Reviewing plays for The Street Theatre

Until you’ve seen a piece of yellow foam sing along to Dido’s White Flag, you haven’t lived.
(A still from
BRUCE. Photo credit: Jamie Breen).

I really enjoy going to the theatre. I love the ambience, the unique nature of each performance; the creative opportunities that come of the stage being such a versatile medium for storytelling. When The Street Theatre invited me along to some of their recent productions as a reviewer, therefore, they didn’t have to ask twice.

The two plays I ended up reviewing were both well worth watching. They were also polar opposites, one being a dark comedy centred around a yellow foam puppet and the other a thought-provoking examination of marriage and feminism. But this is precisely what makes the job fun – just seeing that degree of variety in the one sentence, let alone onstage, is a delight.

Here are the reviews, in case you’re curious:

BRUCE: the one-puppet show that turned a foam mattress into a star

A Doll’s House, Part 2 opens a troubling door

I’m pleased with how they turned out. My review for BRUCE was easy and fun to write: I loved the play and still chuckle to myself when thinking of particularly absurd lines and scenes. A Doll’s House, Part 2, meanwhile, was more complex to review and led to an exploration of whether sequels to classic plays such as Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House should even be made.

It can be tricky to write ambivalent reviews of any creative content which – as was the case with A Doll’s House, Part 2 – is well-presented and thematically ambitious. Nevertheless, the very existence of A Doll’s House, Part 2 invites scrutiny of why it was written in the first place. I argue that the sequel does not add to Ibsen’s original, and may even serve to undermine the original’s message. That said, however, I’d recommend you watch this thought-provoking play yourself if you have the chance, even if just to make up your own mind about it. Indeed, if you see it and have any thoughts about it, feel free to let me know! It’s always interesting to see a piece of art or theatre through someone else’s eyes.

Last but not least, I had the fun opportunity to speak about my work as a reviewer and journal editor at an ACT Writers Centre event – their ‘Winter Warmer’ – hosted by Harry Hartog Booksellers towards the end of July. It was a privilege to share the stage with fellow reviewer and novelist Shelley Burr, as well as with the Artistic Director and CEO of The Street Theatre, Caroline Stacey.

If there’s anyone out there wondering whether to get involved with the ACT Writers Centre and the local writing community, I’d highly recommend coming along to events like these and giving it a go. People are very friendly, so don’t be afraid to say hi!

ACT Writers Centre event
Speaking at the recent ACT Writers Centre event, hosted by Harry Hartog Booksellers.