Cockamamy | The Hope | 12 – 30 June

Presented by Think and Hit
Cockamamy
The Hope Theatre, 207 Upper Street, London, N1 1RL
Tuesday 12th June – Saturday 30th June 2018

Following sell-out runs at the Camden Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe 2017, where it won the Lustrum Award for Outstanding Play, the heart-warming Cockamamy will come to The Hope Theatre this summer. This razor-sharp play examines companionship and the reality of living with dementia

Starring Louise Coulthard (The Importance of Being Earnest, UK Tour; Doctors, BBC; House and Garden, The Watermill Theatre) as a granddaughter-turned-carer alongside Mary Rutherford (Midsummer Night’s Dream, RSC; Metamorphosis, London & National Theatre) as her grandmother, Cockamamy explores dementia and the effect it has on the immediate family

Perfectly scripted by Louise Coulthard who cared for her grandmother whilst she was living with dementia, this play explores the incredible bond between a grandparent and grandchild. Far from a sentimental portrayal of decline, Cockamamy is an honest, funny, and insightful exploration of the realities of living with this degenerative disease

Focusing on the experiences of two strong women and a family powerless against disease, this play uses the comedy that arises from tragedy to sensitively portray the struggles families around the world face, with one in six people expected to develop dementia according to The Alzheimer’s Society

Director, Rebecca Loudon comments, having lived with my Grandma while she had vascular dementia, Cockamamy resonates with me on multiple levels. The play tackles head on the silent feelings of guilt and failure often experienced by people living with the disease, while also celebrating the unique connection between a woman and her granddaughter. I believe Louise’s story acts as a valuable social tool by shining a light on one of the biggest causes of death to the elderly in the UK, while also demystifying the older generation to the young in a time where we are outweighed by an ageing population

A beautifully written portrayal of the effect of dementia […] a compelling, emotive and powerful piece of theatre (Broadway Baby).

The Importance of Being Earnest Review

York Theatre Royal until Saturday 21st April 2018

Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

4.5****

The Importance of Being Earnest, the classic comedy by the great Oscar Wilde, returns to York thanks to the The Original Theatre Company.

The tale revolves around two gentlemen who at various times during the show, pretend to be someone else, Ernest, in order to woo the girls of their dreams. What follows is a humorous web of lies that unravels before our eyes.

Algernon Monicrieff (Thomas Howes) is a bit of a buffoon, a member of the upper wealthy class, living a life of total bachelorhood, frivolous and self absorbed. He has created an imaginary friend Bunbury in order to escape and use as an excuse to decline unwanted invitations. His friend, Ernest, who is really Jack Worthing (Peter Sandys-Clarke), is the respectable land owner, who has an estate in the country, but he leads a deceptive life in town, a bit of a rouge, but desperate to marry Gwendolen Fairfax (Hannah Louise Howell) Algernon’s cousin. Unfortunately for him he must convince her mother, the fearsome Lady Bracknell (Gwen Taylor), that he is worthy and comes from the right stock, easier said than done as we get to find out.

Once back at his country house we meet Cecily Cardew (Louise Coulthard), Worthing’s ward, who after hearing tales of his younger brother, Ernest, who is really Jack in his town persona, fancies herself in love with. Enter Algernon, deciding to take it upon himself to become Ernest and propose to Cecily. It all sounds so very bizarre and I suppose it is, but watching it on the stage it makes complete sense and is at times hilarious.

The whole cast were a real credit to the show, but Howes portrayal of Algernon was brilliant, full of physicality, flamboyance and foppish charm, complimented by Sandys-Clarke’s more understated, but still superb, Jack. I must also mention Susan Penhaligon and Geoff Aymer as Miss Prism and Rev Chasuble. Their flirting and her swigging out of a hip flask were memorable moments, such comedy.

The show was split up into 3 acts with 2 intervals, allowing for set changes, from Algernon’s flat, to Jack’s country house and then finally the library inside his house. During the first act we could even smell smoke from the cigarettes they were smoking, I do not miss those days I can tell you, but it was effective and helped the scene.

I have never seen this play before but would definitely go again. First performed in 1895, it is great to see that it can still engage an audience today. Full of energy, wit and charm, it kept me thoroughly entertained for the whole show, laughter aplenty,  I left the theatre with a huge smile on my face.

