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London Reviews

Rachael’s Café – Old Red Lion Theatre, London

Writer and director: Lucy Danser Reviewer: Nichola Daunton Lucy Danser’s debut play comes with a rich, factual history attached. Based on the real Rachael’s Café in the small town of Bloomington, Indiana, the play explores the experience of running an all-inclusive café cum arts space from the perspective of its owner, a trans woman named Rachael Jones. Having met Rachael ...

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The Act – Trafalgar Studios 2, London

Writers: Thomas Hescott, Matthew Baldwin Director: Thomas Hescott Reviewer: Karl O'Doherty Does anyone still speak Polari? Can anyone? It was an incredibly important dialect at a time, and now that it doesn't have to be used as a matter of necessity, it can and should be celebrated for being so fantastically outré and interesting. A few words have crossed into ...

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The Nutcracker, Moscow City Ballet – Richmond Theatre, London

Composer:PyotrTchaikovsky Director:VictorSmirnov­-Golanov Reviewer:CavelleLeigh Tchaikovsky'sTheNutcracker,isunfailinglylinkedtothegaietyofChristmas(andfortheeighty's childamongusHomeAlone).NevermindthenthatthisoneisperformedinFebruaryatthe RichmondTheatre,thoughquiteaptly,foraworkbythefamouscomposer,bytheMoscowCity Ballet. IttellsthestoryofyoungClara,whohastheultimateGodfatherinDrosselmeyer.Notonlydoeshe dressupasSantaandspoilherwithtoysatChristmas,hemakesthemcomealive.Cueamagical balletthathasenchantedadultsandchildrenalikeforoveracentury. Inacolourfulfirstscene,oneseesClara(YuliaZhuravleva)andherbrotherFritz(NinoUchava) eagerlyanticipatingChristmasday,duringaChristmasEvepartyheldbytheirfather.Enter'life andsoul'Drosselmeyer(SergeiSaliev)whomightbedescribedasTHEgodfather.Firstdressedas FatherChistmas,thenasamagicianhetreatsClaratotheNutcrackerDoll(thecharmingValeriy Kravtsov),MouseKingDoll(themenacingYaroslavAlekhnovich)andDoll(theplayfulMarina Larina)whomiraculouslyawakenclosetomidnight. Whatshouldunfoldisabewitchingfairytale,yetwhileitisn'twhollydisappointing,thisrather formattedproductionoffersnothingbywayoforiginality.Itretainsatraditionalstylethroughout, whichinitselfnobadthing.Howeveritappearstobesomewhatrepetitive,witheachscene notably similartothelast. Thefirstactisratherchaotic,withperhapstoomanyofthecorpsdeballetpresent forastage restrictedinsize.Unfortunatelytheylackedtheprecisionandsynchronisationonemight expectof suchthishighlyregardedcompany,anddonnedseeminglycheapcostumesthaton occasionwould bebetterplacedinaChristmaspanto. MorepromisewasshowninthesecondactwithiconicscenesliketheLandoftheSnowflakesand theWaltzoftheFlowers.MostenjoyablyistheLandoftheSweetswheretheaudienceis transportedtoArabia,SpainandChinainamedleyofexoticdanceperformedbyEkaterina Tokareva,EkaterinaOdarenko,ElenaKotelkinaandMikharuNishi.Assolo,pasdedeuxorpas detrois,ballerinasoftheMoscowCityBallettrulyshowtheirstrength.TheNutcrackerPrince (KanatNadyrbek),theMouseKing(TalgatKozhabaev),theFlowerFairy(LiliyaOrekhova)and againClara(Zhuravleva)alldisplayedcontrolledandgiftedtechnique,leavingtheimpression oncemorethatthecorpsdeballet,oftenstatic,weresurplustorequirements. Overallthisadaptationleavesoneunaffectedeitherway.OnefeelsthattheMoscowCityBallet hasmuchpotentialbutalittlemorecreativityandperfectionismwouldnotgounrewarded. Runsuntil2nd March (then touring)

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The Knight of the Burning Pestle – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

Writer: Francis Beaumont Director: Adele Thomas Reviewer: Tom Finch It isn't every day that one gets the chance to see a Jacobean meta-theatrical comedy but that is exactly what's on offer at the Globe's stunning new indoor venue, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The much blogged complaints of sore bums caused by the wooden benches have clearly been listened to and ...

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I Wish I Was Lonely – Battersea Arts Centre, London

Writers &Directors: Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe Reviewer: Joanna Trainor “If I can’t miss you, I can’t love you.” Examining the technological culture of the modern world has never been quite so poignant, thought-provoking and hilarious all in a 70 minute slot. From horse haikus, to Alexander Fleming, to life-changing lines, rarely has an audience had to think so ...

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I Do, – Hilton Hotel Docklands, London

Creators: Daphna Attias, Terry O’Donovan Writer: Chloe Moss Director: Daphna Attias Reviewer: Nichola Daunton First performed as part of the Almeida Festival in August 2013, Dante or Die’s site-specific work I Do takes its audience on a journey through six hotel rooms on the morning of a wedding. Divided into six groups with the help of coloured paper roses, the ...

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Versailles – Donmar Warehouse, London

Writer/Director: Peter Gill Reviewer: Alex Ramon The last play to be directed by Peter Gill at the Donmar was Robert Holman’s Making Noise Quietly, a triptych of war-themed, decades-spanning mini-dramas. Now, in this 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of WWI, with a multitude of books, docs and revivals centering on the conflict, Gill returns to the subject of war ...

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Ghost Stories – Arts Theatre, London

Writers: Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson Directors: Jeremy Dyson, Sean Holmes and Andy Nyman Reviewer: Scott Matthewman "Please keep the secrets of *Ghost Stories*," implores a tannoy announcement at the end of Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman's show. What is no secret is the production's undoubted success, from its first days at the Liverpool Playhouse, to a record-breaking 13-month run ...

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