Sergio Blanco’s smash-hit, critically-acclaimed Thebes Land at Arcola Theatre

Thebes Land returns to Arcola Theatre as
part of CASA Festival 2017
Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL
Wednesday 6th September – Saturday 7th October 2017

Sergio Blanco’s smash-hit, critically-acclaimed Thebes Land – winner of Best Production at the 2016 Off West End awards – returns to Arcola Theatre for 5 weeks only as part of the 2017 CASA Festival.

In this exhilarating multiple-reality drama, a playwright struggles to stage the incredible story of Martin Santos, a young man serving a life sentence for killing his father with a fork. As their interviews progress and opening night approaches, both of their worlds begin to unravel with shocking consequences. Will the truth be found, and can it be told?

Trevor White (Long Day’s Journey Into Night, West End; Enron, Royal Court) and Alex Austin (Fury, Soho Theatre; Yen, Royal Court) reprise their celebrated performances in Daniel Goldman’s ingenious production, performed inside a giant steel cage, which doubles up as a basketball court and a rehearsal room.

Mixing fact and fiction, meta-theatre and reality, Thebes Land re-imagines the story of Oedipus to tell an unexpected story of redemption. With references that range from The Brothers Karamazov and Freud to Zidane and Whitney Houston, the play is a puzzle box that is deeply moving, visceral, intellectual and sublimely funny, all at the same time.

The UK premiere of Thebes Land took place at Arcola Theatre in November 2016. It won the OffWest End Award for Best Production and was also nominated for Best New Play, Best Production, Best Director and Best Set Designer. The original production of the show, directed by Sergio Blanco himself, opened in 2013 and has since enjoyed eight sell-out seasons in Montevideo’s Teatro Solis and toured to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Spain. New productions are currently being produced in Spain, France, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, the US, Germany and Japan.

Daniel Goldman comments, It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing Thebes Land back to Arcola for another run. I can’t wait to share this amazing Latin American play with new audiences, while for those who have seen it before, there should be some new surprises for them too.

What a sharp, satisfying watch this is – a play that runs rings around its audience; riddles us like the Sphinx did Oedipus. Scene by scene, it slips out of reach. Fiction slides into fiction, rehearsals corkscrew into ‘reality,’ and come the end, nothing’s solid. Blanco does for documentary art what Dennis Kelly’s Taking Care of Baby did for verbatim work. It holes it below the waterline…

Goldman’s production is engrossing and slippery (★★★★ Matt Trueman, What’s on Stage).

Thebes Land is part of CASA Latin American Theatre Festival which is celebrating its tenth anniversary year, joining forces with two of London’s leading off-West End theatres Southwark Playhouse and Arcola Theatre to offer London audiences eight weeks of brilliant Latin American theatre and culture. The festival runs until Sunday 29th October 2017. The full programme can be viewed at

Darlington Hippodrome exhibition


Darlington Hippodrome has launched a new exhibition celebrating the history and architecture of the Edwardian theatre at the Crown Street Art Gallery in Crown Street Library, Darlington.

Moving Forward, Looking Back: A History of the Hippodrome, is a new exhibition celebrating the architecture of Darlington Hippodrome. The exhibition is open now and runs to 7 September in the Crown Street Art Gallery , Crown Street Library, Darlington. The exhibition explores the architecture of the Hippodrome, its external and internal features, its succession of managers and directors and the impact they – and their times – had upon the building. You will also be able to take a sneak peek at behind the scenes images of the restoration.

As part of the exhibition the Hippodrome will be hosting two one hour talks in the library with guest speakers on Friday 1 September at 11 am, and with Sean McNicholas, Operations Manager from Willmott Dixon on Wednesday 6 September at 6:30pm, who will share their own experiences in restoring the theatre and embracing its Edwardian heritage.

The talks are free but tickets are required. To book your place on either talk please contact the box office on 01325 405405.