SOCIETY OF LONDON THEATRE, UK THEATRE AND INSPIRING THE FUTURE ANNOUNCE AMBITIOUS INDUSTRY CAMPAIGN FOR SCHOOLS

  • Ground-breaking initiative will introduce children to a diverse range of theatre careers
  • Inspiring the Future of Theatre aims to foster relationships between schools and theatres
  • Drive to recruit 1000 theatre industry ambassadors to go into schools
  • Campaign launch on 11 July, with nationwide #InspiringFutureTheatre campaign to celebrate theatres’ existing educational and career work

UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) today unveil full details of a wide-reaching new industry initiative in partnership with Inspiring the Future, part of the charity Education and Employers.

Building on SOLT and UK Theatre’s recent Workforce Review, Inspiring the Future of Theatre will aim to showcase the range of careers available in theatre to young people, and encourage and strengthen connections between schools and their local theatres.

Theatre and the performing arts are part of the creative industries, which are worth £92bn, and are growing at twice the rate of the economy. UK Theatre and SOLT believe that if the sector is to continue to thrive, it must draw on the talent base, and build audiences, from all areas of society.

To achieve this ambitious project, SOLT, UK Theatre and Education and Employers are launching a drive to recruit industry ambassadors who will be matched with schools across the UK, taking part in events to lay the groundwork for young people to make informed and ambitious career decisions.

SOLT President Kenny Wax started the call for ambassadors at this year’s Olivier Awards on 8 April:

‘Our goal is to sign up 1000 Ambassadors from across the industry, to include technicians, designers, actors, creatives and administrators – with particular emphasis on roles behind the curtain – to commit to visit a local school once a year to talk about what they do – to open the eyes of children and inspire them to consider a role in the theatre.’

Inspiring the Future of Theatre will be officially launched on 11 July with events at schools around the country. As part of a broader celebration of the fantastic educational and careers work already taking place in the theatre industry, theatres will be encouraged to use the social media hashtag #InspiringFutureTheatre on 11 July to promote their own work towards closing skills gaps and broadening access to arts and cultural education.

The campaign will continue throughout the year with Ambassadors matched to activities and events at local schools.

Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre, said:

‘Part of UK Theatre and SOLT’s core mission is to engage as many people as possible, and from all areas of our society, as audiences and in the theatre workforce. We believe that reaching people at school age will help shape their understanding of theatre and encourage the next generation of theatre audiences and workers. We’re excited to partner with Education and Employers on Inspiring the Future of Theatre.’

Nick Chambers, CEO of Education and Employers, said:

‘We are delighted to be working with UK Theatre and SOLT to excite and motivate young people about the huge range of careers available in the theatre industry. Through Inspiring the Future’s national online platform, experienced professionals who have agreed to give up their time on voluntary basis can easily be connected to primary and secondary schools and colleges to chat informally to young people about what inspired them to follow a career in the theatre industry and how the educational route they chose helped them to achieve it.’

Further details of the campaign, the ambassador recruitment drive and the 11 July press launch event will be announced soon.

 

#InspiringFutureTheatre / @UK_Theatre / @SOLTNews / uktheatre.org / solt.co.uk /

#InspiringTheFuture / @InspiringTF / @Edu_Employers / educationandemployers.org /inspiringthefuture.org

Chicago Review

Phoenix Theatre – until 6 October (Cuba Gooding Jr. appears until 30 June)

Reviewed by Claire Roderick

4****

There isn’t much that’s new in this latest production of perennial favourite Chicago, with the original direction and choreography from the 1997 production being recreated and no major changes to the design. But then, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The antics of fame-hungry female murderers and their slippery lawyer as they compete to grab headlines to feed the voracious and ghoulish fascination of the public still has a sharp satirical edge, and this is Kander and Ebb at their very best, with a score that is simply sublime, packed with familiar iconic numbers. The orchestra take centre stage, where they truly belong, receiving some of the loudest cheers of the night for their energetic Entr’acte performance.

The main talking point of this production is the audacious stunt casting of Cuba Gooding Jr. An Oscar winner he may be, but can he actually sing? Well… he just about gets away with it, but I’m not sure if his voice will last until June. His untrained voice is passable, but he is often gasping for breath by the end of a line. A fact that the production seems to have acknowledged with some funny interactions between Gooding Jr. and the ensemble. It doesn’t really matter though, as the man oozes charisma and makes Billy Flynn as likeable as he is mercenary. And he CAN dance.

