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Oct 24th

Gothic Season at the Hope Theatre: The House of Usher

By Carolin Kopplin

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What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? 

"The Fall of the House of Usher" is one of Edgar Allan Poe's most popular short stories and has been adapted countless times, by directors as diverse as Roger Corman and surrealist filmmaker Jan Švankmajer - it even became part of a concept album by The Alan Parsons Project called "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" in the 1970s, which is, in my opinion, one of the best musical adaptations. Luke Adamson and Daniel Bottomley were also drawn to the atmospheric gothic tale and decided to create a musical version of the story. 

An unnamed narrator (Richard Lounds) visits his boyhood friend Roderick Usher (Cameron Harle), who resides in a mysterious and gloomy house together with his sister Madeline (Eloise Kay). Having received a letter from Roderick, informing him that his friend was feeling physically and emotionally ill, the narrator felt it his duty to rush to his friend. Roderick is pale and suffers from a heightened sensitivity of the senses. He seems afraid of his own house, still he won't let his sister leave the cursed place. The narrator spends several days trying to cheer up Roderick, listening to him play the guitar and reading him his favourite stories, but all his attempts fail, and he comes to realise that the house might be alive after all and out to destroy Roderick and his sister.

The performance takes place in the round with the actors, in period costumes, and the pianist / keyboarder, respectively, positioned at the four corners of the stage as the show begins. Roderick and Madeline have their distinctive spaces defining their characters (design by Verity Johnson): Roderick's is cluttered with books and musical instruments, Madeline's is dominated by a clinging vine which adds to the feeling of claustrophobia that seems to stifle her. The three actors also serve as the orchestra which is quite a feat considering that they sing and act in the show - with Richard Lounds playing the cello, Eloise Kay the clarinet, and Cameron Harle as Roderick - naturally - the guitar.

Luke Adamson and Phil Croft's production benefits from a dedicated cast, most of all Richard Lounds who does his best to create a gothic atmosphere, assisted by unsettling sound effects, but the musical numbers by Dan Bottomley fail to convey any sense of mystery or imagination - with the sole exception of "The Raven". True, I know the story well but I was not scared even once, despite the best efforts of the hard working actors. The music is too pleasant to be unsettling in any way. There is some drama due to the possessive relationship between Roderick and his twin sister, which is played by Cameron Harle and Eloise Kay with threatening intensity, yet the pace of the production is too slow and lacks suspense.

Richard Lounds, who has the hardest task as the unnamed narrator, has great audience rapport and kept my attention throughout the performance. Eloise Kay has a beautiful singing voice and gives a good performance as the fragile Madeline. Cameron Harle, dressed in cool black leather, convincingly switches between irrational exuberance and suicidal melancholy.   

By Carolin Kopplin 

Until 5th November 2016 at the Hope Theatre

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes including one interval.

Oct 23rd

The London Horror Festival at the Old Red Lion: The Wicker Hamper

By Carolin Kopplin

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“I’ll be right back” is sure to get you killed

The UK's original and largest festival of horror at the Old Red Lion Theatre is still going strong. A celebration of the ghoulish, the thrilling and the macabre performing arts, the London Horror Festival is exactly what you are looking for if you love Halloween.

The Wicker Hamper by Stack 10 Theatre is a spoof on all the horror classics you can possibly imagine including Psycho, The Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Frankenstein, The Wicker Man - obviously - and quite a few more, all in the short performance time of one hour.

As the lights fade, Nigel (Conor Boru) and Sally (Octavia Gilmore) make the pre-show announcements that turn into an absurd discussion about the use of cigarettes and smartphones during the performance. The interval announcement - although there is none - is equally hilarious.

The actual show begins with a young woman who is trying to escape from an evil presence wielding a bloody sword, yet, like in a nightmare, she is stuck in one place and it is almost too easy for the demon to catch up with her. - Welcome to the island of Winterisle!

The year is 1974 and Marcie (Hannah Grace May) checks into the Bates Hotel & Golf Club for the weekend before starting her new job with Lady Winterisle (Bethany Greenwood), who is in desperate need of an experienced fundraiser to save her theatre. The hotel is run by Norman (Donncha Kearney), a young man with a manic grin who is living with his mother. When Norman disappears after Marcie has witnessed a series of strange noises, she investigates together with Sgt Howard (Elliot Thomas), a police officer from the mainland - and still a virgin. As they explore a pagan burial ground, they encounter Igore (Sophie Hughes), a deformed creature and Lady Winterisle's henchman. Who will end up in the Wicker Hamper?

