Reviews & features: Theatre, Paul Dale

12 reviews

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Rock

7 Aug 20124 stars

Rabid account of US punk movement from one man and a cellist

Long before Kurt Cobain moved to Seattle, sold his ass and lost his soul, the clouds of the American punk rock movement were gathering, rumbling and occasionally transcending. From the poetic beat riffs of Gregory Corso through to the narcotic and…

Ma Biche et Mon Lapin

6 Aug 20123 stars

A quirky French comedy from Collectif Aie Aie Aie

Like escapees from a Jean-Pierre Jeunet and/or Marc Caro film (Delicatessen/Amelie/Micmacs), Julien Mellano and Charlotte Blin are craft store silent vaudeville eccentrics; Gallic bunraku doll puppet handlers with no puppets but a whole load of mutant…

Bette and Joan - The Final Curtain

23 Aug 20114 stars

Witty other-worldly ode to Hollywood starlets

It’s 1989 and Bette Davis, betrayed by kith and kin, lies alone and dying. Her nemesis Joan Crawford arrives to guide her to the other side, and then the fireworks begin. Foursight Theatre’s witty and inventive deconstruction of the relationship between…

New World Order

21 Aug 20084 stars

Neo-conspiracy crimes, Shakespearean-style

Fringe acclaimed over the last two years for Love Labours Won, West Yorkshire writer, director and performer Ryan JW Smith returns with a much more bitter pill. Smith loves Shakespeare. His is the cut'n'paste approach to the bard; his conceit here is…

Another Kind of Silence

21 Aug 20084 stars

Enviromentalist writer brought to compelling life

If the environmental movement in the US has a progenitor and figurehead it is marine biologist and nature writer Rachel Carson. Her writing and research in the late 1950s/early 1960s brought attention to the then unfashionable issue of conservation…

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Foreskins Lament

21 Aug 20082 stars

This dodgy production of New Zealand playwright Greg McGee's landmark 1980 play is played out in the locker room of a local rugby club changing room. A couple of really appalling performances and some less than inspired direction derail things. Still at…

St Nicholas

14 Aug 20084 stars

All theatre critics are bloodsucking scum

Conor McPherson was clearly settling old scores when he wrote St Nicholas in 1997. Like many of his earliest plays, it’s a monologue and tall tale. This one is told by a successful Dublin theatre critic, a self professed ‘hack and a drunkard’. Bitter…

More Lives than One – Oscar Wilde and the Black Douglas

14 Aug 20083 stars

Taking inspiration from Micheál MacLiammóir’s legendary one-man show The Importance of Being Oscar, veteran thesp Leslie Clark takes a less sycophantic view of Wildean times. This is illuminating stuff. Clark commandeers the audience, but (among other…

Weights

7 Aug 20084 stars

A see and eye shotgun tale

Poet, playwright, actor and former judo champion Lynn Manning knows all about loss. Raised in penury in California, Manning lost his parents to the bottle and his siblings to the foster care system. Then in 1978, aged 23, Manning lost his sight in a…

Lucidity

7 Aug 20081 star

Imagine One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest adapted by the kids from Skins, but worse. Hysteria is the order of the day when suicidal posh nob nihilist Julian gets sectioned. Stock characters are wheeled out, while Oliver James' Affluenza is filtered…

Time Bomb

7 Aug 20082 stars

It's 2017 and Westminster wants to go nuclear on Iran, but MP Victoria Clarke and her middle English family hold a secret that could change the vote forever. There's some nice ideas about where the personal and apocalyptic meet in Tim Burton's one-act…

The Open Couple

7 Aug 20084 stars

This re-improvised restaging of Dario Fo and Franca Rame's superb, oft overlooked 1983 two-hander is a delight. Though too young for their roles (Fo and Rame played them in their 50s), Stuart Brennan and Jennifer Dean are brilliantly convincing as the…