It doesn’t help poor Cuba that he is surrounded by a trio of ridiculously talented women. Josefina Gabrielle is a gutsy and snarling Velma and Ruthie Henshall is a surprisingly mellow Mama Morton. Sarah Soetaert’s Roxie is a fantastic mix of cold hard ambition and goofy screwball ditziness, and the three nail their vocals with style and swagger.

The talented company handle the Ann Reinking choreography with sizzling energy, a sea of gyrating hips, kicks and flicks that is mesmerising and moody. The staging is deceptively simple, with Velma and the girls’ wowing the audience using only wooden chairs in Cell Block Tango. Other standout numbers include We Both Reached for the Gun (showcasing Gooding Jr. and Soetaert’s comedy chops brilliantly), Mr Cellophane (Paul Rider winning the audience’s hearts as pathetically loyal Amos) and Hot Honey Rag, using Fosse’s original choreography.

It’s fantastic to have Chicago back in the West End, and this slick and sexy production is still a guaranteed crowd pleaser full of fierce razzle dazzle.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical Review

Darlington Hippodrome – until 28 April 2018

5*****

The latest production from Darlington Operatic Society brings us Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical. This show saw a West End revival in 2016 and is a popular amateur production, despite the challenges of staging such a flamboyant musical. However, it remains big, bold and brash as ever.

Most people will know the film. Tick, a Sydney drag queen, accepts a gig in Alice Springs, partly to see his wife Marion (Beth Hopper) and young son Benji (Matthew Scott and Jamie Collict sharing the role). He takes along for the ride fellow drag ‘artiste’ Adam (AKA Felicia) and the maturely transsexual Bernadette. They head off on their road trip on an old bus named ‘Priscilla’. On the way they discover new friends, homophobia, and the truth about themselves.

The show is a two-hour mix up of extravagant performances, fabulous outfits, risqué jokes and clichés. Each scene is punctuated by a bunch of toe-tapping disco classics, such as Go West, Hot Stuff and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, with high energy dance moves from the full ensemble.  Sometimes the routines and costumes get quite surreal and don’t really fit the story, but that didn’t seem to matter to this audience. This is as much about costumes as content.

The male trio of ‘leading ladies’ do a great job and are all very well cast. Nicholas Fletcher-Holmes as Tick has a beautiful voice and is able to come across as strong but also sensitive when required. Julian Cound plays Bernadette beautifully and again is strong but clearly finds his feminine side, with a powerful vocal range. Luke Oldfield is stunning as Adam/Felicia. Vocally very good. All three do an amazing job in high heels and extravagant costumes and look very comfortable moving around. They work well together, producing some genuinely tender moments in among the crude jokes and bitchy one-liners.

Keeping the whole show flowing are the three divas, played by the talented Rhiannon Walker, Jenny Poole and Tori McDougall who has stunning and powerful vocals which should be heard in the West End. They accompany most of the performances with backing vocals, do-wops, lots of choreography and some excellent solo numbers too.  

As the tantalising trio wend their way to their destination, they encounter and endure all manner of unexpected obstacles and experiences along the way, including emotional and mechanical breakdowns, homophobic incidents, a Thai bride with a unique skill involving ping-pong balls, and the rekindling of a very strong old flame whose burning passion for a certain lady has never been extinguished

The rest of the ensemble cast do an excellent job of taking on a myriad of roles – one minute disco dancing in sequins, the next dressed as country singers doing line dancing. It is a fast-paced show and, as already mentioned, the costumes do take over. There is a huge cast, so a lot of people for such a small space, and they all do well. I saw no uncertainty or accidental crashes on stage – given this was opening night that’s always a bonus. Some stand out more than others but they all work well together.

Huge amounts of praise to Choreographer, Martin Knight. To take on men in heels, in huge head pieces, flapping costumes and full-on dance routines for over twenty songs is a massive achievement. Overall the whole cast keep pace really well. It is the glitz and glamour that wins over in the end, with a fabulous finale number from the whole company that has the entire audience on their feet.

