4 Stages – Fringe Theatre Review

The play 4 Stages ( by BC Allen) at the Bread and Roses Theatre is directed by Natasha Kathi-Chandra and centres around 3 characters, Alex (Andre Skeete), Ben (Brett Allen) and Cat ( Natasha Redhead) on their monthly games night. It’s presented in four parts which represent four separate nights spread throughout one particular calendar year. Ben and Alex interview each other over the four nights about how and where they grew up and as the nights go on there are some startling revelations which lead to some very frank discussions along the way.

‘ Two best friends Ben and Alex, who grew up together, now in their 40’s, meet every last Sunday of the month for ‘Games Night’. They are from different backrounds but are as close and tight as brothers. Ben has recently had a child with his partner Cat.’

This theatre is extremely intimate and is set with seats on opposite sides with the ‘set’ in the middle dressed as a room in Ben and Cat’s home which works perfectly as they use the exit door as their door to the rest of the ‘house’. With the space being small it enhances the feeling of being a ‘fly on the wall’ overlooking events unfolding in these characters lives. Each night is cleverly separated in a way that you know the story is moving on and yet works perfectly in the small space they have with regarding the set.

I want this to be a no spoiler review as I think that adds to the shocking revelation in the third part of the play where the whole thing takes on a very different feel. Up until then it really does feel like three old friends who are completely comfortable with each other as family would be. There’s typical lads banter between the two longstanding friends and that creates laugh out loud moments throughout. Ben comes up with the idea of recording an interview style chat to discuss where and how they grew up highlighting the fact they are from very different backrounds and yet are still as close as family.

This essentially, in this day and age, could be anyone’s story which is why when the play takes a shocking turn it hits home hard. This is definitely an emotional ride. The fact that they have been talking about how they grew up, their family backrounds ( which touches on racism) and also the strength of their friendship means that you are  completely invested in their lives by the time the sucker punch comes!

It then centres around the extremely frank and tough discussions that anyone in this position must have to have with the people closest to them when in this situation. It doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff and creates a thought provoking feeling of ‘what if’. It’s well portrayed and naturally acted and completely draws you in to their story, which is why it becomes a tough watch the further it goes on.

This play is only running until 26th Oct at the Bread and Roses Pub Theatre in Clapham Manor St, SW4.

I would urge you if you are a fan of real life and hard hitting drama to get tickets. It has a running time of 1 Hr 15 with no interval and tickets are £12 / £10 concessions.

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DIRECTOR: Natasha Kathi-Chandra

PRODUCED BY: Brett Allen, Andrew Braidford, Patricia Allen

LIGHTING DESIGN & PRODUCTION MANAGER: Glenford Barnes

SET DESIGN: Gareth Johnson

ASST DIRECTOR: Amber Sinclair-Case

 

Gutted – Fringe Theatre review

Gutted is a black comedy that is set in a fish factory in 1980’s Dublin written by Sharon Byrne and directed by Chris White. It explores the lives of three strong women who are friends through working in the same dead end job, and yet all have dreams of something bigger and better than what their lives are at the moment.

The stage is sparsely set with nothing but a plain white backdrop with strip lighting, standing lamps and ceiling lights, however, the lights are cleverly linked and used as extra characters throughout and this is incredibly well presented. The story is told in interlinking comic monologue from the three women Deidre ( Niamh Finlay), Delores ( Sarah Hosford) and Breda (Eleanor Byrne) covering just one particular night of their lives.

It is Irish storytelling at its best with comedy concealing a powerful undertone of hurt and heartache that is hinted at throughout. It’s raw and relatable and immediately transported me back to my teenage years with the girls singing excerpts of some songs of the time – notably Tainted Love (oh the memories!) and yet tainted love can totally sum up the underlying theme of the play.

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At Last at Lion and Unicorn Theatre – Fringe Theatre Review

I’ve had a lot of firsts for me this year on the blog and now I can add Fringe Theatre to that list.

When someone says Fringe Theatre what do you think?

I literally had no clue what to expect when I was invited along with another theatre lover to the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in the Kentish Town area of London to see the production of At Last by Proforca Theatre Company, written by James Lewis and Alexander Knott and directed by David Brady.

 

The pub itself looks as though it has been quite newly refurbished and was inviting and welcoming inside. The theatre is upstairs and reminded me of my son’s blacked out school drama theatre, so think small and intimate and as a guesstimate there was about 45 of us there last night (give or take a few). So it was a sold out performance.

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Review- Buck Buck Games – The Hunt for the Smoking Caterpillar

I was recently invited to attend the new immersive theatre game, The Hunt for the Smoking Caterpillar, by Buck Buck Games in their residency at The Owl and the Hitchhiker pub on Holloway Road, London.

I’ve never really attended anything immersive theatre related, or escape room related before so I literally had no idea what I was walking into, but the Buck Buck Games website describe it as ‘ Our event games and characters combine escape rooms, immersive theatre and murder mystery with fun fuelled challenges’ so I thought I would take my husband along for unique evening out!

The pub itself is a complete hidden treasure in, it’s quirkiness is apparent as soon as you walk in ( it has hairdryers all hanging from the ceiling above the bar!). It has a table tennis table around the back of the bar and there were a group of people playing card games at one of the tables and a couple in one of the booth seating areas playing monopoly……….so not your typical pub in any sense. They have a great menu ( our plan was to eat before we played but unfortunately the traffic was not on our side that evening and we didn’t have enough time) including an extensive vegan selection, and although we didn’t get the chance to eat, the food that was coming out of the kitchen looked very good.

Anyway, on to the games. As we arrived and got a drink we could see more groups turning up and congregating at the bottom of the stairs were the games were advertised.

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