Omnibus Theatre – until 25 February 2024

Review by Mandi Riggi


A Family Business” attempts to blend a TED Talk-style lecture with audience interaction, interspersed with uninspiring and expositional reenacted drama. Unfortunately, it falls short in effectively conveying the true story behind the creation of The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Written and energetically performed by Chris Thorpe, the play aims to jolt us into recognising the imminent threat of nuclear annihilation. However, this wake-up call lacks the necessary dramatic impact and only mildly stimulates thought.

Thorpe’s commendable attempt to make the subject interesting and accessible is evident in his passionate delivery and dry humour. The demonstrations of the size, scale, and destructive consequences of nuclear weapons are impactful. The incorporation of real-life tragedies, such as the Beirut explosion, is thoughtfully presented. However, the dramatisation of conversations lacks genuine conflict, the characters feel flat, and the scenes border on tedium. As a result, it fails to create a sense of urgency or emotional investment in the audience.

The use of surtitles, intended to enhance accessibility and translation, comes across as a gimmick rather than a meaningful addition to the performance. The projections that tally the number of countries ratifying and signing the treaty lack suspense, especially when the outcome is already known.

On a positive note, Eleanor Field’s set design effectively conveys a sense of connection through its twisted wires and plug sockets. It is one of the few elements of the show that leaves a lasting impression.

In conclusion, “A Family Business” disappoints in fulfilling its promises and falls short of being a truly impactful piece of theatre. It struggles to effectively engage the audience.

Varna International Ballet present Sleeping Beauty Review

Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton – until 23rd February 2024 then touring the UK

Review by Amanda Allen


People go to see a classic ballet for several reasons, many because they know the story, are familiar with the music and therefore have some expectation of what they will be seeing. Raymond Gubbay’s presentation of Sleeping Beauty did not disappoint. Varna International Ballet Company, formed in 1947 and based in Bulgaria, are currently touring the UK with 3 classic Ballet productions, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. With dancers from all over the world plus a full orchestra, I highly recommend that you try and see one of the performances. I was privileged to see Sleeping Beauty at Northampton Derngate Theatre and found myself transported to a fairytale world of childhood stories, beautiful costumes, and wonderful dancing. Presented with minimal staging, you were fully immersed in the performance of the dancers throughout the show, so every character was fully seen and part of the story telling whilst on stage.

This version of Sleeping Beauty, with its wonderful Tchaikovsky score conducted by Peter Tuleshkov, is packed with terrific choreography and technical expertise which fans of pure, classic ballet will love. Princess Aurora played by Andres Conforti was effortlessly graceful, executing the choreography with style, poise, grace and a great deal of stamina! Supported well by the fabulous Mirko Andreutti as Prince Desire who seemed to defy gravity flying across the stage.

For me the standout performance of the night was one of the more minor roles, that of the White Cat, played so well by Agnese Di Dio Masa, she fully embraced the character of the cat alongside Matthias Andreu Gluck playing Puss in Boots and stole the show with perfect comic timing in every move, keeping fully in character right to the curtain call at the end of the performance. Another standout performer was that of the Lilac Fairy played by Mara Salvaggio, one of the main and most important roles in the ballet, she executed her part with perfection, consistently well throughout the entire show.

I was a little disappointed in the performance of the Queen played by Giulia Visalli. Although not a large dancing part, she, along with the King, played by Sam Darwell, is integral to the telling of the story, sadly she seemed a little disconnected from the cast when sat side of stage watching, or rather not watching, the fairies and courtiers dancing. Even when just sat on the side of the stage you are still part of the overall performance, and someone will be watching you.

The costumes were a delight, each one fitting the character of the dancers, full of colour and movement. I overheard another audience member claim that the cloak worn by Carabosse, played with wonderful evil intent by Konsta Roos, deserved 5* rating on its own! The only thing I didn’t like with the costumes was the dresses of the courtiers, I wish they had been 200mm shorter so we could see their feet when they danced.

With all round good ballet, a great orchestral performance, good staging and costume I would highly recommend you try and get a ticket if Varna International are at a theatre near you.

Bouncers Review

Grand Theatre, Blackpool – until 24 February 2024

Reviewed by Debra Skelton


If you’re looking for a night of laughter, then Bouncers presented by The John Godber Company will definitely provide that for you with corny jokes and tasteful vulgarity and can be seen at The Grand Theatre Blackpool tonight so get those tickets booked now.