Ed Hartland's script is a bit uneven and lacks coherence but the references to everybody's favourite nightmares work well and the song "I'll be right back" is sure to get your killed is ingenious. The cast was very good throughout, especially Donncha Kearney, who gave a truly creepy performance as Norman, and a more comical one as the gravedigger "with a stupid accent" and of course Hannah Grace May as our heroine Marcie, who remained cool except for one blood curdling scream which has to be part of a horror show. The stage design consisted of only a few props and set pieces that were employed very effectively by the cast.

However, Stuart Vincent and Ed Hartland's production still seemed more like a work in progress than a finished production. Perhaps there was not enough rehearsal time - which is often the case in unfunded productions - but this is promising work, which deserves to be more widely seen.

There was quite a bit of audience participation, which I thought, could have been handled a bit more sensitively. Not everybody in the audience feels the urge to become part of the action.

By Carolin Kopplin 

Until 23rd October at the Old Red Lion Theatre.

More information about the London Horror Festival: www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/

More information about Stack 10 Theatre:

http://stack10theatre.wixsite.com/stack10

Oct 20th

Battersea Arts Centre News: Cash, Capitalism and Corporations | February - April 2017

By Carolin Kopplin

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The banking crisis, Brexit, capitalism and corporations take centre-stage at Battersea Arts Centre in early 2017 as a host of artists tackle some of the most urgent issues facing Britain today. The season features critically-acclaimed shows from this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe by Theatre Ad Infinitum, Mark Thomas, LUNG and Kieran Hurley – performances that should provoke discussion and debate about the relationship between people, money and power, and the need to challenge the status quo and imagine the alternatives.

 

The old town hall, recently rejuvenated through a final phase of work with architects Haworth Tompkins, will once again be an engine room for social change. Also taking place are creative projects such as The Agency, supporting local young entrepreneurs to make positive change in their communities, and That’s Power, a project in development combining art, democracy and digital technologies to get people sharing their visions for spending in advance of the Government’s spring budget announcement.

 

Theatre Highlights: 

Bucket List | Theatre Ad Infinitum | 13 February – 4 March 
Powerful physical theatre performed by an international all-female ensemble, Bucket List tackles neo-colonialism and free will versus fate. Milagros is an ordinary Mexican woman who, with only a bloodstained list of those responsible for her mother’s murder, embarks on extraordinary quest for justice.

The Red Shed | Mark Thomas | 6-11 March

Three decades after he first took to its stage, Mark Thomas returns to The Red Shed in Wakefield, a 47-foot-long wooden hut that doubles up as a Labour Club, to celebrate its 50th birthday and the people that have inspired him.


E15 | LUNG | 13 March – 1 April 
Adapted exclusively from the real-life testimonies of 29 single mothers and children threatened by skyrocketing rent and eviction from their Newham homes, this piece of documentary theatre follows their campaign to push housing to the top of the political agenda. 

 

Heads Up | Kieran Hurley | 20 March – 1 April

Multi award-winner Kieran Hurley weaves a picture of a familiar city at its moment of destruction and three people within it  – a drunken woman, a faithless priest and a broken finance worker – asking what we would do if we found ourselves at the end of our world as we know it. 


Cash, Capitalism and Corporations also features hip-hop theatre by Conrad Murray (Denmarked | 22 Feb – 11 Mar), a half-term offering by non zero one (Ground Control | 17 Feb | For ages 7-12) and more.  

 

More info: 

www.bac.org.uk | @battersea_arts

Oct 16th

Winter Season of the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell

By Carolin Kopplin

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The Blue Elephant Theatre launches an ambitious and engaging new Winter Season this October. Their commitment to supporting emerging artists is demonstrated yet again, especially by their second Elefeet Dance Festival which provides an important platform for upcoming choreographers to showcase their work in London and runs until 19th November.

 

Elefeet includes the final Blue Cloud Scratch of 2016, an exciting collaboration with Cloud Dance Festival, which has already fed into the main programme at the Blue Elephant. 

 

The Blue Elephant continues to present quality children's productions, with Moon on a Stick returning to Camberwell in December with their magical Christmas show Jack Frost.

 

This season also sees the launch of Mad about the Elephant, the Blue Elephant's new Friends' Scheme. For as little as £25 a year, Friends of the theatre can support its important work with emerging artists and local young people and help secure its future.

