Quick Q&A: Murder On The Dancefloor

Where and when: Pleasance Islington, October 11-13, 8pm

What it’s all about… Murder on the Dancefloor is a black comedy about dysfunctional families and the housing crisis which explores themes of friendship, family and isolation in relation to wider socio-political narratives; namely the ruthless job market, ever-rising house prices and the drive for financial security.

It’s fast-paced, explosive, award-winning physical theatre that unravels at breakneck pace with a totally absurd and farcical ending!

You’ll like it if… this show is for anyone with a dark sense of humour or who enjoys playful, devised physical theatre. The play resonates with anyone who feels that the reality of owning a home is impossible, a feeling most London-born youngsters can relate to!

You should see it because… Spies Like Us have just got back from a smash hit Edinburgh run where the show was well-received by critics receiving an array of 5* and 4* reviews. This might be the last time we perform Murder On The Dancefloor for a while so catch it while you can!

“Physical Theatre at its high-octane best” **** Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Anything else we should know…: Spies Like Us are one of New Diorama Theatre’s Graduate Emerging Companies 19-20.

Where to follow:
Twitter: @SpiesLikeUs_

Book here: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/murder-dancefloor-0#overview

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Quick Q&A: Him Indoors

Where and when: 9:45pm, 19th and 20th October, The Pleasance Theatre Islington

What it’s all about… Him Indoors is a new female-led absurd comedy horror written by multi-award winning comedienne Cheekykita (a.k.a. Sonja Doubleday). Think The Mighty Boosh meets The Wicker Man, with eels. But the eels are demons. And they’re inside a northern girl who looks a bit like the exorcist, but with a better sense of humour.

In the quaint Northern town of Tittitutar, something’s not quite right, and a very serious journalist is determined to get to the bottom of it. A scary spooky girl has a small man inside her, so they say. A tiny little man trapped in her belly. Don’t believe it? Meet the town’s many strange inhabitants, and find out for yourself…

You’ll like it if… you enjoy absurdity, clowning, dancing cats plushies, and lots of bizarre and wonderful characters. It’s a laugh-out-loud, absurd comedy horror play, attracting alt-comedy fans, feminist theatre-goers, and horror-heads alike.

You should see it because… it’s all the unique elements of Funny Women regional finalist Cheekykita’s (a.k.a. writer-performer Sonja Doubleday’s) stand-up characters in a play format, given space to break the fourth-wall and breathe. Warning: some of them have asthma. London Horror Fest is getting a comedy makeover, and it’s glorious.

Manchester born and bred, OUTSTANDING SHOW AWARD [Fringe Review] winning comedienne Cheekykita presents a ‘Heavy-metal female comedy with Gothic overtones… Genius.’ ★★★★★ Lynne Parker, Funny Women, alongside acerbically witty Nina Atesh (multi-roling a miserable waitress, American redneck, nosy neighbour, ‘Scouser’, and silent boom operator) and Tiberious Chris (the journalist).

Anything else we should know…: Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/wOf0As3iRmQ

Where to follow:
Twitter: @cheekykita1 and @LndnHorrorFest
Instagram: @cheekykita1

#himindoors #LndnHorrorFest

Book here: www.pleasance.co.uk/event/london-horror-festival-him-indoors#overview

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Review: Call Me Vicky at The Pleasance

Based on a true story, Call Me Vicky is the debut play from sisters Nicola and Stacey Bland, following Vicky (Matt Greenwood) – born Martin – in her fight to transition and become the woman she’s always known herself to be. With the support of a loving circle of friends and family, she’s been scraping together the money for her op by working at Soho drag club The Golden Girl, which for all its seediness is one of the few places she can truly be herself free of judgment. Because this is London in the 1980s, and the wider society in which Vicky lives is far less accepting.

Photo credit: Fabio Santos

This warm, witty one-act play is often a lot of fun (there’s a hilarious drag routine that has to be seen to be believed) but don’t be fooled, it’s also a brutally honest account of Vicky’s world and the challenges she has to overcome just to be herself. Drugs, prostitution, prejudice and shocking violence all feature prominently – in fact, the only thing that’s glamorous about this story is Vicky’s fabulous outfits. Matt Greenwood is excellent in the lead role, capturing the character’s sassiness and defiance but also her intense vulnerability, and her generosity; despite her own problems, Vicky never loses sight of the fact that those around her may be struggling too, and her relationship with Stacey Bland’s troubled single mum Gabby is particularly moving.

Among universally strong performances from the cast of six, Wendi Peters is wonderful as Vicky’s no-nonsense mum Sylvie, whose fierce defence of her child against a stranger’s prejudice is one of the play’s most powerful scenes. And Ben Welch gives a brilliantly outrageous comedy performance as drag queen Fat Pearl, though as the play goes on we realise even this apparently one-dimensional character has hidden depths.

Victoria Gimby’s production is cleverly and immersively staged in a theatre that’s been transformed into The Golden Girl, right down to a stamp on the hand as you enter. With the action primarily taking place in two settings – the club and Vicky’s home – the versatile set, designed by Martha Hegarty (also responsible for the aforementioned fabulous outfits), is quickly and easily transformed so the action can continue to flow seamlessly. There are, however, a few issues with sightlines for audience members sitting at either end of the theatre, with some scenes blocked from view almost entirely by the curtain concealing the Golden Girl stage.

Photo credit: Fabio Santos

Call Me Vicky is a play that creeps up on you. Because most of the early action is set in spaces where Vicky feels at home, the events that take place in the second half of the play catch us completely off guard, and serve as a shocking reminder of what so many trans people have had to go through just to feel accepted. There are a number of moments where you feel Vicky might quite justifiably choose to give up on her transition; the fact that she never does only increases our admiration for her courage and resilience – and should also silence any suggestion that it’s a decision she’s taken lightly. A powerful, eye-opening debut from Nicola and Stacey Bland, Call Me Vicky is well worth a watch.

Can’t see the map on iPhone? Try turning your phone to landscape and that should sort it. I don’t know why but I’m working on it… 😉

Theatre round-up: 15 Nov 2015

How was your week? Mine was a pretty quiet one for a change, but naturally still included a couple of nights at the theatre. One was local, one was London, and they were about as different as two shows can be…

This week's theatre

Puttin’ on the Ritz (Orchard theatre, Dartford)

A song and dance extravaganza featuring star guests Trent and Gordana from Strictly, celebrating the Hollywood glamour of the 1920s and 30s. A talented and energetic cast give a polished performance, and although it feels a little bit like two shows in one, overall it’s a fun, foot-tapping production, packed with classic tunes from the likes of Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.

Puttin’ on the Ritz review

Staying Alive (The Pleasance, London)

This play from Blackshaw Theatre Company isn’t particularly easy viewing; it’s about a single mother coping with the tragic death of her young son, and her friends, who have no idea how to support her or each other. It’s a sad story, with moments of gentle humour, and a couple of particularly intense scenes that creep up on you. There’s also a wonderful performance from Rachel Nott as the grieving Mary.

Staying Alive review for LondonTheatre1

What have you seen at the theatre this week?

Next week’s theatre

Harlequinade / All On Her Own (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company), Garrick Theatre

Miss Saigon, Prince Edward Theatre