Weekend Rockstars (Underbelly, Sunday 8th August 2015) *****


It was the end of my third day and I’d had two late nights, so why not a third?

This is a piece by Luke Barnes who is an exciting young playwright and the author of Chapel Street and Visitor. Barnes’ writing and Middle Child’s energetic performance is thoroughly entertaining.

The production is a mix of dialogue and music, telling the story of Terry who is living through the worst week of his life. Each day gets worse, but as the weekend arrives, Terry is going to be a rockstar. Though Terry loses his girl, his job and more, there is a positive, optimistic feel and ending to the piece.

I was enthralled by the lead singer’s performance as Terry. He had a habit of making eye contact which drew me into the piece.

When I went to see this, early in the run, the audience was sparse. Maybe it was the venue and the slot combined, but I hope word spreads and more people get to see this show.

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My verdict: *****

Blake Remixed (Underbelly, Friday 7th August 2015) ****

Testament is a beatboxer and rapper who fuses together hip hop and Blake. It feels like a very odd combination at first, but Testament is so charming and engaging that he takes you with him in a complex performance. Here we have Testament’s own personal story, an analysis of Blake’s poetry, as well as the story of hip hop.

At first glance, it might not seem that an eighteenth-century poet and hip hop are a good combination, but Testament begins with a lovely commentary on the eighteenth century. This is clearly a commentary on today as well as the eighteenth century, and we can see that Blake’s work has some relevance today.

The production is visually stunning as well as an aural delight. The clever use of digital media presents images associated with  Blake’s poetry provide a visually stunning backdrop. The mix of rap and Blake’s poetry performed with such energy is exciting and engaging.

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My verdict: ****

Where Do Little Birds Go (Underbelly, Friday 7th August 2015) ****

Jessica Butcher plays Lucy who worked as a hostess in the Winston Club in the sixties. The narrative is of Lucy’s move from club hostess to sex worker and builds to a kidnap which results in Lucy being imprisoned in the Kray twins’ garage with a murderer on the run.

The performance was a mix of monologue and song, and Butcher was able to engage the audience throughout the hour.  The story is both menacing and touching at the same time.  It has elements of love in it, particularly Lucy’s relationship with her ‘Uncle’.  The scenes in the garage are horrific and the abuse is particularly disturbing.  However, I was left at the end of the production feeling that Lucy’s life would turn out well in the end.

The production portrays a real sense of the sixties and I got a feel for the geography of London.  The performance is really able to capture the sense of place and mood of the era.

Overall, I thought that this was fantastic production and well worth seeing.

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My verdict: ****