logo

Category : Reviews

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Alice’

By Richard Stewart Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – along with its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There – are two of the best-loved pieces of children’s literature. They are also nonsense. Complete and total nonsense. Sounds perfect for the Youth Group then. Laura Wade’s adaptation keeps the enduring charm of the original, subjecting her Alice to a ‘greatest-hits’ of the tale’s most recognisable moments; the Tweedles, the Caterpillar, the Queen of Hearts all feature, but the script […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘The Pitmen Painters’

By Arthur Rochester Pauline Armour’s determination and patient wait to be able to bring this play to the BLT stage was fully justified by what will surely be remembered as one of the high points of the current season. The play, by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall, tells the true story of a group of coalminers from Ashington in Northumberland who in 1934 organised a Workers’ Education Association course in art appreciation – almost, it seems, by accident: “To be […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Daisy Pulls It Off’

By Julie Binysh ‘Daisy Pulls it Off’s author, Denise Deegan, went to a state school, but she was heavily influenced by the girls’ boarding school stories of Enid Blyton and others. So, whilst her 1983 play is a parody of the genre, it is also a nostalgic celebration of a reading experience of generations of girls (myself included) who attended ordinary ‘elementary’ schools, like our heroine. Daisy Meredith is a poor but clever girl who becomes Grangewood School’s first scholarship […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice’

By Hilary Cordery So of course I’d seen the film of Jim Cartwright’s “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice”, with the fabulous Jane Horrocks in the leading role, so I knew the story: shy, introverted Little Voice (“LV”), still mourning the loss of her father, seeks solace in his old vinyl record collection, listening to the divas of yesteryear, such as Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Edith Piaf, who she can imitate perfectly. When her mother begins dating club […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Compleat Female Stage Beauty’

by Steve Williams  Compleat Female Stage Beauty is a sumptuous, sexy, riotous, fast-paced, bawdy romp set shortly after the Puritans had lost their power and influence. Charles II has just returned to England following his enforced exile in France and is keen to make his mark on history. Unfortunately Ned Kynaston is one of the biggest “losers” in this new and enlightened society. Until then women had been barred from acting, female parts having been hitherto played by “boy actors”. […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Harper Regan’

By Wayne Sheridan The little bit I’d read about Harper Regan suggested to me that it might just be Shirley Valentine goes to Stockport. The reality of Harper was much darker and less quippy than Shirley and it was not afraid to dig into the seedy underbelly of everyday life. The premise is simple; Harper is an everyday working Mum. She gets some bad news and has to return home to attend to her ill father. She goes and returns […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘A Chorus Of Disapproval’

By Paul Campion Apparently, ‘A Chorus of Disapproval’ was the first play Alan Aykbourn wrote on a word processor. It seems appropriate that this very 1980s play (first performed at the National Theatre in 1984) should be created using such an Eighties piece of technology. For while both were regarded as state-of-the-art at the time, they seem like period pieces now. For me (and I stress the ‘for me’, as I know others will disagree) the problem is that when […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘The Elephant Man’

by Mike Savill Many years ago, the film of The Elephant Man made a deep impact on this young cineaste. That ending still moistens the eyes now. Mawkish or otherwise, there is an emotional resonance to the story of the life of John (Joseph) Merrick that was difficult to shake off in terms of colouring one’s expectations of Bernard Pomerance’s theatrical telling of the tale. It is true testament to director Tony Jenner, then, that his version strode boldly from any preconceptions of the […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Crooked Wood’

By Nikki Packham The title Crooked Wood might suggest gothic horror, but there was the doormat at the foot of the stairs, together with upturned flower pots and the sign telling us we were entering the right house. When I walked into the BLT Bar what I saw was a space filled with good, old furniture, topped by a plethora of knick knacks and lamps, some of the latter with threadbare shades, and a wonderful wind-up gramophone. So the scene […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’

by Hilary Cordery Set in Brooklyn, New York, Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs records the life and struggles of an immigrant Jewish family in the 1930s, shortly before the Second World War. The narrative is seen through the eyes of 15-year-old Eugene Jerome (Harrison North). Eugene aspires to be a writer, hence the play’s title. Tensions within the family give Eugene plenty of material for his memoirs, but the play also records Eugene’s own rite of passage as he becomes […]