Bouncers is not a new play, having been written and originally premiered in 1977 at the Edinburgh festival and due to its success, is still one of the most performed plays in the UK today which I can truly believe. It perfectly references the songs and the foolish, outrageous behaviours of any Friday or Saturday night out around the country in most towns and cities during the 80’s with particular reference in this production to the disco’s up north in Yorkshire. To be honest, some of the behaviours are still playing out of a weekend in night clubs even now.

The performance itself, tells the story of one night in a Yorkshire nightclub (Mr Cinders) through the eyes of the ever-watching bouncers Lucky Eric, Judd, Les, and Ralph. However, this is not the only perspective that we see, they also portray different interesting characters in particular the girls and the boys getting ready and hitting the clubs.

As expected from comments provided by friends who have been lucky enough to see previous performances, it did live upto expectations with a slick, smooth and hilarious production which left not only myself but most of the audience nodding in agreement with a wry smile on our faces, remembering a time when the descriptions playing out in front of us belonged to our own selves and the weekend activities of a carefree time.

The four fabulous actors that you will have the pleasure of seeing are Frazer Hammill (Lucky Eric), Tom Whittaker (Ralph), Nick Figgis (Judd) and George Reid (Les). Their ability in flipping characters was incredible and they did truly deserve the rapturous applause at the end of the performance.

Wish You Weren’t Here Review

Soho Theatre Upstairs – until 2nd March 2024

Reviewed by Celia Armand Smith


When writer Katie Redford created Wish You Weren’t Here in collaboration with the Theatre Centre, she held workshops with the hundreds of teenagers and young people. They were asked about their interests, concerns, loves, and losses, and while the big issues like climate change and gender were raised, they always came back to the relationships between them and their mums. This formed the foundation for Wish You Weren’t Here – a teenage girl and her mum.

Lorna (Eleanor Henderson) and Mila (Olivia Pentelow) are in Scarborough to celebrate Mila’s GCSE results, and to relive memories from the near and distant past. Mila’s recollections centre around spending time on the beach with her Nan, so it’s only right that, much to the surprise of her mum, she whip out a sandwich bag of her Nan’s ashes in a Wetherspoons. Lorna remembers teenage romances with Jez/Jaz/Baz at the arcade and hopes to reignite that particular flame. The pair navigate what it is to be a responsible teenager and a mum who just wants to have fun, social media use, politics, body image, and the expectations of parent child relationships.

Mila is sulky and sarcastic and would rather be with her mates celebrating in London, and Lorna is a call centre worker resentful of her friends who all have newborns and perfect Instagram lives. The relationship is mirrored yet fractured, and full of love and pain. Under the direction of Rob Watt, Henderson and Pentelow are hilarious, touching, and heartbreaking in their portrayal of the mother and daughter. The set designed by Bethany Wells is minimal but clever, using different height platforms that stand in for tables, beds, cliff tops and dance machines, and three TV screens playing snippets of the news and scenes from beaches and arcades. Perfect for when the play tours schools.

The teenage role is so well researched that instead of being the one voice of a kid struggling with with life, it’s the suffering of a whole generation. A weight that is at times too huge for this one hour play. It is however refreshing that young people are given an authentic voice that is often assumed and outdated in this enjoyable play about the complexities of family ties.









The Producers today announce performance dates and on sale for the new production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, directed by James Macdonald, starring Lucian Msamati (Estragon) and Ben Whishaw (Vladimir). Waiting for Godot will play a limited run at Theatre Royal Haymarket from 13 September until 14 December 2024

Tickets go on general sale today with 25,000 tickets across the run priced at £25 and under, spread throughout the house, of which 5,000 are held for under 30s and key workers

Lucian Msamati said, “The wait has been worth it!  I look forward to making merry mischief with James Macdonald for the first time and a too long overdue reunion with the creative brilliance and genuine spirit that is Ben Whishaw”.

Ben Whishaw said, “When I was 18 I was doing an art foundation course in Bedford and went one night with a friend to London to see a play that was part of a season of plays by Samuel Beckett at the Barbican Theatre. The play was Waiting for Godot. The next day I dropped out of my art course, having decided I wanted to study acting instead. I am unbelievably thrilled and excited – and a little terrified too – to be having this chance to perform Beckett’s utterly radical and incredibly beautiful play. It has haunted me since that night 25 years ago. And to get to do it with Lucian Msamati and James Macdonald … well, that’s just a dream”.