For further details contact the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit

ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS | Arcola Theatre | 10th October – 4th November 2017

Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL
Tuesday 10th October – Saturday 4th November 2017

I know you want what everyone else wants. A family. A home. But you’ll never
have it. Cos of what’s inside you.

Following an acclaimed UK tour in spring 2017, Jane Upton’s ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS will be making its London premiere at the Arcola this October. Deeply moving and darkly funny, this award winning new play tells the story of the girls that slip through the cracks.

Joanne and Lisa were like sisters. Then Lisa got away. Now she’s back, but the ghosts from their past still haunt her. While Amy just wants to belong. In a world where nobody wants you, what would you do to survive?

With the threat of sexual exploitation lurking in the shadows, we see three forgotten girls spending one last night together by the railway line. ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS examines their desperation to recover what they’ve lost – friendship, family, safety.

This brilliant, thought-provoking play follows these three teenage girls, the sort of teenagers that society often demonises or overlooks. Inspired by real life stories, and developed with the support of Safe and Sound, who campaign against child sexual exploitation, this play captures the voices of these powerless, underprivileged girls with compassion, humour and authenticity.

ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS stars Esther-Grace Button (Sleeping Beauty, Cast; Troupers, Mikron Theatre; The Crucible, Regent’s Park Open Air), Sarah Hoare (Jerusalem, Royal Court; Chewing Gum, Channel 4; Powder Room, DJ Films) and Tessie Orange-Turner (Sket, Park Theatre; No Border, Theatre503; Blister, Gate Theatre).

Writer Jane Upton comments, When I started researching the Rochdale child sex ring back in 2014, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility that came with creating a play from this sort of material. I almost gave up. But as the characters grew, and similar stories started to break, I knew I wanted to share our play as widely as possible. We’ve toured it nationally and now it’s great to be taking it to a London audience and specifically the Arcola, which has such a fantastic reach. The play is dark, of course, but it’s about three teenage girls so there’s laughter and piss-taking and all the things that come with growing up and negotiating your place. And hopefully it’s a timely reminder that so many children across the UK are living this horror every day.

ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS is a Fifth Word and Nottingham Playhouse co-production. It was joint winner of the 2016 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for Best New Play at the Writers’ Guild Awards 2017.

Terrifically realistic and darkly funny… truly extraordinary and moving theatre. (Nottingham Post)


Full Cast for YOUNG MARX


Nancy Carroll (Jenny von Westphalen), Laura Elphinstone (Nym), Eben Figueiredo (Schramm), Nicholas Burns (Willich), Tony Jayawardena (Gert “Doc” Schmidt), Miltos Yerolemou (Barthélemy), Duncan Wisbey(Fleece/Darwin), Scott Karim (Grabiner/ Singe), Alana Ramsey (Mrs Mullett), Sophie Russell (Librarian),Fode Simbo (Peter), William Troughton (Constable Crimp) and Joseph Wilkins (Sergeant Savage) join the previously announced Rory Kinnear (Marx) and Oliver Chris (Engels) in the world premiere of Young Marx, a new comedy by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Reuniting the creative team behind the smash hit One Man, Two GuvnorsYoung Marx, the opening production at The Bridge, runs from 18 October (opening night Thursday 26 October) until 31 December 2017.  Designs are by Mark Thompson with music by Grant Olding, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Arditti.

1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy.  Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss than Karl Heinrich Marx.


Young Marx will be broadcast on National Theatre Live on 7 December 2017.

London Theatre Company’s new Bridge Theatre is situated on the river by Tower Bridge and City Hall. Tickets are priced from £15 to £65 with a limited number of premium seats available.   A special allocation of £15 seats will be held for Young Bridge, a free scheme for those under 26.  The Bridge auditorium is a collaboration between Haworth Tompkins, LTC and Tait Stage Technologies – winner of two Queen’s Awards for Export. It is made of precision-engineered steel with oak finishes in a modular construction – a first of its kind – which also incorporates the air conditioning, house lights, power and data.

