Ooh Young Vic you’re so slick…

What is it about the Young Vic delivering the best goods on the market? She’s just going from strength to strength. What better way to be truly introduced to the most arty hub in South London than brushing shoulders with none other than Idris Elba, or God, whichever you prefer.

As the season for Aline David’s electric choreography comes to a close, familiar faces have been seen in the Barber Shop Chronicles, a play depicting African barber shops and the significant position they play within a community, to The Brothers Size one which captivates audiences with a very intimate intensity its moving story of the bonds between men. The Brothers Size was a tale of two brothers and an estranged friend, Elegba, the occasional lover that the youngest brother, Oshoosi, met whilst in prison.

The Brothers Size tackles the issue of relationships between strong men. How can our preconceptions of prisoners change? Can Ogun, (Oshoosi’s older brother) move on with his life now his brother is out of prison? The play reminded us of how significant events in our lives can leave us trapped, still and in denial. Despite all these emotions portrayed by Ogun… Tarell Alvin McCraney allows us to seep into Ogun’s psychological sphere. He has eternal love for his brother and subtly longs for Oshoosi’s outlook on life. With twists, turns and a very ‘Brechtian’ approach. e.g. The characters announcing their entrances, exits and stage directions of how they are meant to be feeling. “Elegba enters, smiling”. This writing technique is the perfect way to maintain the concept of audience and play… therefore we are fully invested in the show but are reminded that this is indeed a story.

It really is something special when three, very talented individuals come together to create intimacy between three characters, the fable being told in an ‘all in the round’ setting. The music by Manuel Pinheiro was timed to perfection. As a great musician he created the atmosphere. From eery dreams to moments of joy Manuel stood tall. The cast were outstanding. With two Lamda students, (Anthony Welsh and Jonathan Ajayi) it’s great to see new fresh faces breaking into the industry and punching critics in the face! Jonathan was fantastically humorous, yet fragile, which entertained the audiences from night to night. I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony after the show and I can’t get over how composed and impressive he was; that and a very humbling personality (sometimes a luxury trait to find in this industry) was both refreshing and inspiring. Finally, the stage presence giant that is Sope Dirisu. As the eldest in the show, playing Ogun, Sope was flawless. His connection with Ogun was intriguing, from the physicality of his character’s journey from resentment to love, to the emotional outpouring we see two thirds in, Sope really did show us that Size does in fact matter. (too much?… okay, sorry).

These three actors are really ones to follow! Follow their journeys, expose yourself to new actors because it’s so exciting having opportunities to analyse different craftsman.

It amazes me how good theatre is becoming these days; how there is a great movement away from societies’ conventions and a drive towards the challenging of current social norms, fighting for rights and the strive towards happiness.

Scene it Tip 1) GO TO THE YOUNG VIC NOW. Book your tickets for The Inheritance with more juicy, manly men becoming fragile and sensitive all set in New York just post the AIDS crisis. You’ve got time to book… the show doesn’t start till March. Oh, it also has ‘Francis’ from Poldark! Who is in fact American and therefore will be even more amazing/true to self. Click for the link

Scene it Tip 2) Debate whether or not Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. (let me know your thoughts)

Scene it Tip 3) Make March a new month for new experiences, venture south of the river if you never have, talk to someone who inspires you… if anything it will only empower you to do great things. It eliminates the fear of failing when you know people who inspire you had to fail many a times to achieve their dreams.

Have you earned your coins for the Ferryman?

Whether or not I have earned my coins is a matter that is not up for discussion! What is on the agenda is how magnificent was Sam Mendes’ production of Jez Butterworth’s little pot of gold.