Kate Horton, Fictionhouse, said, “We hope as many people as possible will have the chance to experience this production and be inspired by the trail-blazing play,  Waiting for Godot. So I’m delighted that we have 25,000 tickets for £25 and under available across the run, including 5,000 tickets particularly for under 30s and key workers.”

Also announced today are Rae Smith (Set and Costume Design) and Amy Ball (Casting CDG) joining the creative team, with further casting and creatives to be announced.

Didi and Gogo wait by a tree for a man named Godot. They don’t know who he is, why they are meeting or what time he is coming – only that something incredible could happen when he does…

“Let us do something, while we have the chance… at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it before it is too late!” 

Don’t miss the play that changed the rules. Waiting for Godot opens at the historic Theatre Royal Haymarket for a strictly limited run from September 2024.

Lucian Msamati plays Estragon.Theatre credits include Master Harold and the BoysAmadeusMa Rainey’s Black Bottom (National Theatre), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes (The Tricycle), Othello (RSC), Little Revolution (Almeida Theatre), The Amen Corner (National Theatre), If You Don’t Let us Dream We Won’t Let You A SleepBelong (Royal Court), Comedy of Errors (National Theatre), Clybourne Park (Royal Court/West End), Ruined (Almeida Theatre), Death and The Kings Horsman (National Theatre), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Lyric Hammersmith), 1807- The First Act (Shakespeare’s Globe), Pericles (RSC), The Overwhelming (National Theatre), Walk HardFabulationGem Of The Ocean (The Tricycle), Who Killed Mr Drum (Riverside), President of An Empty Room (National Theatre), Twelfth Night (Sheffield Crucible), Mourning Becomes Electra (National Theatre), I.D. (Almeida Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (The Dancehouse, Manchester), The Taming of the Shrew (Bath Shakespeare Festival), Born African (Arthur Seaton Theatre, New York), Twelfth Night (Neuss Globe Theatre, Germany), Fade to Black (Harare International Festival of Arts), Eternal Peace Asylum (American Repertory Theatre), LootUrfaust (Reps Theatre), Rocky Horror Picture Show (Seven Arts Theatre) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (NTO Zimbawbe). Television credits include  Gangs of London (2 Seasons), Chemistry of DeathDark MaterialsBlack Earth RisingKiriPhilip K Dick’s Electric DreamsTabooGeorge GentlyLutherGame of ThronesDeath in ParadiseRichard IIINo.1 Ladies Detective AgencyDr WhoAshes To AshesSpooks, Just Like Ronaldinho, Ultimate ForceToo Close for ComfortThe Knock and Heads and Tales. Film credits include ConclaveBreaking PointThe Good LiarThe SeekersThe InternationalCoffinLegend of the SkyKingdomDr Juju and Lumumba. Radio credits include: An Elegy For EasterlyMugabe: God’s PresidentThe Jero PlaysThe Homecoming, Seventh Street and Alchemy and Colours.

Lucian is a founder member of Zimbabwe’s Over the Edge theatre company and former Artistic Director of Tiata Fahodzi.

Ben Whishaw plays Vladimir. Ben is a multi award-winning British actor. His notable film credits include the role of Q in Skyfall, Spectre and No Time To Die; the voice of Paddington in Paddington and Paddington 2;  Perfume: The Story of a Murderer; Jane Campion’s Bright StarCloud Atlas; Tom Hooper’s multi award-winning The Danish GirlThe Lobster; in the role of Mr. Banks in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns; Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield; Alice Englert’s Bad Behaviour with Jennifer Connelly; and Passages with Franz Rogowski and Adèle Exarchopoulos. We last saw Ben in Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, alongside Claire Foy and Frances McDormand, for which he was nominated for a Satellite Award, a Hollywood Critics Association Film Award and longlisted for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor.

It has been announced that he will reprise his role as the voice of the titular bear in Paddington in Peru and last year, he wrapped filming Limonov, The Ballad of Eddie in Russia and Latvia, in which he stars as Eduard Limonov. He’ll star in the short film, Good Boy, the directorial debut of Tom Stuart with the support of Gia Coppola.