 

Executive and Co-Artistic Director Niamh de Valera says “2015 and 2016 have seen some of our toughest times, but also some of our most rewarding. We've faced the reality of cuts in core funding and uncertainty over whether there will be any funding at all. At the same time, we've reached thousands of young people, ran successful projects with adults around mental health, engaged new audiences and supported many companies to secure funding for the first time and showcase their work. We're especially delighted that Sulaimon Idris, who was part of our youth theatre from the time he was 10, is now the assistant on the project and an incredible example to the young people he works with. We're so excited about the shows we have coming up and we hope people will venture to Camberwell to support these fantastic performances and join our Friends' Scheme so that we can continue to offer opportunities like these.”

 

Listings Information:

 

Venue: Blue Elephant Theatre, 59a Bethwin Rd, Camberwell, SE5 0XT (entrance on Thompson Ave)

Nearest tube: Oval (Northern Line)

Wheelchair accessible

Box Office: 020 7701 0100

www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk

info@blueelephanttheatre.co.uk

Twitter & Instagram: @BETCamberwell

 

Oct 15th

Songs for the End of the World at Battersea Arts Centre

By Carolin Kopplin

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Milly Oldfield as Betty

Earth's silent. I think I might be the only one left.

After a successful run at the Vaults Festival earlier this year, Dom Coyote's apocalyptic cabaret is shown at the Battersea Arts Centre. Commissioned by the Battersea Arts Centre and supported by Kneehigh, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Tobacco Factory Theatres, Songs for the End of the World is part gig and part theatrical performance.

The show takes place in the Member's Bar on the first floor but the audience is advised to use a different route around the back where some of the cast, clad in white overalls, guide us through plastic curtains into the auditorium. A placard with "REPENT THE END IS NIGH" welcomes us to the world of Ashley-Coombe.

Inspired by Philip K. Dick's post-apocalyptic novel Dr. Bloodmoney and the star-gazing world of Ziggy Stardust, the show, created by Dom Coyote and Michael Vale, is set in the dystopian future of post-Brexit Britain. Ashley-Coombe is one of the few safe-zone communities in New Albion, built and controlled by New Global Inc. The Free Radicals oppose the money-grabbing company and fight for a better future whilst evangelists preach about Armageddon. Astronaut Jim Walters is on his way to Mars to found a new colony with his new Eve when the catastrophe happens and he finds himself trapped in Earth's orbit. He spends his final days broadcasting songs for the end of the world hoping for a sign of life whilst Earth remains silent.

Dom Coyote plays astronaut Jim Walters and the rest of his band "The Bloodmoneys" take on the other roles. Milly Oldfield, the other lead singer, plays Betty who joins the Free Radicals, after listening to their pirate station, because she doesn't want to become a New Global clone. Ted Barnes is Arnold, a man tired of war and having nightmares about an imminent nuclear assault. His doctor (John Biddle) recomends Arnold use a dream purifier before he turns into the leader of Mrs Worthing's New Church, complete with white neon light crosses and her own New Bible preaching xenophobia.

The plot is rather thin but Dom Coyote's music covers a variety of styles, from rock 'n roll to Pink Floyd, performed beautifully by the band, particularly Daisy Palmer on the drums. Brett Harvey provides an impressive video design to create the pulp fiction world of Ashley-Coombe.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 15th October 2016 at the Battersea Arts Centre.

Running time: 60 minutes.

Photograph by Libby Overton.

Further info on the show:

http://www.domcoyote.com/projects/songs-for-the-end-of-the-world/

Oct 13th

The Right Ballerina at the Hen & Chickens

By Carolin Kopplin

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 We have voted.

Penny Leigh is the top ballerina of the company, attracting audiences from near and far who come to see her dance Gisèle. Artistic Director Jack Stevens and the board consider her a valuable asset. But Penny has a secret that endangers her entire future. When the enigmatic Mr X, who represents a powerful organisation, makes it known to the world, Penny has to make a choice between standing up for her convictions and saving her career.

Artistic Director Jack Stevens (Adam Grayson) has a problem. Somebody has spread a rumour that his principal dancer Penny Leigh (Genevieve Berkeley-Steele) is a member of an extreme right-wing party. When member of the board Trevor (Gregory A Smith) informs Jack that protesters are marching outside the theatre and booing, Jack is sure that the accusations are unwarranted and the whole thing will blow over in a few days. Penny refuses to comment on the accusations and expects Jack and the board to protect her freedom of thought and expression. Even after she agrees to comment on the accusations, the protests don't cease but instead grow stronger, affecting the box office and turning the board against her. The mysterious Mr X (Filip Krenus), who seems to suffer from a form of neurosis, informs Jack that he is representing an organisation and Penny Leigh will have to resign if he wants the protests to stop. There is no remedy as the organisation has voted on it.

