got some bias, I’ll admit that. But I was excited to see the play, though not sure if I’d really like it. It had a lot to live up to especially after paying premium prices at the theatre for premium seats (row D, seat 9). With this play, the theatre doesn’t allow scalpers (‘second-hand ticket broker’) tickets and if you’re lucky enough to find tickets from ATG or Nimax last minute, you take what you can get, pray for the Friday 40 or go home empty handed. £250 is a lot of money for one play. But was it worth it?

Lori Gilchrist before the Part 1 | Sarah Louhichi

In a word the play is “Awesome” and definitely worth the money. Being close to the stage I was able to see facial expressions and even Harry’s scar. The staging was inventive and surprising. Today a lot of plays and musicals use a single set and the viewer is expected to use their imagination. Not here, the staging reflected the flavour of the Potterverse. Without giving anything away, there’s definitely magic and love in this production.

I’m not familiar with English stage actors, but had seen Alex Price in Father Brown previously. For Americans, sometimes we have problems with West End productions due to unfamiliarity with the different accents and dialects and therefore lose some of the meaning of the play. I had no issues here; it’s very understandable. And for those lacking in Potter knowledge, the story isn’t hard to follow.

You could tell that the cast was respectful and loved the characters they played. The acting was just right, though sometimes I felt Anthony Boyle (playing Scorpius) was a little over the top, but he won me over by Part II. The actors playing Ginny (Poppy Miller), Hermione (Noma Dumezweni), Harry (Jamie Parker) and Draco (Alex Price) reflected the adult characters perfectly, showing the imperfections of adulthood and the doubt of parenthood. Sam Clemmett (playing young Albus Potter) played the bratty little brother we sometimes wish we didn’t have. Real emotions, rationales and actions were exhibited here. If you took away the magical bits, the basic story would still work.

New York gets the play in 2018 but when it will come to Los Angeles, who knows? So if you’re coming to London and you love a good story, I strongly suggest you book tickets when you’re booking your airfare. I wasn’t disappointed. All Hail Cursed Child.

Imagine Dragons @ Roundhouse | Review

★★★★★ Imagine Dragons, Roundhouse

For one night only, Imagine Dragons were back and this time they performed at London’s Roundhouse. The evening of 7 June came and things were getting intense. Time ticked on and it soon came to be 9pm, call time for the band yet there was nothing.

Finally, twenty minutes later, as the four-piece from Las Vegas were about to come on, the staging was set and things started to take its shape. A spectacular vision of pink smoke filled the stage as the music for Thunder started to play, taken from their new album Evolve which is due to be released 23 June.

Imagine Dragons | Alex Clement
Imagine Dragons | Alex Clement

The last time they toured the UK was back in 2015 with the release of their second album Smoke + Mirrors. Lead singer Dan Reynolds was his usual charismatic self, talking about how all music is simply made up of “peace and love”. He even dedicated their performance of It’s Time to the tragic horrors of the Manchester Attack.

Imagine Dragons | Alex Clement
Imagine Dragons | Alex Clement
Imagine Dragons | Alex Clement

With applauses and waves of cheering spreading throughout the venue, the band carried on through the night with tracks such as Gold, Whatever it Takes, On Top of the world, I Bet My Life, Amsterdam, Hear Me, Demons and even a cover of Creep and a snippet of Bleeding Out.

Imagine Dragons | Alex Clement

Some songs were unfortunately left out – favourites like Friction, The Fall, Roots and Thief. Each song built up the tension and excitement within the audience. They all went wild to each beat, each melody, each song.

Imagine Dragons’ next tour will be announced soon after the release of Evolve on 23 June.


Alice’s Adventures Underground|review

★★★★★ Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults

Alice’s Adventures Underground is an unmissable production that has created the most imaginative way of telling a story.

ALICE'S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND. Richard Holt 'Hatter' and Philippa Hogg 'March Hare'. ©Rah Petherbridge Photography
Alice’s Adventures Underground | Alex Gilbert

Upon arrival, it feels like walking into a different, whimsical world. Before the performance has even started, you find yourself in awe by the creative design and themed (and strong!) cocktails. Once the journey begins, it’s up to you where it will lead. Alice’s Underground Adventure is unlike anything I’ve seen at The Vaults.

Instead of watching the story unfold right in front of you, you’re part of it and not only that, it’s like stepping into it and you decide where the adventure will take you. Depending on what route you choose, either shrink by taking a drink or grow by having a sweet, you steer your journey through Wonderland.

The Queen of Hearts has turned so evil, chopping off people’s heads for anything. An underground group grows and tries to ignite a revolution…Will you be part of the secret revolution? Or will you be on the Queen’s side?

Be wary that if you’ve come with someone you might not end up with them, as groups are split throughout the production. This is done by picking a playing card and depending on the suit you have chosen, you have to complete a different secret mission.

ALICE'S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND. Philippa Hogg 'Alice'. ©Rah Petherbridge Photography
Alice in Alice’s Adventures Underground | Alex Gilbert

The design and details are the most interesting thing about this immersive production. You could go several times and still find new things and discover details about this incredible underground world that you haven’t seen before. Besides the creative set up, the actors (or interactors) are the other wonderful thing. Not only do they stay in character the whole time, they also interact incredibly well with the audience. They have an off-the-cuff humour and the talent to improvise, which you find endearing.

Another amazing thing is that the cast switches roles, so if you come twice you’re likely to see different people play different characters. Combined with the different story lines, it’s possible to go several times and still experience something completely new.

by Al Overdrive
Alice’s Adventures Underground | Alex Gilbert

The best part about this adventure is that you’ll actually feel like you’re part of it, you’re making a difference in the story. It’s almost heartbreaking leaving the characters and Wonderland behind. The intricate details of the production won’t leave your mind, even after leaving the venue.

Alice’s Adventures Underground runs at The Vaults until 23 September 2017