Ben’s TV credits include his role as Norman Scott in the mini-series A Very English Scandal opposite Hugh Grant. This performance saw Ben recognised with a Golden Globe forBest Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or Motion Picture Made for Television,along with a Primetime Emmy Award and a BAFTA. Criminal Justice, The HourFargo and a BAFTA award-winning performance in The Hollow Crown. He starred in the lead role of This Is Going To Hurt, the series adaptation of Adam Kay’s bestselling novel, for which he won Leading Actor in the 2023 BAFTA TV Awards along with Outstanding Performance in a New Series at the 2022 Gotham Awards and winning in the Best Actor category at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. Ben was nominated for numerous awards as well including Best Actor by the TV Choice Awards; a Critic’s Choice Awards for Best Actor In A Limited Series or Movie Made For Television and a Gold Derby Award for Limited / Movie Actor.

He is currently filming Black Doves (Netflix) and is starring alongside Keira Knightley and Sarah Lancashire.

Ben’s theatre credits have included Mojo (Harold Pinter Theatre), Peter and Alice (Noel Coward), Some Trace of Her and The Seagull (National Theatre), Leaves of Glass (Soho Theatre), Hamlet (Old Vic), Julius Caesar (The Bridge Theatre) and The Crucible (on Broadway).

Waiting for Godot is produced by Kate Horton for Fictionhouse and Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen for Access Entertainment, in association with Kate Pakenham Productions.



Theatre Royal Haymarket

13 September – 14 December 2024


Instagram: GodotWestEnd

Facebook: GodotWestWest

X: GodotWestEnd

Monday – Saturday,  7:30pm

Wednesday and Saturday, 2:30pm

Tickets from £15





Pascal Productions today announces the UK and English Language première of Wendy Beckett’s Sappho – a new play inspired by the famous Greek poet integrating the original poetry with contemporary music and dance. Sappho’s English adaptation will première at Southwark Playhouse Elephant on 8 May, with previews from 3 May and run to 25 May.

The original Greek production premièred in Hydrama Theatre in August 2022 before touring to Andros, Delphi and Rhodes. Wendy Beckett and Adam Fitzgerald co-direct both making their UK directorial debuts. They lead a multi-national creative team with Halcyon PrattFotis Diamantopoulos, and Mehdi Bourayou all transferring with the production from Greece.

Wendy Beckett said today, “For three millennia Sappho’s life and her sexuality has been debated and refuted among scholars. Legends and fables have sprung up at the mere mention of her name. Never has a poet held such a status disproportionate to the size of her surviving work, which is what inspired me to write this play! It is an adult fairy tale about a great, seminal artist who has inspired women everywhere. To be able to bring her alive again at Southwark Playhouse Elephant is a great honour.”

Adam Fitzgerald added, “We are thrilled to now be bringing Sappho to the London stage after our Greek production. It is such a joy to continue this play with artists from around the globe – Australia, Greece, France, and the U.S. – and joining a fantastic team here in the UK Sappho is a queer icon, a history-making LGBTQ+ superstar, and we are honoured to be sharing her story, embodied by British actors and dancers on the beautiful new stage at Southwark Playhouse Elephant.”

Pascal Productions presents


Written by Wendy Beckett

3 May – 25 May

Directed by: Wendy Beckett and Adam Fitzgerald; Set Designer: Halcyon Pratt; Costume Designer: Pavlos Thanopoulos; Choreographer: Fotis Diamantopoulos; Lighting Designer: Adam King; Composer and Sound Designer: Mehdi Bourayou; Casting Director: Nicholas Hockaday; General Management: Paul Virides Productions

Poet. Lover. Legend.

Fusing ancient poetry with modern music, Greek chorus with circus and contemporary dance, Sappho is a thrilling adult fairy tale of mythic proportions that may – or may not – have happened.

We are somewhere between imagination and 6th century BC on the Greek island of Lesbos. Poetess Sappho creates worlds out of her words: rewriting the rules of both her art form and her gender. Socrates calls her work beautiful, Plato describes her as the tenth Muse, and many think her work rivals even that of Homer’s Iliad.

Sappho has fallen in love with a woman but her family and a civilization on the precipice of democracy have other ideas for her. The defiantly spirited Sappho comes under fire, and soon she must decide whether to marry a man for the advancement of her society, or remain true to her own words – and her authentic self.

Expect dancing, passion, poetry and plenty of queer joy as Pascal Productions’ epic international hit finally storms the London stage.