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The absurdist drama by award-winning playwright Billy Cowan is very entertaining as well as highly relevant. There are quite a few recent examples when political and public pressure have forced the arts to cancel performances or exhibitions making them appear spineless in the face of massive opposition, often by badly informed people. Cowan asks important questions regarding the reliance of the arts on private sponsors who might pull out at any time if the arts organisation does not conform to their ideas. Another crucial issue in the play is the question whether freedom of expression should have its limits at views that we find appalling. It is easy to be protective of political thoughts and ideas that match our own. These questions are especially relevant in our society that is still deeply divided over "Brexit".

Skilfully directed by Matthew Gould, the performance is fast-paced and features a good cast: Adam Grayson as the smooth and slightly manipulative Jack Stevens, Genevieve Berkeley-Steele - convincing as a star ballerina who worked her way up and made the company only to find herself abandoned by her friends and employers when she needs them most, Gregory A Smith as the duplicitous Trevor, and Filip Krenus as Mr X, an unremarkable, slightly neurotic man who wields enormous power through his organisation.    

Inspired by true events this darkly absurdist drama is a fun night out but also provides food for thought.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 21st October 2016 at the Hen & Chickens

109 St Pauls Road, London, N1 2NA

Box office: 0207 704 2001

Book online: www.unrestrictedview.co.uk

Photograph provided by Chris Hislop.

Oct 12th

Trident Moon at the Finborough Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

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Listen? Now I am the one who is to listen? Hai? Where were you when my sons were screaming? Where were you when my husband scream? Hai? No no no no no…I am not to listen to you, I am listen only to myself. 

Commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, the world premiere of Trident Moon by award-winning Canadian playwright Anusree Roy almost conincides with the 70th anniversary of India's partition in 1947. Her UK debut focuses on the women who are caught up in the conflict.

India, 1947. Six women are hiding in a coal truck that will take them from East Pakistan (today's Bangladesh) to the new India. Alia (Sakuntala Ramanee) has captured her former Muslim employers and intends to have her revenge on them for the death of her husband and her sons, who were beheaded by Muslims. She is well aware that the women will be raped and probably killed, including the child she has raised, yet like an Angel of Death she remains unmoved. Alia's sister has been shot and is critically injured. Also in the truck is Alia's mentally handicapped niece Arun (Rebecca Banatvala). As the Muslim women are pleading with Alia not to take them to India, rioting and shouting can be heard outside the truck. On their way to India Alia picks up more passengers: a very pregnant Hindu woman and a grandmother with her niece, who are disguised as Muslims.

Anusree Roy's play describes how friends and neighbours can turn into deadly enemies, which we have more recently witnessed in former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and the Middle East. Trident Moon focuses on the role of women in these conflicts as they are often used as tools to harm the enemy. Throughout their journey, Alia and her passengers are in constant fear that they might be stopped by the wrong side, which would mean that half of them would be raped and murdered.

This well-intentioned play deals with very important issues and carries a crucial and humane message. Yet it is lacking in content and there are too many implausibilities and logical errors. Would a highly pregnant woman really take a blunt knife and try to cut out a bullet from a stomach wound, without any way to sterilise the knife (except spit) whilst travelling across bumpy roads? This scene comes across as quite amateurish and also feels too long like Anna Pool's production as a whole, which was meant to be 90 minutes according to the program but now lasts almost two hours. However, the production benefits from an outstanding cast.

When the women encounter a Sikh thug, who wants to rob them, nobody thinks of untying the Muslim women although any kind of assistance would be helpful at this moment. The ensuing search for hidden gold is very unpleasant to watch and humiliating in the extreme but actually ineffective except for its demonstration of the disgusting treatment of women in times of war and civil unrest. The author also includes a child-bride, who survived the burning of her whole family, scarred and marked for life. Although I agree that it is necessary to make the public aware of these horrors, it would be more helpful to find out where this intense hatred and aggression stems from instead of focusing simply on the terrible crimes that caused by it.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 18th October 2016

Finborough Theatre

Running time: 115 minutes without an interval. 

Oct 8th

Domestica at the Battersea Arts Centre

By Carolin Kopplin

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Tonight there will be the truth in its banality and its horror.

