Sunday 24th September

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Breaking 30: Halloween Cabaret – Review

Rating:

Breaking 30 / Worlds End Studios

A surprise on arrival: the venue was a covered courtyard with heat-lamps – and all the better for it. In fact, the perfect way to spend an otherwise dreary autumnal London evening. There was quite a crowd gathering and a real buzz to proceedings. It was truly heartening to see such a level of support for this fundraiser, under the clearly imaginative direction of Sophie Moniram.

‘With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm’ made for a rousing chorus taking full vantage of prime performance space, faces underlit by torchlight. Coupled with the artful lighting of Justin Williams, the place afforded ameniable acoustics for consistently consumate performances. Pretty soon though, things were thrown into crisis: that of a rotund seasonal vegetable, in a not-quite-so-Juliet-ish balcony scene. No pumpkin had more stage presence or was more dramatically expressive, in this endearing ugly-duckling yarn.

Tanja Mariadoss

Being carved-up every October 31 presents a conflict of emotions.

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Category: Comedy
Amy Neilson Smith
Amy Neilson Smith

Poetry Café: Playerist Comedy Night – Review

Rating:

I was thrilled to present the Comedy Night for Playerist Literary Magazine at the Poetry Society in Covent Garden. Needing to ensure spot-on timing felt a little like operating a conveyor-belt. But what a conveyor-belt. It’s rare to be privy to such a collection of talent, and so pleasing to see a full-house at this venerated venue. The Poetry Café is smartly situated, central but hidden, in the heart of the city. This year saw Jillian Miller come aboard as the magazine’s patron, and she kicked-off proceedings with much appreciated verse by John Cooper Clarke. Drawing on two decades of public speaking, as CEO of an international charity, Jillian sparkled and lit the touchpaper. Next up was Brighton poetess (self-termed) Amy Neilson Smith who recited her naughty-but-nice rhymes. This girl has gumption and little wonder she’s in such demand, as fellow of the iPoets collective that last summer performed at the Royal Festival Hall.

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Category: Comedy
Rocks

The Jack Studio Theatre: Rocks & Hard Places

Rating:

Breaking 30

It’s always worthwhile taking a few stops on the Overground from Canada Water. Just a short and pleasant walk and you’re at the Jack Studio Theatre in Brockley. This terrific fringe venue sits adjacent a smashing pub that will be even better following refurbishment. For now, we have a Pop-Up Bar and the background tinkling of ivories. Excellent!

‘Rocks and Hard Places’ is a cabaret-ish two-hander of non linking ballads and dialogues. It kicks-off with the nervy ‘Blizzard of Lies’. An alternative title could easily be ‘He Done Her Wrong’ whilst an original Dietrich song proves a highlight of the night. Are you getting the picture…?

Lights go-up on a switchboard operator – no gender-stereotype on my behalf – who turns-table on her berated caller. It’s funny, ghastly, in-your-face hysterical. ‘Busy Line’ is just one of a consistently cracking choice of witty ditties. Great to hear the expert delivery of each tune with faultless projection and enunciation. Programme notes nod to Colin Sell no less. Alex James Ellison provides sympathetic musical accompaniment although greater interaction, cranking-up the machismo, would be amusing.

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Category: Comedy