It’s July 2016 and a plane crash has devastated the residents of Fulham. Who is responsible for thousands being hurt and numerous civilians losing their lives? The answer is unclear. The quest for the answer becomes BU21‘s underlying driving force.
The year is 1985, Ronald Reagan is currently serving his second term as president of the United States, Live Aid grips the world as musical acts in both London and Philadelphia, including the likes of Led Zeppelin and Queen rule the waves, and Back to the Future dominates the box office, grossing over $210,000,000. However, underneath all of the glitz and glam, there appears to be a secret war on home ground, a war on health, as the world begins to open its eyes and learn about the life threatening impact of AIDS.
Thieves do have a certain romantic allure, do they not? Especially those pesky pickpockets that smoothly operate in a an urban enviroment, going in and out without notice. That is, when they are not practicing their craft on you or those you care about. That conflict is the crux of Man Of Steal, a show in which James Freedman details his lifelong obsession with the craft of pick-pocketing and thieving.
He is in his own words an honest thief, who uses his skills to help others and raise awarness of the many dangers around. He does so by dazzling us with his skills, with brilliant sleight of hand and misdirection. It would be a shame to spoil the tricks that he does with the audience, not to mention the actor makes us promise at the end of show not to.
There is a bit of menace underneath everything. We are exposed to all sorts of dangers, and Freedman does a great job of detailing the fresh ways thieves are coming up with to grab our information and money, he does it with a dry wit and just enough personal anecdotes to pull us in. He is talking about serious things in the real world but at no point does it feel like a school lecture, which the subject does lend itself to.
The problem with writing about a show like this, almost anything will be spoiling the magic of it. Freedman is at his best when interacting with audience members he brings on stage, showing a gifted eye for people that will make good sports on stage, and then playing for all they are worth.
Cover your pin, be careful and don‘t be a mark. A simple and neccesary message that sounds far to dry for the fun that this show is. You will be dazzled, a bit crept out and subtly impressed. James Freedman is a tresure of knowledge and skill, but lets be grateful that he is on our side of the law. 4/5
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
Man of Steal is currently showing at the Trafalgar Studios until Saturday 4th July. For more information on the production, visit here…
How many Golem’s do you use every day? According to Paul Barritt, theatre company 1927’s Co-Founder and Animator, he is surrounded by them, and after seeing the company’s latest offering, Golem, playing at the Trafalgar Studios until May 22nd, I think we could all well agree…Except for my Nan – even if she had one, she wouldn’t know how to switch it on.
This staging of East is East stars its very own writer: Ayub Khan Din. This play first premiered in 1996, was later adapted into an acclaimed film by Ayub himself and has a long history of awards. It portrays the life of a British Pakistani family living in Salford in 1971. George Khan has emigrated to England in 1936, married a local Englishwoman with whom he had seven children and now attempts to raise them into the Pakistani culture.
Dessa Rose is a musical masterpiece based on the novel by Sherley Anne Williams, about a young pregnant slave girl in the Antebellum South of the United States, who stumbles into an unusual friendship in her tumultuous bid for freedom. With Broadways foremost theatrical song writing duo of their generation, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, behind the production, Dessa Rose achieved rave reviews back in its 2005 American debut, snapping up the 2005 Audelco Award for best musical, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Now, at the critically acclaimed Trafalgar Studios, Arion Production Ltd presents The European Premiere of Dessa Rose, the smash hit sensation that pushes the boundaries of contemporary musical theatre productions, through its stylish use of minimal set, innovative staging, unforgettable music and lyrics and downright heart rendering plot.