Following their critically acclaimed work Amusements (2012) and Karaoke (2013), award-winning live-art and experimental theatre company Sleepwalk Collective are celebrating their tenth anniversary with a UK tour of their new show Domestica, the final part of a trilogy entitled Lost In The Funhouse, starting off at the Battersea Arts Centre.

Described by the company as "part narcoleptic beauty pageant, part psychosexual fever dream", Domestica examines our relationship with classical art - from the ancient Greeks to 19th century naturalism.

The show is divided into seven panels, each examining a work of art - paintings as well as literature and music -, set in different centuries. The First Panel, however, is set today and entails a declaration of war by Sleepwalk Collective: "us versus you, the audience" as smoke is rising behind the speaker who is bathed in an eerie light and promises that "we are going to bore you to death."

Three women, wearing long dresses in primary colours with big bows on their backs, making them appear like gifts that are waiting to be unwrapped, form tableaux vivants from classical works, starting off with Botticelli's Venus, described in the Second Panel (1485). Whilst one of the cast is posing, another adds numbered blocks on the stage indicating missing props, such as a pool of blood or a curtain, whilst the third reads the footnotes referring to the numbers as they are projected onto a big screen. The growing amount of numbered blocks eventually make the stage look like a crime scene whilst a disturbingly monotonous soundtrack vibrates across the auditorium.

The works of art all feature women - love goddesses, Madonnas and victims of crimes, the Three Sisters in Chekhov's play who are "decaying over four acts" or the victims of Don Giovanni who ejects his seeds into women all over Europe.

This production is not actually a celebration of the classics, instead it is trying to shed new light on the way women are depicted in these classical works that were created by men who categorised and used them as projections for their fantasies, thereby influencing society as a whole. Propagating the ideal of beauty, the content becomes secondary although the underlying messages remain stuck in our subconscience. 

Sammy Metcalfe's texts, written together with the ensemble, are poetic and hard-hitting as they dissect the misogynism of classical works of art that we adore without ever questioning what they truly entail.

A fascinating and challenging production.

By Carolin Kopplin

The short run at Battersea Arts Centre has ended.

Running time: 75 minutes with no interval

UK Tour Dates:

CAMBRIDGE, Junction | 10 October | junction.co.uk MANCHESTER, HOME | 14 – 15 October | homemcr.org | Part of Orbit Festival BIRMINGHAM, Birmingham Repertory Theatre | 17 October | birmingham-rep.co.uk CREWE, Axis Arts Centre | 18 October | axisartscentre.org.uk NEWCASTLE, GIFT Festival | 20 October | giftfestival.co.uk

Photograph by Alessia Bombaci.

Oct 4th

Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking at Richmond Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

31008_full.jpgRobert Powell and Liza Goddard

You are not losing a wife but gaining a brother-in-law!

When Relatively Speaking opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1967, Alan Ayckbourn was celebrated as the coming man of the commercial theatre. Critics and audiences alike loved his show and Noel Coward sent a telegram praising Ayckbourn's "beautifully constructed and very very funny comedy". Almost 50 years later, Relatively Speaking is still as enjoyable as ever and the Theatre Royal Bath Productions, together with Kenny Wax, now present a touring production of the play starring Robert Powell and Liza Goddard.

Greg has spent the night with Ginny in her bed-sit in London. He is still in bed while Ginny is getting ready to catch a train, supposedly to visit her parents in the country. Greg is somewhat confused. The phone rings and the caller hangs up. There are flowers and boxes of chocolates everywhere. Is Ginny seeing another man? Despite his suspicion and although he met her only a month ago, the rather inexperienced Greg is convinced that Ginny is the girl he wants to marry. Greg decides to catch an earlier train and ask Ginny's father for her hand. But Ginny is not planning to see her parents. She has been having an affair with Philip, an older, married man, and intends to visit him at his home to break off the romance. Greg arrives at the house before Ginny and assumes Philip and Sheila are Ginny's parents, which leads to a series of misunderstandings until things spiral completely out of control.

Robin Herford's production transports us straight back to the 1960s, which makes sense because the play works best in the time period when it was written. Greg and Ginny are in a sexual relationship without being married, but Greg still intends to do right by Ginny by marrying her, even involving her father. Many of the conventions and ideas in the piece would appear rather strange and old-fashioned in a production that was set today. The clever construct of the play and the richness of the characters still make for great entertainment.

