Freud: The Musical by Natasha Sutton-Williams at the Kings Head Theatre

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A force of energy that made you wonder if what she was snorting was actually cocaine, Natasha Sutton-Williams has created a hilarious and disturbing musical account of the life of Sigmund Freud.

Set in his office, we are introduced to Natasha’s eccentric version of the famous Austrian psychologist, a host of his patients and his cat, Oedipussy – who has quite a significant place in Sigmund’s life. He tries to stay in control of his life, forgetting to charge his patients and whizzing through a kilo of the white stuff, while steadily developing the theories that marked him as the father of psychoanalysis, namely his ‘Oedipus complex’.

Natasha Sutton-Williams is an electrifying performer, bringing several different characters to life throughout the production. Her Sigmund was delightful. Responsible for not only performing this farcical Freudian biography, she also composed the music and wrote the show. Singing a range of ridiculous songs, accompanied by pianist, Phil Blandford, she showed that she has a strong and beautiful voice too.

This show was filled with gags, outrage, and lots of cocaine. Sadly it has finished at the Kings Head Theatre, but if it comes back, be sure to check it out!

Highlight of the piece – Sigmund’s psychoanalysis of little Hans, discovering they both want to kill their fathers and make love to their mutters – “Everyone does!” A hysterical and highly likely portrayal of this light bulb moment.

WIGS 4/5

Macbeth by Prowl Theatre Company at the Courtyard Theatre

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Prowl Theatre Company have brought an exciting new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the Courtyard Theatre. It is definitely worth checking out…

Having cut the original play text down considerably, the story of the ambitious general sparkles into life with the three lively witches proclaiming their prophecy. The tale shoots through King Duncan’s death, really taking hold in the second half of the production as we witness Macbeth and his wife’s rapid descent. Banquo’s ghostly return and Macduff’s pain at the murder of his family power this piece to it’s finale and Macbeth’s ultimate demise.

A fantastic ensemble cast brought this piece to life, with great performances throughout. Sophie Spreadbuy brought a great intensity to her Lady Macbeth, whilst Tom Durant-Pritchard did a tremendous job as the doomed King. Joe Stuckey performed with an ease and naturalism as Banquo, whilst Helene Kosem had a great power about her witch.

This is a young theatre company shaking things up in the world of Shakespeare. They did not need any set to tell this tale, and why should you? They created the perfect atmosphere with the lighting and their movement around the stage and audience, creating a ferocious energy to this highly charged production. Tom Durant-Pritchard and Edward Nash have done a great job directing this piece.

This was swift but present Shakespeare performed by a very talented bunch of young actors. Catch it at the Courtyard before it closes on 27th August.

Highlight of the piece – Banquo’s bloody return…

WIGS 4/5

Adventures of Tracey Tracey by Bezoomny Theatre at Camden Comedy Club

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The loveable yet sad Tracey Tracey was the host for our second helping of Camden Fringe theatre. Performed at the Camden Comedy Club, this was another helping of Gaulier trained comedy.

Tracey Tracey is celebrating her birthday, although she has no one to share it with, except her imaginary friends that is, and her audience. She imagines all sorts of scenarios including performing as Beyonce, celebrating a wild birthday party and going on dates, all the while avoiding the fact that she is clearly friendless and lonely.

This was another example of what these particular Gaulier graduates are great at. Presenting an outwardly funny story, that is actually rather sad on the inside. We were chuckling throughout however, at Tracey Tracey’s entire character, her accent and her look. Then there was her interpretation of a makeup tutorial resulting in a face covered with custard… Performed by Nicola Cross, this show was equally funny and heartbreaking and was great entertainment for a Sunday afternoon.

These clowns are at it again. Look out for Bezoomny Theatre in Edinburgh and elsewhere throughout the year. Certainly look out for Tracey Tracey though. She deserves your love. Maybe you would like to take her on a date as well?

Highlight of the show – Tracey Tracey asking us for wine advice…

WIGS 4/5

Unreachable by Anthony Neilson at The Royal Court

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Amanda Drew (Anastasia), Jonjo O’Neill (The Brute) and Richard Pyros (Carl) in Unreachable, ©Tristram Kenton 

The playwright Anthony Neilson is a very interesting creative. Coming to his first rehearsal with just an idea, he builds his show from the ground up working laterally around the idea with his actors. Because of this, little was known about ‘Unreachable’ before it opened. What we did know, however, was that ‘light’ is crucial thanks to one of the many videos released in tandem with the rehearsal process that offered some clues about the show.

