In the latest of a monthly series of Mischief Theatre post-show talks in the West End, I’ll return to the Vaudeville Theatre, where, following Groan Ups, the company’s year-long season of new work continues with a brand-new ‘goes wrong’ comedy.
Created with magic legends Penn & Teller, Mischief Theatre conjure up an evening of grand illusion in Magic Goes Wrong. In the next ‘Goes Wrong’ comedy to hit the West End, the original Mischief company play a hapless gang of magicians presenting a charity event. As the accidents spiral out of control, so does their fundraising target!
The Magic Goes Wrong cast features original Mischief Theatre’s Bryony Corrigan (as Spitzmaus), Roxy Faridany (Eugenia), Dave Hearn (The Blade), Henry Lewis (Mind Mangler), Henry Shields (Sophisticato), Jonathan Sayer (Mickey) and Nancy Zamit (Bear). The cast is completed by Natasha Culley, Laurence Pears, Sydney K Smith and Liv Spencer.
The new comedy is written by Mischief’s Jonathan Sayer, Henry Lewis and Henry Shields with Penn & Teller, directed by Adam Meggido, with set design by Will Bowen, costumes by Roberto Surace, lighting by David Howe and sound by Paul Groothuis, music by Steve Brown, movement by Ali James, video and projection by Duncan McLean, with Ben Hart as magic consultant and Hannay Sharkey as associate director.
How much responsibility should journalists take for the words they write? Are we all ‘citizen journalists’ now? How much responsibility should we take for the information we share and the arguments we make online?
In world premiere drama For the Sake of Argument, written and directed by Harry Darell, Eleanor Hickock is a passionate and argumentative polemical journalist who becomes the Iraq War’s chief evangelist. For her, conversations are a battleground and words are tools for manipulation.
Eleanor’s stance on the US-UK led 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein persuades one young reader, Mark, to enlist. When Mark’s mother seeks out the journalist who convinced her son to die for his country, sparks fly and violent confrontations ensue. Eleanor is faced with a family in mourning and is asked to answer for it.
This hard-hitting new play interrogates the power and danger of language. In our world of clickbait and instantaneous reaction on social media, people formulate entire beliefs based on 240 characters and the headlines of pieces they’ve barely read. This play looks to promote the value of compassion and understanding, highlighting the dangers of flippantly taking radical positions on important issues. It encourages patience rather than knee-jerk reaction.
In For the Sake of Argument, Ashleigh Cole stars as Eleanor Hickock alongside Georgie Farmer, Greg Snowden, Paula Cassina, Ella May, Arthur Velarde, Harry Eaton-Mercer, Lucia France, Matt Weyland and Harry Farmer.
After my post-show talk to Jekyll & Hyde in September, I’m delighted to return to Brockley Jack Theatre for Chaplin, another Arrows & Traps production – and more exciting still, a brand-new play, written and directed by artistic director Ross McGregor.
“What a sad business, being funny” – Limelight (1952)
For over 100 years, Charlie Chaplin has been the world’s best-loved clown. His brilliant comic creation of “The Little Tramp” is the first and most recognisable cinematic icon in history. But his remarkable story of stardom and success has a darker side.
Raised in the horrific, grinding poverty of a Victorian slum, Charlie never knew the security of a stable family. Whilst his parents destroyed themselves with disastrous ambition and unshakeable vice, Charlie was thrown at the mercy of the workhouse. Desperate to escape his feral existence on the streets of South London, Charlie became captivated by the shining lights of vaudeville, and gradually began to see a way out.
Arrows & Traps return to Brockley Jack with the premiere of Chaplin, an examination of the relationship between experience and creativity. You’re invited to discover how Charlie Chaplin spun personal tragedy into universal comedy, in a psychological exploration of one of the world’s most remarkable lives.
Critically-acclaimed, 17-time Offies-nominated Arrows & Traps’ many other sell-out hits at Brockley Jack include Jekyll & Hyde, One Giant Leap, Dracula, The White Rose, Frankenstein and Crime & Punishment. Chaplin is once again written and directed by artistic director Ross McGregor. It’s produced by Christopher Tester.
After my 2019 event to Katharine Farmer’s revival of 1980s Wall Street satire Other People’s Money, I’m delighted to reunite with the director on another serving of American theatre, this time the UK premiere of an award-winning new play, Carey Crim’s Never Not Once.
A poignant new drama about the families we choose and the secrets that can pull them apart.
In Never Not Once, all-American college student Eleanor wants to know who her father is. Her two mums can’t agree. But everything changes when Eleanor’s boyfriend Rob hires a private investigator to find her biological father. The family are forced to confront an unexpected and explosive answer to the question: “Where do I come from?”
Written by young American playwright Carey Crim, Never Not Once won the 2017 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award and was a finalist for the 2018 Eugene O’Neill Award. Crim’s other plays include Conviction, Paint Night, Growing Pretty, Wake and Some Couples May. Her work has been produced and workshopped at theatres across the United States.
“With a multi-racial cast of well-defined characters, complex development, and a nuanced lens on sexuality, non-traditional family and taking responsibility, this play is theatrically satisfying and socially urgent” – Jane Chambers Award committee
The UK premiere production of Never Not Once is directed by Katharine Farmer and presented by Blue Touch Paper Productions in association with Park Theatre. Casting and further creatives is still to be announced.