Review of the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s production of Maxine Peake’s Beryl at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. March 2016
Beryl Burton is the cycling superstar that you’ve probably never heard of. British All Round champion for 25 consecutive years from 1959 to 1983, she held every national title (at one point simultaneously), won seven world titles, and her 1967 record for the 12 hour time trial is unbeaten to this day.
Maxine Peake’s Beryl is an entertaining celebration of this extraordinary woman’s life, told with a cast of just four, in a series of short scenes linked by narration. There’s humour as well as drama, as we go from Beryl’s childhood in Leeds and her marriage to Charlie, to the years when she was the all-conquering champion of the road and track. Samantha Power captures Beryl’s single-minded dedication to becoming the very best, and her refusal to give up, whatever the odds. Continue reading
Review of the production at Woking Theatre in February 2016. Published in Essential Surrey.
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is a breathtaking visual feast from start to finish, an incredibly rich box of delights that oughtn’t to be missed.
Bourne has reimagined Tchaikovsky’s ballet as a dark gothic tale that starts in a fin de siecle royal household of servants and garden parties, and comes right up to date with its final scenes in a neon-lit nightclub. There are new characters and a new narrative structure that allows Bourne to take the old fairy tale and inject humour, wit, elegance and sex, and combine classical ballet with variations inspired by 20th century dance styles. There are even vampires (yes, really). Continue reading
This review originally appeared on the Sheengate Publishing site. The production ran from 7-14 November 2015.
King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedies. Old men make fatal misjudgements, the younger generation are corrupted by ambition and the blackest parts of human character are revealed. Nature itself seems to rise in rebellion, but love and loyalty offer hope, and through suffering comes the wisdom to see the truth and the goodness of the human spirit. Continue reading