Listings Information

Address:                                  The Bridge Theatre, One Tower Bridge, London SE1 2SD

Box Office:                              0843 208 1846 or [email protected]

Access:                                    0333 320 0051 or [email protected]


Twitter:                                    @_bridgetheatre

Instagram:                                _bridgetheatre


STOMP Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 19 August 2017.  Reviewed by Jo Gordon & Harry Gordon 


Stomp has been banging out the beats, delighting audiences globally now for 26 years. Five STOMP companies perform across the world keeping hardware stores in business having used up 20,000 drumsticks, 40,000 brooms, 60,000 boxes of matches, 30,000 bins and 35,000 litres of black paint!

Harry (a sensory seeker who thinks loud noise could only be improved by making it louder!) and I love to tap our pens, drum a table, bang a pot and generally annoy the rest of the family with our constant noise, so we knew this was going to hit the spot for us. The set resembles something from a scrapyard. The show starts nice and quiet with a lone man and a broom making gentle sweeping noises, more and more cast members join him and the fun begins! A multitude of rhythms are beaten out on an array of everyday junkyard finds like metal sinks, ribbed pipes, shopping trolleys (the supermarket will no longer be a dull visit for us), basket balls, plastic oil drums, buckets ….. the list is endless!

There is a very clever moment where the lights are down and we are given a quieter musical moment using flip top petrol lighters, following the flames along and back again. Despite there being no dialect there is still plenty of comedy suitable for all ages and plenty of audience participation.  As the show nears the end the theatre fills with a crescendo of noise beaten out on dustbins, dustbin lids and oil drums with energetic cast members flinging themselves around like Olympian gymnasts!  It was at this point I had to hold Harry’s wheelchair down as he flung himself side to side with the beat, using his legs as drums and enjoying the fact you could feel the noise resonate through your body …. sensory seeking most defiantly accomplished!

A great show for all the family, a bunch of noise turned into something amazing.

Our House Review

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – until 19 August 2017


Our House is a simple moralistic tale based around the songs of Madness.  Its full of fun and this mainly young but talented company breathe life and fun into Tim Firth’s script.

On his 16th birthday, Jo Casey has to make a simple choice – run away or stay and face the consequences.  We then follow Jo through his adult life to see how his choices at 16 shaped his adult life.  With good Joe forever in an angelic white tracksuit and bad Joe in the black suit, red shirt combo of the devil.

The production is guided by two very strong leads. As Joe Casey, Jason Kajdi has a real presence and energy, while also bringing some lovely facial expressions for the more emotional scenes. Sophie Matthew, playing his love interest, Sarah, has the strongest singing voice of the principals, particularly letting rip in ‘N.W.5’.

Deena Payne is woefully underused in her role as Kath Casey, Joe’s mum. However Callum McArdle as his deceased father, urging Joe not to make the mistakes he did, shines throughout.  His Elvis is to be seen to be believed!

George Sampson as Reecey, constantly trying to make Joe into a criminal, shows he’s as good a singer and actor has he is a dancer and wow, can he dance as the finale shows.

Billy Roberts as Emmo, Will Haswell as Lewis, Etisyai Philip as Billie and Jessica Niles as Angie are the best friends of Sarah and Joe and help to carry the narrative with huge stage presence.

Firth cleverly weaves together the stories told by the original songs to deliver an affecting tale, including the joyous sense of community in Our House, the bitter-sweetness at the heart of It Must Be Love, a fun Driving In My Car, delivered while riding a 1950s banger, and a daft House of Fun dance sequence that lived up to that song’s silliness.  Even the biggest “Nutty Boys” fan can’t helped to be charmed by how well the story fits the music of Madness.  The choreography by Fabian Aloise is fun and energetic and respects the distinctive moves made originally by the band.  

A massive special mention must go out to the lightening quick changes made by Kajdi as he went from good Joe to bad in the space of seconds – kudos to whoever was back there helping him, you did a fabulous job.

