Tag Archives: Lil Warren

****The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco – The Hope Theatre, London

7 + 1 is sometimes 9. Especially in the absurdist world of The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco (in a completely accessible translation by Donald Watson), playing at The Hope Theatre until 13 October. The satirisation of education, politics, language and psychology could not be more apposite. First shown in Paris in 1951 this seventy minute illustration of futility still bites. Hard.The evening begins with us walking into a brilliant evocation of a mind in turmoil counterpointed by a cold, white centrepiece echoing a science lab or operating room. A beautifully envisioned and executed set by Designer Rachael Ryan. The Maid (Joan Potter) is steadfastly cleaning the table. An enthusiastic pupil (Sheetal Kapoor) visits The Professor (Roger Alborough) for a lesson. As in The Bald Soprano, Ionesco effectively uses the tools of repetition and circularity to parody the bourgeoisie’s need to repress and destroy the best in human nature. Instinctively we understand this which is why so many of us rebel at school. 
We know what is going to happen. Ionesco forces us into the uncomfortable role of complicit voyeur as we laugh (I did, often) at the ridiculous contradictions of reductive reasoning and he often jolts us into a realisation of our inescapable part in this appallingly nonsensical world. Ionesco is hard to pull off. His plays call for an understanding of the grotesque. Ruthlessly require technical excellence, truthful performances and perfect timing. As soon as Roger Alborough, playing The Professor, entered, I knew we were in very safe hands. A completely stunning performance. Alborough just ate up those meaningless monologues that are such a bitch to learn.

His handling of Ionesco’s many idiotic phrases and comic asides, absolutely pitch perfect. Energy pumping out of every pore. What an absolute treat to see acting of that calibre up so close. If he does not win an award for this fantastic portrayal I will eat my socks and the ear of a coat button.
I would have preferred The Pupil to have been played in the upper teens but given the powerhouse she was working with Sheetal Kapoor more than pulled her weight and Joan Potter wrung a laugh out of every line she had.  Again Potter, like Alborough, knew how to hold a beat. Played the rhythm of every line to a tee. Excellent.
Matthew Parker is a complete star. He has often been bold in his programming at The Hope and his in-house productions have been enormously successful. In making the choice to produce an Ionesco play he has taken a huge leap of faith. Cannily he has surrounded himself with great Creatives (I must also mention the clever and creepy Sound Design by Simon Arrowsmith).
Fringe Theatre is where all the apathy busting and challenging theatre is happening and I wish Parker and his very talented team every success. In an era where we are numbed by tepid clichés and slogans this was a breath of icy, harsh air. Highly recommended.

Oscar Ciros is a playwright, director and clown.

Playing at The Hope Theatre until 13 October

Photos by LH Photography

The Lesson at The Hope Theatre

Advertisements

****Sister Mary’s Playtime – Edinburgh Preview LONDON by Lil Warren

Reviewers should never mention topics outwith the artists’ control. The journey, the seats, the stairs or the toilets nor the TEMPERATURE but……they do.

I mention the heat here because Tim McArthur, who shared his new show Sister Mary’s Playtime, in preview, at the Arts Theatre Upstairs, Leicester Square performed in a complete nun’s habit. Feet bedecked in taps.  For over an hour. At FULL THROTTLE and in FULL VOICE! We, however, could barely pick up our gin and tonics.

The audience members were perspiring as if in a Tennessee Williams revival in Arizona. So moist, they were even beyond wiping away the glistening sweat beading lip and brow and well, everywhere.

We were eventually cajoled out of our seats for the opening “prayer” and were galvanised enough to join in the Hand-BAG! Freezer-BAG! Ball-BAG! shout-along.

This fantastic sing-a-long, do actions-a-long, shriek-a-long is supported by the deliciously wonderful Brother Mathew on the ivories and even the little timing glitches that we expect in preview, dare I say it, were greeted warmly by a now noisy and appreciative audience.

I particularly enjoyed the “interview” segment at the end of the show, McArthur is a skilled and highly entertaining interviewer, allowing guests to make us laugh too.  And the surprise guest was astoundingly good. (No spoiler alert here).

