When the feminine meets the masculine: Libby King (Elvis) and Kristen Sieh (Teddy). Photo credit Sue Kessler
Theatre: Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court
Playwrights: Rachel Chavkin, Libby King, Jake Margolin and Kristen Sieh
Director: Rachel Chavkin
Review by Esha Chaman
RoosevElvis is a mind-bending journey of self-discovery, where introverted Ann finds herself travelling to Graceland with two unlikely companions – Theodore Roosevelt and Elvis Presley.
Praising in the name of donations: Monica Dolan (Megan) and Vanessa Babirye (Nurse). Photo credit Manuel Harlan
Theatre: Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court
Play: Plaques and Tangles
Playwright: Nicola Wilson
Director: Lucy Morrison
Review by Irenosen Okojie
There’s been a recent onslaught of plays (and films) about the ageing process. Alzheimer’s appears to be a particularly popular way to explore loss, memory and how we grapple with growing old, which leads us nicely to Nicola Wilson’s play Plaques and Tangles.
Natalie Ibu photo credit: Robert Day
Natalie Ibu is making waves as artistic director at the British African theatre company tiata fahodzi, established 18 years ago by Femi Elufowoju, Jr. Born in Scotland of mixed heritage with a first class honours degree in theatre with arts management, Ibu always knew that theatre was her calling. Despite only being in her early 30s, she has a CV of a seasoned veteran. Her directing credits cover a diverse range of theatres, from the Young Vic and Riverside Studios to The Vineyard Theatre (New York) and Nottingham Playhouse. As well as being a dramaturg, she completed a year’s residency at the Royal Court as a trainee director in 2009, is a former programme manager at the Roundhouse, was creative producer for Only Connect and was the inaugural associate director (Warehouse) for HighTide Festival Productions in 2011/2012.
Photo credit Mark Douet
Actor, director and playwright Lucian Msamati could be described as a polymath. Born in the UK, he was brought up in Zimbabwe where he studied French and Portuguese at university before pursuing his dream of acting by establishing the acclaimed Over the Edge Theatre Company with his friends. Since relocating to the UK he has acted widely in the theatre, such as Fabulation (Tricycle), Death and the King’s Horseman (National) and Clybourne Park (Royal Court). He is also a TV regular with appearances in BBC1’s Luther and The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency right through to the acclaimed Game of Thrones, and on the big screen, including The International and Richard II.
Praising in the name of donations: The cast of A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes. Photo credit Mark Douet
Theatre: Tricycle Theatre
Play: A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes
Playwright: Marcus Gardley
Director: Indhu Rubasingham
Review by Joy Francis
French playwright Molière’s 17th century morality tale Tartuffe (The Imposter) has been modernised, refurbished and relocated to Tennessee, USA, in Marcus Gardley’s energetic, farcical and wonderfully provocative A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes.
Thinking about the future: Nala (Ava Brennan) and Simba (Jonathan Andrew Hume). Photo Credit Johan Persson
Despite most of my nieces and nephews, along with their parents, having made their merry way to see The Lion King over the years, I had yet to take the plunge. Far from being a sign of avoidance, other shows have competed for and captured my interest with greater success.
Film: 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets
Director: Marc Silver
Producers: Minette Nelson, Carolyn Hepburn
Distributed by: Dogwoof Films
Review by Awra Tewolde-Berhan
Marc Silver’s gripping documentary 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, is like a thriller and serves as a painful reminder of how a fleeting moment can destroy a life. In this case, the tragic murder of an African American teenager, 17 year old Jordan Davis, at the hands of a white middle aged man called Michael Dunn, on 23 November 2012.
Daphne Kapsali took a big risk. She left her job, gave up her flat, escaped London and flew to the remote Greek island of Sifnos. Kapsali had it in her head to write a novel in 100 days. When that failed to materialise she started writing a blog to help her get started. That blog attracted followers who then responded positively to her Kickstarter appeal to raise funds to self publish her book 100 Days of Solitude.
Trouble on the horizon: Jennifer Saayeng (Ree) and Allyson Ava-Brown (Bo). Photo Credit Robert Day.
Theatre: Theatre Royal Stratford East
Play: The Etienne Sisters
Playwright: Che Walker
Director: Che Walker
Review by Joy Francis
Female sibling rivalry, festering resentments and grief are all on bold display in Che Walker’s latest musical endeavour The Etienne Sisters.
No longer forgotten: Paterson Joseph as Charles Ignatius Sancho. Photo credit: Robert Day
Paterson Joseph is one of the most familiar faces on TV, yet you would be hard pressed to see him on a chat show – out of choice. His penchant for choosing unusual roles has seen him star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton in The Beach, Jill Scott and David Oyelowo in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and Charlize Theron in Æon Flux. He caused farcical mayhem in the award-winning comedy classic Green Wing, and in My Shakespeare he went back to his old stomping ground, in Harlesden, to work with young people to stage a production of Romeo and Juliet as part of a Channel 4 documentary. Paterson’s chameleon-like quality is being called upon again, this time in his one-man show, Sancho: An Act of Remembrance, about Charles Ignatius Sancho.
Dona Croll is an acting stalwart. With appearances on TV, stage and screen, she has sustained a successful career and doesn’t shy away from politics. Born in Jamaica to a lay preacher father and reverend mother, Croll came to England at five years old. Her love of acting was encouraged at grammar school and she hasn’t looked back. From comedy (Gimme Gimme), theatre (All My Sons, Twelfth Night) to soaps (Family Affairs), drama (Ice Cream Girls) and film (Maderlay, Eastern Promises), Croll’s versatility is self evident.