It’s a smart and emotional piece directed with real energy and excitement, touching on subjects including love, poverty, parenthood, and how communities are pulled apart for profit.  Emotional, exhausting and full of fun – you can’t fail to leave with a smile on your face

SiX the Musical Review

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Sweet Venues, Apex Hotel – until 28 August

5**** (because I can’t give 10)

I love musical theatre and I covered the Queens of Henry VIII as part of my History degree so I knew I would love this show – and I did.

With the tag line “Divorced … Beheaded … Live”, SiX tells the story of the unfortunate wives of Henry VIII now reformed as a girl group, embarking on a world tour.   

Performed by students of the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society, this original new musical, co-written by Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow, delivers a completely unforgettable history lesson. Jamie Armitage’s choreography sees the Queens dance in both Tudor and modern day style and they are supported by a live band.  The costumes by Agnes Cameron are a modern twist of each Queens individuality and Jack Parham’s set is striking in its understatement

The Queens all compete to be the group’s lead by singing a song to show why they all suffered the most at the hands of their husband.  Catherine of Aragon (Megan Gilbert) tells us how she was thrown over after 24 years of marriage because Henry was bored.  Anne Boleyn (Ashleigh Weir) is sassy and manipulative but entertaining.  Jane Seymore (Holly Musgrave) is heart wrenchingly sad when she tells us she never had the chance to see her son grow up.  Anna of Cleeves (Matilda Wickham) was divorced because she wasn’t considered to be as beautiful as her portrait but now lives a happy quiet life of luxury.  Katherine Howard (Annabel Marlow) sings how her youth and immaturity caused her to be little more than a plaything beheaded when Henry became bored with her and Catherine Parr (Shimali de Silva) told how she loved someone else but once Henry decided he wanted her, she had to give up her man and marry him instead.

With styles of music from Adele, Ariana Grande, German techno, Beyonce and more the songs were both historically accurate and lyrically poignant, whilst completely different – giving each Queen the individuality and character she deserved.

This was the ultimate in girl power with a thoroughly deserved standing ovation at the end.  The lyrics are catchy and I’m still humming along to the show now.  I desperately hope there is a soundtrack CD to accompany the production because I would be playing it all the time.  This is a musical that deserves more than a month long run at the Fringe – this, unlike the wives, deserves a very long life

Any Suggestions, Doctor? An Improvised Adventure in Space & Time Review

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Sweet Venues, Apex Hotel – until 28 August


On our journey up the Royal Mile we were handed a flyer in the shape of a TARDIS advertising the show. My son was immediately interested, being a massive Whovian and so we got tickets and attended the show all within the space of half an hour – and what a fabulous decision we had made.

Improvisation is always a risk, there must be a level of trust with the actors in order for it all to work and thankfully Any Suggestions Doctor worked extremely well.  The team of Doctors consisted of Lewis Dunn, Harry Whittaker, James Gamblin, Charles Deane, Matthew Stallworthy and Louise Jones.  We cheered to chose the Doctor of the day and Louise won

The audience were asked to make suggestions to where the story was set with Russia and the Jungle winning.  The name of the story was drawn from a hat from suggestions made by the audience whilst in the queue to get in.  The random title was “The new Doctor is Stalin”

With music from Alex, the titles began, the TARDIS whirled across the stage and we were there.  The Doctor was in disguise as Miss Smith a History teacher who spent a lot of time in her “stationery cupboard”.  School boy Brian (Gamblin) got dragged along on an adventure when he needed to know about Soviet Russia for a test set by Mr Johnson (Whittaker).  Meanwhile in the Congo, Jeffrey (Dunn) and Trevor (Whittaker) had crash landed their plane, the only two survivors, on the way to Magaluf.  They were found in the jungle by Boris (Deane) who took them back to the camp as hostages where they were guarded by The Nightguard (Stallworthy).  After Jeffrey escapes and goes down the gold mine he lets out a hideous scream and Trevor panics.  

The Doctor is found by Boris who mistakes her for Stalin, taking her and Brian back to the camp where they learn from Trevor about Jeffrey.  The Nightguard is revealed to be a robot who is trying to destroy the gold mine to destroy all the gold under orders from the Cybermen.