Priscilla owes as much to each and every member of the impressive ensemble cast as she does to the leading ladies. The music, choreography and terrifically sharp one-liners are flawlessly tight and perfectly-timed, the extravagant costumes suitably spectacular, the overall vibe uproariously, gloriously exhilarating, while the entire production is infused with humanity and bonhomie at every turn.  One of my favourite shows, this production by DOS is the best thing I have seen them perform

Circus Abyssinia Ethiopian Dreams Review

 Underbelly Festival, Southbank – until 20 May

Reviewed by Claire Roderick

4****

If you’re looking for a fun-filled, jaw-dropping show for all the family, then get down to the Southbank to see Circus Abyssinia’s Ethiopian Dreams. Bibi and Bichu Tesfamariam’s show garnered rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, and you CAN believe the hype. There are wonders in this show to thrill young and old alike.

With an insanely talented and enthusiastic troupe from the brothers’ circus school in Addis Ababa, the smiles and enthusiasm seen on stage don’t take long to spread around the audience. With upbeat music and choreography throughout, the show begins with the male members of the troupe throwing each other around the stage and into the air in a dazzling display of strength and agility. The female acrobats stun with their contortions, balances and acrobatics, with a mind-blowing routine spinning coloured cloths from hands and feet being the visual highlight, but their final poses will make you squeal in awe and trepidation.

Daniel Gezahegn’s charming clowning and the Tesfamariam’s own phenomenally complicated but relaxed juggling act keeping the high energy building until the grand finale, a Chinese Pole act which sees eight of the troupe swarming up and down performing nerve-shredding stunts with cheeky grins on their faces.

And that’s what stays with you after the show, the joy on the performers faces as they show London their extraordinary skills. The energy and enthusiasm are life-affirming and infectious – it’s enough to make you want to sign up for some circus skills classes yourself.

Titanic the Musical Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 21 April 18

Reviewed by Jo Gordon

5*****

Clearly living under a rock, Titanic the Musical has never been on my radar. With this in mind I had no idea how such a dark subject matter could be conveyed on stage through the medium of show tunes and had slight concerns that I would be humming for eternity that famous song from the 1997 film, that has been screeched on pub karaoke by many a gaggle of squiffy women for the past 21 years! I take it all back, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Maury Yeston’s musical score and Peter Stones book are combined beautifully to give us the musical that is Titanic, with a cast of only 25 portraying the personal stories of a handful of the 2227 people aboard the ship. “In every age, mankind attempts to fabricate great works at once magnificent and impossible’ boasts the ships architect Thomas Andrews (Greg Castiglioni) as we settle into the show. With Captain Edward Smith (Philip Rahm) and his staff ready to receive the passengers we begin to meet the key players. Split into first, second and third class accommodation there is an eclectic mix of people ranging from the millionaires on board just to say they had been, the well to do heading to America to become the millionaires and the every day man and woman hoping for a new life and employment. Top deck is first class moving down into the belly of the ship where the third class passengers are shoulder to shoulder in a seen and not heard manner. Fun, romance and much frolicking are being had by all whilst behind the scenes the coal men shovel the fires harder and harder as they increase the speeds at the request of J.Bruce Ismay (Simon Green), chairman of the White Star Line company who owned the boat. Despite many warnings of ice sighted coming in, the speeds are kept high and at 11:40pm on 14 April the iceberg is struck to devastating affect. We are all aware of the facts, not enough life boats and the women and children from first class having first chance on the boats with third class still stuck down below. Boats leaving at half capacity did not help the death count either.

The pure heartbreaking scenes of women and men saying their goodbyes were extremely well played and the scene where Ida (Judith Street) and Isidor (Dudley Rogers) sing “Still” had the house in tears. The last few moments of those who perished as the ship went down are poignantly acted out and left the theatre in silence as we learn over 1500 passengers perished that night.

A beautifully, well written musical score made even more so by the wonderful singing voices of the cast. The set is very simple yet imaginative and achieves what it’s meant to do in transporting us onto the decks of one of the most infamous ships in history. Highly recommend you book a ticket and go see it however take a tissue, take a whole box as I defy you not to shed a tear!

The Band Review

Bristol Hippodrome – until 28 April.

Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock.

5*****

Walking into an auditorium to be confronted with a giant “Ceefax” page isn’t normal, but this is Take That!

“The Band” written by Tim Firth is artistic brilliance. It features the timeless and uplifting music of Take That, mixed with the heart wrenching lives of five young girls. These girls desperately want to see their favourite band, finally winning tickets to do so. Unfortunately, the night ends with a drastic turn which left no dry eye in the theatre. 25 years on, they have all gone their separate ways, but one of them wins tickets to see the band once more. All of them go, and the night ensues in chaos, hilarity and wit that will leave you wanting more.