Robert Powell is hilarious as the pugnacious Philip, who thinks he has everything under control, including Ginny, who he is trying to force into joining him on a "business trip". Yet the opposite is true. His wife Sheila has received mysterious letters, possibly from a lover, and his affair with Ginny is not going as well as expected. Liza Goddard's Sheila appears to be a dutiful housewife with infinite patience but there is a hidden side to her. Lindsey Campbell and Antony Eden convince as Philip's secretary and ex-lover Ginny and the naive but charming insurance clerk Greg. 

Peter McKintosh's design for Ginny's London bed-sit impresses with typical 1960s wallpaper in showy patterns, held in warm colours, and film posters of the time. Ginny's trendy flat is in stark contrast to Philip and Sheila's traditional country estate "The Willows" in Buckinghamshire.  

A delightful evening out.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until  8th October 2016 at Richmond Theatre

Tickets: http://uktheatrenet.ambassdortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Running time: 2 hours including one interval

Tour schedule: http://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/page/3899/Relatively-Speaking

Oct 2nd

Adding Machine: A Musical at the Finborough Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

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Joseph Alessi as Mr Zero

I dream in figures in my head.

Based on Elmer Rice's 1923 expressionist satire with echoes of Thornton Wilder, this chamber musical by Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith tells the story of mediocre nonentity Mr Zero who spends his life crunching numbers in a department store. For his Silver Jubilee he expects his long overdue promotion but receives his notice instead - he is to be replaced by an adding machine. After years of frustrated hopes and expectations, Zero snaps and kills his boss. He is swiftly sentenced to death. Does Mr Zero now have the freedom he always desired? 

Joseph Alessi inhabits the role of Mr Zero, a henpecked husband whose disappointed wife, played with indignant offendedness by Kate Milner-Evans, starts off the first solo number of the show "Something to be Proud of" - which is obviously not her husband. Picked on at home and ignored at work, Mr Zero is trapped in his mediocrity but still feels superior to those with a lower status in society - recent immigrants and people of colour, whom he derides at "The Party". Only Daisy Dorothea Devore, charmingly played by Joanna Kirkland, brings a ray of sunshine in his dreary life. Edd Campbell Bird impresses as the fresh-faced killer Shrdlu who is looking forward to his execution and an eternity of pain and torture, only to find himself with Mr Zero in the Elysian Fields. 

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Kate Milner-Evans as Mrs Zero

Josh Seymour's gritty production of this anti-musical is set on a bare traverse stage. Joshua Schmidt’s haunting score, inspired by gospel, opera, jazz and rock and roll with a touch of Philip Glass, is beautifully sung by the cast and skilfully played by the band - Ben Ferguson (Musical Director / Piano), Tristan Butler (Percussion), and Hamish Brown (Synth). At the department store, the cast move like automatons to Butler's persistent beat, resembling robots at an assembly line. Daisy has a beautiful jazzy number in "I'd Rather Watch You", singing into a 1920s style microphone. When Mrs Zero meets her husband for the last time, their expected reconciliation explodes in the discords of "Didn't We?"

Adding Machine: A Musical premiered in Illinois in 2007 before it transferred Off-Broadway and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score. The Finborough Theatre now presents the overdue UK premiere.

Not to be missed.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 22nd October 2016 at the Finborough Theatre

Box office: 0844 847 1652

Running time: 95 minutes without an interval.

Photographs by Alex Brenner.

FREE POST SHOW DISCUSSION ON WEDNESDAY 5 OCTOBER 2016

What is the future for new musicals in the UK and the US? At a time when ticket prices are higher than ever and the need to cast stars seems increasingly urgent, how can creators of new musicals balance these pressures with their need to experiment and innovate? This discussion, featuring experts and artists of varied backgrounds and experiences, will explore whether there is any place for musicals that challenge and develop the form in today's testing theatrical climate.

Josh Schmidt, award-winning US-based composer of Adding Machine: A Musical, will be joined by Mark Shenton, theatre critic and Associate Editor of The Stage, Vicky Graham, producer of the recent critically acclaimed new British musical Flowers for Mrs Harris at Sheffield Crucible – nominated for three UK Theatre Awards, and British composer Pippa Cleary, whose work includes The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole at Curve Theatre, Leicester.

This event is free to ticket holders for the Wednesday 5 October performance.

FREE POST SHOW DIRECTOR AND CAST Q&A ON TUESDAY 12 OCTOBER 2016

Josh Seymour and members of the company discuss the process of rehearsing the UK premiere production of Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith’s provocative and darkly comic musical, and answer your questions.

This event is free to ticket holders for the Tuesday 12 October performance.