The Doctor, of course, saves the day; Brian passes his History test and all ends well.  And all of this was thought up in the space of minutes.

You of course will see a totally different show and you will be as thoroughly entertained as we were.  Well worth a visit if you like Doctor Who and comedy.

Pageant Review

London Irish Centre – until 25 August.  Reviewed by Sabrina Fancy


Ever wonder what attending a real life beauty pageant feels like? Enter the comedy based on a beauty pageant aptly called- Pageant.

This musical spoof is set in the US where 6 contestants compete for the chance to be crowned as ‘ Miss Glamouresse’ (A prominent cosmetics company).

Set in the US the contestants consists include Miss Deep South, Miss West Coast, Miss Great Plains, Miss Bible Belt, Miss Texas and Miss Industrial Northeast. The contestants embody the biggest clichés and stereotypes of the areas they represent, which can be quite amusing at times! However, many of the jokes are difficult to get, unless you are quite familiar with the cultures of the various US states.

What is different about Pageant is the fact that the entire cast is played by males, and very convincingly as well!

The smarmy host and contestants of the pageant play their role with gusto and songs pepper the show as it goes through the various traditional pageant rituals, starting with the talent portion.

This section showcased each contestant (one right after another) various talents. Some of the talents were rather bizarre as opposed to amusing, including an odd puppet show, a ventriloquist and a dated interpretative dance. It dragged on and would have been far more enjoyable had it been shorter or the contests were all on stage at the same time performing almost simultaneously.

This continues with evening gown portion where the costumes are brilliant and over the top and there is lots of glitter and glam and followed by the swimsuit along with their spokes model abilities.

There is a lot of audience participation, as members from the audience are selected as the ‘judges’ and has the final say on the winner. While I have never attended a pageant, the show made me feel that I was at a real one because of glamour!

The show picks up after the interval, especially with the physical fitness routine but sadly, it’s not enough to save this ageing production. While the concept of the show is a good one, it falls short- not due to the performances which were stellar- but by the actual material which was dated and felt a bit flat as there was not nearly enough bitchiness or drama that you would expect.



In Gay Company, the stylish musical revue by Fred Silver, makes its West End debut at the Jermyn Street Theatre later this month for a limited run.

First opened off Broadway in 1974, the original production was nominated for “Best Score” by the New York Drama Critic Circle in 1975. It combines witty cabaret songs and inventive musical numbers, referencing many musical styles as diverse as Broadway, Jazz, Grand Opera, Sondheim and even a gay Gregorian chant!

The musical tells the story of four gay men and a straight woman and their experiences of life in 1960s and 1970s. At a time when same sex relationships had to be hidden for fear of recrimination, In Gay Company exposes the secret language and private relationships that became established between gay men meeting together, be they firemen, monks, ballet dancers, or simply as strangers meeting in a late-night bar.

Amongst these four men is one single lonely lady, who keeps thinking she has found her perfect match — a man so sensitive, so charming and bright… but in the end he turns out to be… well there is only one word for it… Gay!

Directed by Darren Royston, Musical Direction by Tom Wakeley and produced by Tom Wakeley and Philip Noel, the new production stars Matthew Boyd, Kelly Burke, James Hodgson, David Pendlebury and Gary Tushaw.

The show runs from Wednesday 16th to Friday 18th August 7:30pm – Saturday 19th matinee only at 5:00pm.

Musical Director Tom Wakeley said: “It is a true labour of love to bring In Gay Company to the West End stage. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act it is a perfect time to look back on life in a very different age!”

For tickets please click here:

Or call the Jermyn Street Theatre Box Office: 020 7287 2875.

Box office opening hours:

 1.00pm-9.00pm (Mon/Fri)

              1.00pm – 9.00pm Saturday
1.00pm – 7.00pm Sunday (if there is a performance)

There is a 24 hour answerphone available at all other times.

Tickets are £20.00 (£17.00 concessions).