Something Else: (“and now for ______ entirely different”)

Open Barn Productions present Renae Mae Miller’s sharp new absurdist play Something Else at the John Cooper Studio @ 41 Monkgate as part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe. This striking and vehement fifty-minute script serves an enigmatic cocktail of paracetamol fever dreams, indiscernible package beach holidays and age-old hurts. Continue reading

Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I Know It

Comedian Eliott Simpson brings his show (a)sexy and I Know It to the Great Yorkshire Fringe prior to a run at the Edinburgh Fringe next month. The (a) is aptly placed, as Simpson’s show centres around his asexuality, and society’s response to this oft forgotten and misunderstood minority. Continue reading

Impromptu Shakespeare: or, What You Will [throw into the bard’s britches]

Jennifer Jordan, Charlie Sturgeon and Jules Munns burst onto the John Cooper Studio stage in stock Elizabethan breeches, shirts and silly moustaches following an epic, Hollywood-planetarium style opening voiceover documenting Dustin Hoffman’s frustration with Shakespeare’s words; namely, “‘You can’t improvise this s***’… This one’s for you, Dustin.” Continue reading

Any Suggestions, Doctor? The Improvised Doctor Who Parody: red, blue and white all over

Any Suggestions Improv present their smash hit Fringe comedy Any Suggestions, Doctor? The Improvised Doctor Who Parody, taking their who, where and title from the audience and their atmosphere and fanbase from the everlasting cult classic Doctor Who. A die is rolled to determine which performer will assume the role of the eponymous Doctor, locations are hurled from the auditorium to the stage, and an episode title is drawn from a fez. Continue reading

Bad Girls The Musical: appropriately disturbing

Set in a British women’s prison, Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus’ now-thirteen-year-old musical adaptation of their own ITV series returns to York, this time storming the stage at John Cooper Studio on Monkgate, presented with jubilation by local amateur production company NE Musicals. Continue reading

Austentatious: a folly universally acknowledged

A lithe ensemble cast consisting of comedy stars one can readily summon on YouTube takes the stage at the Grand Opera House York to present the West End smash hit improvised “lost Jane Austen novel” in Austentatious, as part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe. Continue reading

Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: clowns in love

If Hamlet is the prince of the domestic Scandi thriller, Twelfth Night is the king and queen of the upper-class rom-com. Finishing off Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre press run with a bang, the Gala night performance of this classic comedy of mistaken identities plays to a house full of bodies, beer and hormones. Following a heartfelt speech about the project in its entirety from originator James Cundall MBE, the evening sets off on its raucous voyage. Continue reading

Henry V at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: we happy few

Directed by Gemma Fairlie (New Vic, Circomedia, Lyric Hammersmith) and starring Maggie Bain (Black Mirror, The End of the F*****g World), the third press performance at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is famous history play Henry V. Fairlie quotes of Jonathan Bate in her director’s note: “national identity is shaped by defining moments, usually involving bloodshed.” And it is our complicated relationship to patriotism that defines this simple, potent retelling. Continue reading

The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: Do you love me, master?

Directed by Philip Franks (The Darling Buds of May), The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is a bright, blustery pageant in which playful spectacle is winds ahead of the meandering story. Surrounding the incredibly dark and uncomfortable anti-hero of the abusive slave-master Prospero (played surprisingly by the soft-eyed Sam Callis) is a flurry of soft-dappled light affecting romantic underwater magic, (designed by Paul Pyant) and rousing punk folk music that Gogol Bordello would enjoy (composition by Christopher Madin). Completed with colourful costume by Adrian Linford and movement direction by Simeon John-Wake, the production serves as a showcase for its delightfully talented ensemble cast. Continue reading

Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: One may smile, and smile, and be a villain

We all know this solemn tale of revenge guest starring the skull of “Poor Yorick” back to front, right? And yet somehow, the production team behind Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre manage to bring fresh mischief and flair to the most quoted and studied play ever written. It’s so easy to misread Hamlet as a dry, drawn tale of woe and dwelling, to stuff these clever “words, words, words” into a dusty artefact in your mind’s eye and leave them there for academics to fuss over. But that would be doing yourself, and the play, a great disservice. Continue reading