Sister Mary is outrageously rude, camp, cheeky with enough political bite to make someone (me) snort their beer and nearly choke. Expect audience participation, to be pulled up (not off) on stage and some sort of cake as a reward for joyously joining in with Musical Theatre faves that are just knocked out of the park by this fabulous performer. A perfect Edinburgh show!

TIM MCARTHUR

Playing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 3-26 August 2018 @ 5pm

Frankenstein Pub, 26 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN

Lil Warren is a writer and director, an  old Edinburgh Festival lag, and co-host on Free Seed on Soho Radio CULTURE CHANNEL.

 

STRANGE THE ROAD by LIL WARREN Review

“STRANGE THE ROAD” – The Hope Theatre, London Feb 2017

From the moment the audience enters this studio space at the Hope & Anchor Pub Theatre they are confronted with a display of violent hierarchy in a frozen tableau of the full cast. 1930s New York Gangster Malloy (Pat Koupland) at the centre, drink in hand aggressively keeping his subordinates Randall (Darren Paul McStay) and Hughie (Rikki Chamberlain) in check.

Separated by this melee stage right we see a waitress (Andromeda Godfrey) who we will later meet as Verda, and stage left we see Frenchie (Joey Ellis) leaning with an air of melancholy surrounding him. He is however the first to spring into life signifying the start of the play. This is his story. Ellis’ character takes relish in explaining his emotional turmoil at every opportunity. The audience in this intimate space clearly hang on his every word as he explodes into exposition. We witness Frenchie falling in love with Verda who works at the club that these gangsters hang out at but he is Malloy’s driver and he has his aggressive sight set Verda, as does Randall. (Godfrey and McStay clearly enjoy playing Verda and Randall with verve and style). Wonderful subplots involving Randall and Hughie keep the audience on their toes as they flip between hilarious childhood buddies and ugly underworld villains.

This play is so well written by writer director Lil Warren. Every character brought to life from their opening frozen state are well rounded and immediately endeared by the audience without cliches attached. The carefully crafted black humour is immensely enjoyable and the staging within the space is sometimes intimate as characters plot secretly upstage then other times the audience are jolted back in their seats as characters are attacked. Lil Warren has achieved something wonderful with a very strong cast in this small space. I hope that one day STRANGE THE ROAD will be given the opportunity to spread its wings in a larger auditorium.

Simon Bowles   Production Designer   
Portfolio & Showreel: http://www.SimonBowles.com  
Member of the Britsh Film Designers Guild 
Member of British Academy of Film and Television 
 simon_bowles

BLACKOUT SIZZLE TRAILER

BLACKOUT SIZZLE TRAILER

Blackout will be performed

22 April Bloomsbury Theatre

https://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/15107

23 April Soho Theatre

http://www.sohotheatre.com/whats-on/national-theatre-connections-2016/

There are some free tickets for Under 18s. Please contact us via below to reserve these.

Photograph by Michael Cheetham

OUR YOUNG CAST FOR BLACKOUT

NebiuSarah RichardsonZak Reay=Barryshaun dicksIshmelSarah Colour

We have been reheasrsing and meeting in a variety of places since January (Hoxton Hall, Hackney Wick, even the Geffrye Museum), Our final ensemble have been working hard and producing exciting ideas in the rehearsal room(s).

We are pleased to introduce (L to R) Nebiu Samuel, Sarah Richardson, Zak Reay-Barry,  Shaun Dicks, Ishmel Bridgeman and Sarah J Warren, This group of New Theatre Makers will all be performing in Hackney and of course Soho in April 2016.

Cast and performance information email unityarts@hotmail.co.uk

Hoxton Hall Tickets unityarts@hotmail.co.uk

Soho Tickets Soho Theatre Connections Season

Unity Arts at Bloomsbury Theatre 22 April and Soho Theatre 23 April 2016

Unity Arts have been partnered with Soho Theatre to present BLACKOUT by Davey Anderson

davey anderson

as part of the National Theatre’s Connections Season.

NT Connections 500

There will be  a West End showing at Bloomsbury Theatre and Soho Theatre

Bloomsbury Friday 22 April 2016 at 7pm

Tickets are £5 and available Bloomsbury Theatre Blackout

 

Soho Saturday 23 April 2016 at 7pm

Tickets are £5 and available Soho Theatre Connections Season

 

For more performance and cast information email unityarts@hotmail.co.uk