Wendy Beckett writes and co-directs. She has written over twenty–five plays and directed more than fifty. She has also written biographies, radio plays, books, librettos, and academic articles. On ABC radio she interviewed some of the most important minds of our time – including Gore Vidal, Leonard Bernstein and Paul Bowles. Her academic background includes psychology, philosophy, literature and she has lectured on these subjects at many Australian Universities. She has travelled her works all over the world including performances in Sydney, New York, Paris, Tokyo, and throughout Greece.

Adam Fitzgerald co-directs. He is a writer, director, filmmaker, and content creator whose work has been recognized with an Emmy Nomination, Critic’s Picks from The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, TimeOut Chicago and TimeOut New York, Best of the Year nods in The Advocate Magazine and The Contra Costa Times, a Jeff Award Nomination, and San Francisco Bay Area Critics’ Award nominations. His writing has been published by the Huffington Post and Thomson Reuters Foundation & Openly; and his short film, Occupy Me (director/writer) has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube. Fitzgerald directed RESISTANCE RADIO for Man in the High Castle (Amazon Studios) which was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy Award and received two Silver and three Bronze Lions at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and the short film Dividends, which won Best Director at the New York Film Awards.

Fotis Diamantopoulos choreographs. (AidaTraviata) for the Greek National Opera House. He is currently working as a ballet master and assistant choreographer with the National opera ballet and school.

Mehdi Bourayou composes (Est-ce que j’ai une gueule d’Arletty which received two Molières including best Musical)



Southwark Playhouse Elephant

1 Dante Place, London SE11 4RX

Box Office: 020 7407 0234

3 May – 25 May

Pioneers Preview (3 May): £10

Preview Tickets: £16

Full Price Tickets from: £22

Concession Tickets from: £17

Long Live the People’s Princess! – Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story returns to London | Kings Head Theatre, 17th April – 5th May 2024

Awkward Productions’ cult hit
Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story
returns to London
Wednesday 17th April – Sunday 5th May 2024
Kings Head Theatre, 116 Upper Street, London N1 1QN

The People’s Princess is returning to the capital. Fresh from a sold-out run of their viral hit Gwyneth Goes Skiing, Awkward Productions will continue to take London by storm with Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story playing at the new Kings Head Theatre from 17th April to 5th May 2024.

After a sold-out Edinburgh Fringe run, a UK tour and a big night out at The Clapham Grand in 2023, the most unhinged piece of theatre in existence (Broadway Baby) makes its triumphant return to London. Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story uniquely combines drag, multimedia, audience interaction, puppetry and queer joy for an unforgettable, untrue experience.

A cult-hit with audiences for its unique audience participation and staggeringly camp portrayal of the royals, the show highlights Diana’s ground-breaking stances on social and queer issues and allows her to finally speak her (un)truth and break free from the monarchy. Told by Diana from heaven, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story foregrounds this iconic royal as the powerful, independent woman she wasn’t meant to be

Awkward Productions comment, This is our first run in London since the show opened – and the journey we’ve been on since has been nothing short of Diconic. We’re beyond thrilled that queer icon Diana will be at London’s home of queer performance, King’s Head Theatre, to meet outrage and inspire her audiences – or should I say her Di-hards?

Praise for Awkward Productions’ work:

Overflowing with irony, hilarity and queerness, and is a joyful watch from beginning to end – The Skinny, ★★★★★

Perfectly imagined and brought to life on stage with vision and heaps of silliness – The National, ★★★★★

Outrageous triumph – Edgar Wright

Chaos Unleashed with New West End Cast for The Play That Goes Wrong









The Play That Goes Wrong, the Olivier and Tony Award-winning smash hit, which this year celebrates its 10 year anniversary in the West End, announces a brand new cast at the Duchess Theatre in London, and a new booking period until Sunday 4 May 2025.

The new cast, many of whom are making their West End debuts, are:  Jordan Akkaya as Trevor, Daniel Anthony as Dennis, Joe Bolland as Jonathan, Daniel Fraser as Chris, Billie Hamer as Annie, Owen Jenkins as Robert, Jay Olpin as Max and Hannah Sinclair Robinson as Sandra.  The understudies are:  Alex BirdMunashe ChirisaColm GleesonDumile Sibanda and Alice Stokoe.  Their first performance is on Tuesday 9 April 2024.

The Play That Goes Wrong opened at the Duchess Theatre in September 2014, and this year celebrates its 10th year in the West End.  The production shows no signs of slowing down since its first performance at The Old Red Lion with only four paying customers.   Its achievements to date include:

  • Whatsonstage Award for Best New Comedy in 2014
  • Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2015
  • Tony Award for the Broadway Transfer
  • Performing to over 3.5 million people round the world in every continent except Antarctica.

