This week for me has been to see quite a range of theatre currently on in London. A huge glossy musical and 2 short plays in a couple of London’s best off West End theatres. So I thought I would combine the reviews into one post. The long and the short of it is all of these are recommendations, depending on what you fancy.
Dirty Dancing at the Dominion Theatre*
Booking link: https://www.dirtydancingontour.com/tickets-tour/london-dominion-theatre
Running until: 16 April 2022
Running time: 2hr 10mins
Based on the iconic film, Dirty Dancing is a love story between our main characters Baby and Johnny who meet at a resort and a summer love story commences. The film is a huge staple in my household and I was really intrigued to see the film would adapt to the stage. Overall, it’s got more style than substance, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable night out.
The star of the show really is the choreography by Austin Wilks. The dance numbers are truly spectacle and the iconic moments truly deliver. The huge stage at the Dominion really allows the choreography to shine. The music sounds great and I loved how they incorporated the band as part of the show as well. The performances from the two leads Kira Malou and Michael O’Reilly feel authentic and original when they easily could have direct copies from film. I did see on the show’s Twitter that they’re actually a couple outside of the show which is so sweet. And makes complete sense because they had truly wonderful chemistry together.
But for me, the pacing of the show felt uneven at times. Often at times, the characters intentions weren’t very clear and there wasn’t much development between the core relationship at times. However, I would assume this is due to the source material and you can only do so much with a 2hr 10 minute run time. Overall, I still had a blast and the audience around me on the gala night certainly seemed to have had the time of their life. But for me, it’s not one I would go back to.
Never Not Once at the Park Theatre
Booking link: https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/never-not-once/about
Running until: 5th March 2022
Running time: 1hr 20mins
A truly pleasant surprise from this fast paced 80 minute drama in the Park Theatre’s smaller space. Never Not Once is a family drama following 20 year old college student Eleanor as she hires a private investigator to track down her father. The play follows the conflict this causes with Eleanor and her mother Alison as old wounds resurface. I didn’t really know anything going into it, but left having enjoyed this tough but powerful drama.
The 5 piece strong cast are all excellent throughout the piece. Meaghan Martin was brilliant as Eleanor, delivering a nuanced and strong performance along with fantastic performances from Flora Montgomery as Eleanor’s mum Allison and Amanda Bright as Allison’s partner Nadine. Adrian Grove brought strong intensity to the dynamic between all 5 actors. And Gilbert Kyem Jnr brought a real comic relief as Eleanor’s boyfriend Rob.
Carey Crim’s writing is wonderfully tense but has plenty of twists and turns to keep the audience engaged. I certainly didn’t see them coming. The play does deal with some really intense topics and I think the trigger warnings could’ve been more clearer in the actual building. But there is information on the website regarding this.
Overall, fantastic performances and a really well done intimate production in an intimate space.
An Evening Without Kate Bush*
Booking link: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/an-evening-without-kate-bush/
Running until: 26th February 2022
Running time: 1hr
An Evening Without Kate Bush celebrates not only Kate Bush and the impact of her work, but celebrates what it’s like to be a huge fan. Sarah-Louise Young’s show and performance is an ode to the everlasting cultural impact of Kate Bush’s work and how it has united people all around the world.
Sarah-Louise Young’s performance is fantastic and she really knew how to command the room. There was plenty of crowd interactivity throughout the show and I felt a genuine bond between herself and the crowd full of Kate Bush fans. I don’t really know anything about Kate Bush or her work, despite probably recognising Wuthering Heights if it was playing somewhere. And of course, a lot of the jokes went over my head because I didn’t know anything about her work. But I still found myself having a really wonderful time at the show despite this.
It’s very clear from the get go, that this is a show made with a lot of love and I think it’s really lovely to see being a hardcore fan of someone be celebrated. The audience I was part of clearly got every reference that was being thrown their way. And I had a really great time watching this.
What have you seen recently? Let me know!
Until next time,
Categories: On Stage