Monthly Archives: April 2015

Black Cat Cabaret: Salon des Artistes

BlackCatSummer2014PosterThe opulent setting of the Hotel Café Royal is home to the Black Cat Cabaret’s Salon des Artistes. When you first enter, the historic, almost intimidatingly grandiose surrounds of the Oscar Wilde Bar immediately transport you to another time, preparing you for the show to come.

A continually high level of talent from all the performers elevates this show from standard and often tired cabaret fare. Although a case could be made for it being too polished and lacking in truly bizarre or spectacular acts, it still makes for a very enjoyable night out.

Read my full review

“Past claim of meaningful existence”: the defeated individual in three Beckett plays

beckettThe prominent literary critic Richard Ellman said of Beckett’s work: “He has given a voice to the decrepit and maimed and inarticulate, men and women at the end of their tether, past pose or pretense, past claim of meaningful existence…like salamanders we survive in his fire.”

More than 25 years after his death, Beckett’s plays remain notoriously difficult to decipher, often defying and subverting theatrical conventions. Award-winning theatre company Whispering Beasts have chosen to take up the intimidating gauntlet thrown down by Beckett. They are currently performing three of his short plays in succession, Act Without Words I, Rough for Theatre II and Catastrophe, at the Old Red Lion Theatre.

Despite being formed relatively recently, Whispering Beasts grapple with the complexities and starkness of Beckett’s vision exceptionally well, showing that his crushed protagonists are unmistakably “at the end of their tether” and “past claim of meaningful existence” in the face of harsh external forces beyond their control.

Read my full review of their performance on Litro

Hard Graft: exploring the terrain of the father-son relationship

Capture16-440x350David Sheppeard describes his solo performance Hard Graft as being “inspired by my relationship with my father, who grew up in South Wales in a mining village…I am a queer-identified playwright – on the face of it we couldn’t be more different.”

He explores the difficult terrain of this father-son relationship through a monologue, hoping that it will come across as “funny, personal and honest.”

Sheppheard proves adept at taking the audience on an engaging and, at times, poignant journey into the intricacies and complexities of his relationship with his father.

Read my full review here