The Play That Goes Wrong is co-written by Mischief company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields and is directed by Mark Bell, with set designs by Nigel Hook, costumes by Roberto Surace, lighting by Ric Mountjoy, original music by Rob Falconer, sound design by Andy Johnson, the associate director is Amy Milburn  and the assistant director is Anna Marshall. The Play That Goes Wrong is produced in the West End by Kenny Wax Ltd and Stage Presence Ltd.

Further information about Mischief’s The Play that Goes Wrong in the West End 10th anniversary celebrations will be announced in due course.

Phoenix Dance Theatre: Belonging: Loss, Legacy, Love Review

Leeds Playhouse – until 23February then on tour

Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood


Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Belonging: Loss, Legacy, Love, part of the Spring Tour, opens at the Leeds Playhouse under the artistic direction of Marcus J Willis. The triple bill primarily focuses on human experiences and nuances connecting to loss, legacy and love. The company is renowned for its contemporary dance and its repertoire that represent the unique and diverse communities today.

The programme opens with Dane Hurst’s Requiem (Excerpts), based on Mozart’s composition, which is taken from the production, Requiem: Journeys of the Soul which was co-produced with Opera North and premiered last year for Leeds 2023: Year of Culture. This production poignantly and sublimely explores the emotional response to grieving and loss particularly during the COVID-19 Pandemic and its massive impact worldwide.

Miguel Altunaga’s Cloudburst, musically composed by David Preston, follows and focuses on legacy. Cloudburst is part of a dance film for its first ever digital programme in 2021. This was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic where the theatres were closed but dance and performance carries on. Cloudburst is influentially set to Yoruba and Afro-Cuban ancestry, culture, rituals and traditions. Homage is paid to those who lost their lives during the pandemic and how their legacies still live on societally, mythologically, and spiritually.

The third piece of work is Willis’ Terms of Agreement which primarily examines love and what defines true love. The work explores how one agrees and negotiates the terms of love through an emotional kaleidoscope. A wide range of different scenes and scenarios, individually and collectively, are projected in response to the definition of love and its truth. The performance is set to Tomos O’Sullivan’s writing composition and a wide range of music by popular artists is played to reflect the ambiences and moods.

The company of dancers responds emotionally and evocatively to all the pieces of work that have been presented on stage. The dynamic, emotional and intricate interpretations are the responses to the human experiences and how they resonate universally today. Under the choreographic direction of Willis, the performances of the works in the programme are very well put together which constitutes an excellent evening of dance.

My Beautiful Launderette Review

Curve Theatre Leicester – until 24th February 2024

Reviewed by Amarjeet Singh


I was lucky enough to be able to catch Nikolai Fosters rendition of Hanif Kureishi’s iconic and ground-breaking screenplay which was brought to Curve in 2019, and was blown away by it. Nicole Behan’s interpretation of My Beautiful Laundrette unfortunately did not have the same impact. Set in South London during the Thatcher years, it’s a gritty tale of forbidden love between Omar and Johnny, divided by colour, culture, class, crime, and crisis, can they find a way to connect despite these barriers.

Kureishi’s writing is poetic, hard hitting and is presented against original music composed by the Pet Shop Boys’ along with additional music from the 80’s, but the balance of this is off, in this production because the space was quite claustrophobic. The set was crammed full of various pieces, so the scene changes were fast and choppy. There was not enough time to appreciate the music and the ‘down time’, absorbing stillness and movement. There was not enough time to fully absorb the end of the last scene, the music, the moment and then move into another.

Hareet Deol was excellent as Salim, smarmy, sleazy and thoroughly unlikable. Kammy Darweish played Uncle Nasser with aplomb, booming boisterously until his luck runs out. Gordon Warnecke plays the role of Papa with pathos; all were reprising previous roles with relish. Lucca Chadwick-Patel’s portrayal of Omar lacked authenticity; word perfect I struggled to understand where his emotions lay in relation to his characters journey. Sam Mitchell played Johnny to perfection, every nuance and facial expression was spot on.

My Beautiful Laundrette is an important and relevant piece of theatre. It can and will endure. There were some stand out moments in this production. The fight scenes were impressive and there were some tender moments, but they were fleeting for what is essentially a complex love story