Monday 03rd August

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Marriage
Photograph by Tim Stubbs Hughes

Marriage @ Jack Studio Theatre

Rating:

Another capacity crowd at the Jack Studio Theatre welcomed a new run of Gogol’s ‘Marriage’. Loaded with wisecracks from the start, the story, such as it is (translator Howard Colyer compares it to ‘Waiting for Godot’) is a grower. Sunny Jeon’s graphic-y design, de-constructed, Surreal, opens-up the space. You almost feel inside the setting whilst simultaneously looking-on. Is the same dichotomy shared by the players?

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Category: Comedy
Flight
David Bromley and Michael Edwards each deep in conversation. Photograph by Jonathan Bradshaw.

The Jack Studio Theatre: Flight

Rating:

Showing until February 1, 2014 // Ballast Theatre

It’s trademark setting-the-scene at the Jack as we part our way through dense smoke that actually smells smoky. A Rodchenko-style motif spills across the floor, the one constant element in this evening of clashing-coercing characters. The “dream-like quality of some of the passages” proves simultaneously startling and intoxicating, autumnal layers unpeeling like onion-skins, the dimly-lit stage remaining mostly dim. No dream but a nightmare fallow by shared truths of ‘humanity’ and serial metaphors of war. ‘Flight’ does, I imagine, accurately present the muddle and mess of conflict and its effect on communities and communal infrastructure. Howard Colyer as translator and adaptor together with director Scott le Crass succeed in sustaining its message.

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Category: Culture
Howard Colyer photographed by Martin Slidel
Howard Colyer photographed by Martin Slidel

Howard Colyer: Taking Flight

Howard Colyer is a South London based playwright who has enjoyed many stagings of his works on the London fringe and notably at the Jack Studio Theatre in Brockley. I caught up with him in advance of his series of Russian translations to be produced throughout the year.

First on the books is the current production of Bulgakov’s ‘Flight’ which as Howard explains benefits from “a fascinating range of characters… fleeing the Red Army… trying to survive; each scene in a different setting and, as described, a dream-like quality of some of the passages.” Does Colyer identify with the cohort? “Khludov’s marvellous: the mad general with the ghost to talk to. Khludov and his ghost I think make the play. The National did it with an actor… I think it’s better with the ghost conjured by the mind of the audience.” Indeed. To allow the audience to ‘play their part’ is an art in itself. Meanwhile, Howard is more than pleased with his long-running association with the Jack. “Kate Bannister and Karl Swinyard have done a very good job to produce a very good theatre.”

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Category: Culture
Poster - new

Poetry Café: Playerist Comedy Night – October 17

Playerist’ is an annual literary magazine featuring a range of emergent and established writers and artists. It’s now reached its third launch event – Thursday October 17, 8pm – at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden’s Betterton Street. No ‘Better’ route to an early weekend! Apologies, the jokes will be better than this and the Basement is a delightful spot to relax; one of those hidden treasures of the city. As always the quality of work is astounding. London playwright Tanja Mariadoss will perform her wincing-ly observant story ‘The Very Tired Man on the Train’ and any male commuter will wonder if it’s about him. If you can pick yourself up off the floor, comedy actor Imogen Miller Porter’s well-sharpened wordage will blow the gaffe on another typically-English pastime.

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Category: Comedy
Never Have I Seen Mount Fuji
Never Have I Seen Mount Fuji

The Jack Studio Theatre: Never Have I Seen Mount Fuji

Rating:

The wonderful Brockley Jack pub is barely recognisable since its refit and a lovely place to spend an evening. The advantage of seeing another top-rate play at the adjoining Studio Theatre is a true bonus! Or should that be the other way around! You decide. The theatre is currently showing three plays by Brixtonian Howard Colyer. A signature of the venue seems to be setting the scene and on this occasion we enter to crescending sounds of the sea…

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Category: Culture