All the characters are so beautifully written and are extremely relatable. Young Rachel, played by Faye Christall, was every teenage girl in the desperately in love with her favourite boyband! Her best friends are also in love with this boyband, but Rachel is clearly the main focus and wants to go this concert more than anyone. Her friend Debbie, played by Rachelle Deidericks, was the epitome of grace. With a smaller role that the rest, she surely made a lasting impression. Heather, played by Katy Clayton, was a breath of fresh air and had me in stitches! Her comedic timing was excellent and she was fabulous! Zoe, played by Lauren Jacobs, is the more timid member of this group. She is brainy and wants to study at university, but still finds time to watch Top of the Pops to swoon over the boys! Claire is played by Sarah Kate Howarth and is hilarious. Paired with Heather, they had the audience in stitches. The back and forth banter between all 5 of these girls was true to life and showed how strong of a bond they had both on and offstage.

Older Rachel, 25 years on, is played by Rachel Lumberg. She is the only one of the older ladies we are introduced to from the start and she kept the audience in her hands the whole way through. She showed such deep emotion that I felt myself wanting to go and hug her! Older Heather, portrayed by Emily Joyce, was outstanding. Her life changes vastly from her plans made as a teen, but she is still as quick witted and ready to face everything with a smile. Older Zoe, played by Jayne McKenna, was brilliant.

Dubbed as ‘Mother Earth’ when the girls meet up again, her life also didn’t go to plan but yet she was so happy it didn’t! Older Claire, played by Alison Fitzjohn, has the most remarkable change out of all of the girls. From the slim diver she once was, she is now a larger woman who laughs at herself with her friends but still has the undertone of a vulnerable 16 year old.

All of these woman and girls are excellent and their voices blend beautifully, to create some incredible harmonies. The boys of the high-profile tv show ‘Let it Shine’ were fantastic. Watching them was almost like being in a concert. During one of the songs, we were treated to fire flares which left the audience cheering and I’m sure I heard someone shout ‘I love you’!! The energy they showed onstage was electric and for many of the songs the audience were clapping along and dancing. It was almost as if the audience were a character in their own right, we were encouraged to join in from the start.

The choreography, set and costume, together with the talent of all the cast, were all beautifully executed to create a wonderfully emotive piece of theatre. The use of projection was also prominent in the show and was delivered brilliantly to provide smooth scene transitions and to aid the audiences mind during songs, for example “The Flood” was accompanied by a waterfall.

The Band left me with some questions. Was The Band just the concert the girls went to see? Or was The Band really the girls, who after 25 years were still the best of friends- a Band that can never be broken?

Evita Review

Storyhouse Live, Chester – until Saturday 21st April 2018

Reviewed by Julie Noller

5*****

Evita the powerful 1976 musical penned by the gods themselves, Sir Tim Rice and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has rolled into Chester bringing with it just a touch of star quality. I like many in the audience I’m sure have seen Evita before but I wanted my teenage daughter to hopefully enjoy what is essentially a history lesson but with quite easily some of the best known stage songs of all time. Plus I have to mention that dress, how it dazzled in the lights, the ultimate prom dress. For yes it was a welcome distraction from revising and exams. It’s fair to say she loved it, I heard many a whispered Wow and although at her age she struggled with some wording, she said she’d understood the story and thought it amazing and totally knows now why I was humming all day, high praise indeed from my teenager. I had previously seen Evita on a large stage where the theatre roof was high and was raised even higher. I wanted to see how it would compare within the smaller setting at Chester. I had no reason to worry, the stage came alive and as I am sure when I see Evita again for this masterpiece of theatre deserves to be seen many times and each as fresh as the first time. Evita as a story itself has so many components, a young girls struggle with rejection, her dreams to become famous; an actress. How she rises like a phoenix from the flames of abject poverty to lead women’s suffrage. Finding a strength like no other and becoming the Queen of the people she understood so well. Juan Peron may have been the political leader of Argentina but his power was ultimately nothing without the woman who guided him and shaped him into a more perceivable believable figure much to the disgust of the upper classes and his generals.