A troubled but brilliant film director, Maxim, is trying to shoot the follow up to his Palme d’or winning film. He is a moody and difficult character who has never known his parents. He creates obstacles in everything he does and it is left to his producer, Anastasia, to lift his mood and massage his ego in order to keep his films on track. Maxim stalls the shoot constantly due to the absence of a particular ‘light’ he wants for shooting. And so the film is thrown into chaos as the producer tries to keep it altogether. In addition to these two characters are the Director of Photography, someone representing some new producers who have been brought in to inject funding to the project, the leading lady and an outrageous late casting.

This show was hilarious and had the audience roaring and clapping their approval throughout. Matt Smith was wonderful as the ‘Director’ playing the troubled artiste with a sense of entitlement and fragility brilliantly suited to his character. Amanda Drew played the hard-balling producer very well, whilst Genevieve Barr did a great job as the representative of the new producers. Richard Pyros had us roaring with laughter as a slightly eccentric but meek D.O.P. His short shorts and pulled-up socks complimented his ridiculous metaphors and natural humour. Tamara Lawrance played the seemingly emotionally blank actress. However, when she performed scenes from the film she was extremely moving. Finally Jonjo O’Neill made a spectacular contribution to this show with his over the top eastern european Ivan ‘The Brute’. His arrival out of a tiny box was hysterical and was followed by a hilarious rant about the troubles he had overcome.

There were so many details that added to the tremendous comedy generated by these actors that were made all the more impressive by its improvisational nature. This required the actors to hold back their own laughter, often as a result of Ivan. The most memorable moment was the tale of his father’s allotment, which meant a lot to him… This had Genevieve really struggling to hold back her laughter. This was a real pleasure to see, as we at the GingerWig & StrollingMan love to see actors having fun.

Eventually Maxim found his light. Light always follows dark… But it was his struggle framed by this brilliant ensemble comedy that really made this show. Anthony Neilson really is a genius. It’s a shame we cannot see this piece again. It changed every night.

Highlight of the piece – the comedic flair of the actors.

WIGS 4/5

 

The Collector by Mark Healy at The Vaults

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Another adventure into The Vaults presented us with Mark Healy’s adaptation of John Fowles, ‘The Collector’. In one of the many archways we sat down in front of a cluttered cellar that was to be the setting of the show.

Frederick is a strange man: he collects butterflies. Not that that makes him strange, it is what else he wishes to collect… Raised by his aunt and cousin, his life changes when he wins the lottery. With his winnings he buys a remote cottage and then sets about acquiring his next collectable – a girl he has been stalking.

This was a fascinating two hander made all the more intriguing by the nature of each character. Frederick was slightly simple and unable to understand basic cultural mores, yet at no point was he physically violent or sexual towards Miranda. He just wanted her to love him, an impossible task for Miranda. For her part, she tries her best to make do with her situation, but is not able to not stop herself from berating Frederick for his simple view of life and his confused morals. Lily Loveless was very good in this role, jumping between the character’s emotions brilliantly, whilst Daniel Portman as Frederick was sinister but also slightly endearing at times, generating a creepily uneasy atmosphere.

This was a really gripping piece of theatre, set brilliantly and performed very well by two young actors. Catch it at The Vaults until 28th of August.

Highlight of the piece – the consequences of the wine on the last night leading to an intense scene.

WIGS 4/5

Radiator by Madeleine Bye at the Tristan Bates Theatre

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The Camden Fringe is sure to throw up some original new theatre in London and this was no exception from Ecole Philippe Gaulier graduates, Bezoomney Theatre.

A girl is alone in her house. Waiting for her shopping to be delivered and answering the door should be a straightforward scenario, but for her, this is not the case. She drinks tea, she has lots of different teas, and sorts out her hair before starting to talk to her radiator. She plays games with it and tells it lots of things all of which is rather amusing. However, clearly all is not well with Susan…

The overriding theme of this show was mental illness and, in particular, social anxiety. Julia Masli was brilliant as Susan, trying desperately to overcome her anxiety. Her facial expressions and movements were laden with an angsty uneasy curiosity that made this character completely believable. Writer and director Madeleine Bye has created a very different piece of theatre here that goes inside the head of someone suffering from this condition. Superficially, it would be easy to interpret a talking radiator as a piece of surrealism. Sadly, this is someone’s reality. Humorous, bizarre and completely off the wall at times, this piece of theatre put us face to face with the everyday hurdles that people with mental illness encounter.

This was completely original theatre from some up and coming theatre makers. Get down to Tristan Bates Theatre before it closes this Saturday 6th August to see it for yourself…

Highlight of the piece – snakes and ladders with a radiator…

WIGS 4/5