Directed by Producer Bill Kenwright, thankfully we the masses are able to enjoy Evita all over again. Madalena Alberto is magnificent as Eva Durate de Peron. From young fifteen year old looking to escape. Was it by fluke with added luck or was she calculating and manipulative? She brings class and strength to the role with a touch of vulnerability not truly seen. Don’t Cry for me Argentina is of course a highlight, the stage moves even closer to us the audience. We inhale there’s an audible silence because we all know whats about to be leashed on us will be powerful. I have to bend my neck to see Evita clearly and for those few minutes I feel like I’m stood in the crowd seeing the Saint Evita address her people. How incredible to have witnessed history. The emotion of Evita, the cries of Juan Peron are clear for all to see thanks to the small stage and closeness of the audience, it was incredible to see Evita with tears of sadness, her distraught husband. At that moment they connect with us in a way that anyone who has battled that despicable disease cancer will feel. Madalena is tiny she is petite yet nothing could stop her belting out those well known classics, my hairs stood on end, my goosebumps had chills, my mouth may have dropped open. Jeremy Secomb plays the bold and dashing Juan Peron from General to President, I see an actor who knows his character. He knows he has ridden his luck and escaped the death squads. Peron is played with charm and yet a questionable side as if uncertain of his own future. Is it really possible that Evita is the driving force behind his rise? How did Evita keep herself safe in a time where she could quite possibly be committing political suicide and risking her own life too, after all she is merely a woman and from the shirtless classes too! Peron has a ruthless side too though, he plots and allows Evita to speak to the masses, rides on her coat tails. For she is loved and adored by the masses and can do no wrong. Che as usual is our storyteller quite possibly the conscience of the people. He tells things as he sees them and equally brings a touch of eye candy to the stage. Gian Marco Schiaretti quite simply owned the Chester stage, with an unbelievable confidence and aura that lit up the stage and had you watching his every move. You listened to him for the alternative point of view, saw him conflict with Evita. He asked us despite what we saw, just who was this saintly Evita as she had done nothing for years.

Special mention must go to the children from Stagecoach in Chester, for they once again as in Manchester have been incredible and unfortunately we do not know our small child’s name but to stand on stage night after night and sing a solo so well at such a young age is remarkable and what a smile. Young Cristina Hoey as the mistress brings the fickleness and uncertainty of the era alive, this is 1940’s post war Argentina and nothing is guaranteed. She is alone and frightened but a mistresses life is quite often that when faced with the ultimate diva and power crazed Evita.

Evita is truly special, it’s history, it’s storytelling but it’s also power ballads and rock. Can you witness perfection too many times? When it comes to Evita the answer is no

Art Review

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – runs until 21st April 2018.

Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth

3***

Art was originally written in French by Yasmina Reza, a Russian/Iranian/Hungarian/Jewish playwright from Paris. This couldn’t be further away from the solid British feel you are left with after seeing this piece. The play was translated by Christopher Hampson after he came across it playing in the Champs Elysee Theatre. He wanted to buy the rights to the play but after investigation found out that Sean Connery actually owned them. Finally getting in touch with Connery, he agreed to hire Christopher to do the translation. 1996 was the first performance in the West Ends’ Wyndhams. The production has been going strong now for over twenty years and still proves very popular.

This tour of Art has three very accomplished actors on board in the form of Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson. These three all have extremely lengthy experience and are super talented. Their talents and abilities of strong acting skills and charismatic energy are key as this show doesn’t have much more to offer visually. The stage is set in plain décor, with three chairs and a table for the entire performance, with only the use of lighting to change the mood intermittently.

The story is about three, close, life-long friends; Marc, Serge and Yvan. When Serge pays £200,000 for a white painting, Marc does not approve, calling it a ‘piece of white s**t’ and accuses Serge of wasting his money. Yvan, tries to be more positive about the painting, which in turn aggravates Marc who appears to have a ‘hang up’ about it. The painting acts as a catalyst to an argument which threatens to get out of control and destroy their friendship. The piece of Art is on stage for a lot of the one act, ninety minute play but the true focus is on the relationship between the trio. There is almost a childlike argumentative edge to these three and that is well portrayed by the actors. There are comedy moments in every corner of this play, leaving the audience in stitches.

A real stand out moment is Stephen Tompkinsons’ extra long monologue. He goes on a real rant about his mothers, stepmothers and all the other people involved in the planning of his wedding. This performance is impeccable and he manages to deliver it at such a speed that you are tense for him, hoping he doesn’t slip up. All perfectly executed though.

If you are a fan of comedy drama and not one that needs visually stimulating during performance then this may be the show for you. The acting is super professional, polished and believable. The story is well written and most importantly it leaves you thinking about friendship and how there is nothing else quite like it.