Jez Butterworth never fails to conjure up a roller coaster of emotions throughout a single setting. Granted, the IRA is a heavy topic in itself so one does come prepared (or so I thought). How can I adore, hate and want to shake a character all in one sitting?! With his writing anything is possible. In all honesty The Ferryman left me emotionally drained for a good hour afterwards, where I was in shock as to the progression of the play, with Jez teasing the audience’s conscience and steering the sinking ship in a completely new/very shocking direction. (Can you tell I am trying to give as little away as possible?) – I am not sure I will last very long…
The first time we meet ‘The Carneys” it is a wonderful scene set in the kitchen of a typical and spacious farmhouse. We see two people who appear to be smitten with one another – wouldn’t you be if you danced perfectly with blindfolds on, in sync and giggling the night away. Yeah. You get the picture. These two individuals are in fact ‘In-Law’ siblings. Meet Caitlin Carney played by the gorgeous Laura Donnelly. If anything she is the protagonist, as it is her husband that creates the ambiguous story line. Her husband is Quinn Carney’s brother and so the love triangle begins… Laura plays the part of the beautiful sister-in-law to perfection. She is seen as the mother of the house, the one who cooks and keeps the family together. Similarly to Antigone, the connection of not knowing where a loved one is or the likelihood of finding them alive can drive people to torment. Uncertainty can lead to wanting a strong and deep connection elsewhere. In this case she finds solace in Quinn.
Quinn is played by Paddy Considine who carries the show effortlessly. He captivates the audience and his on stage family we don’t even have to try to like him! We just do!

As a production it was perfect. The casting was faultless and I commend Mendes and his team for debuting over half the cast! Finally some new Irish actors coming on to the scene and in the most epic production too (lucky them). It was evident that the entire cast oozed confidence and their interaction was wonderful to watch. In particular it was a delight to witness the young ‘Carney’ family members acting along side well-established actors with such ease. In terms of a holistic performance the quality was as expected. SPECTACULAR! The cast are harmonious, receptive and incredibly endearing – and yes I include the rabbit! It is clear that they are all aware of the sensitivity of the topic yet they understand Jez’ writing. Bold, brisk, and bloody rude.

Scene it Tip 1) Whatever you’re doing. stop. Go and see The Ferryman. You’ll leave it weeping, confused or just plain starstruck. Don’t forget your coins for a programme.

Scene it Tip 2) Read another Jes Butterworth play. Here’s a good one: The River The link leads to a raving review the guardian did, Laura Donnelly featured in that one too!

Scene it Tip 3) Working with kids and animals really does work! or maybe this was just an anomaly.


Both London and Boudica were not calling for space helmets


Would you ever have imagined that the Globe would decide to have zip wires, abseiling soldiers and a(slightly shouted) rendition of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’? No. Me neither.

What a shame it was to have to sit through such a forced spectacle. At least I managed to; unlike 4 others who fainted (probably due to disbelief or boredom)!

Anyway enough negatives… Gina McKee played the powerful, strong and menacing Boudica. For those of you that do not know the story of Boudica, she was a Welsh/British Celtic Queen, with famous auburn hair, who led an uprising against the Roman Empire’s forces that where occupying England. This all took place in 50 AD something (so not too long ago!). What the play lacked to enlighten its audience with was the fact that Boudica, and her warriors, did in fact conquer the RomanNinth Legion and managed to destroy the capital of Roman Britain, then at Colchester. With all the rebel forces joined together, they went on to reclaim London and Verulamium (St Albans) albeit with many, many casualties amongst her troops.

Reflected in the play, it was clear to see that Boudica would never voluntarily become a prisoner of war, hence the poison that led to her death, and the representation of a goddess coming down a zip wire wearing a space helmet. I mean, I don’t know about you but it all makes perfect sense. Right?One issue the play highlighted was the cruelty experienced by her daughters. The Romans really were abusers towards them; raped by many of the soldiers and watching their mother whipped and bleed out was disturbingly accurate. To be honest, the only time I could really see genuine pain and true emotion was from this scene. The actors had been, in my opinion, completely miscast. Each actress was a talented individual, but were they threatening? No. Imagine a little French bulldog. Bit ugly and scary but actually so damn cute and cuddly. That’s how I can compare them.

The most exciting thing was to see that “The Weekend’s” hairstyle made an appearance! Repping the style was Abraham Popoola whom I must admit was very, very good. He was perfectly cast. An absolute giant who overpowered both physically and with his quality of acting. He of course stood out like a sore thumb. Misplaced amongst lots of shorties who weren’t threatening at all!

In terms of commenting on the overall show… I don’t really know where to start. It was messy, disorganised and “too-much too-soon”. I personally felt as though I had sat down, expecting the group of middle aged women behind me (with 4 bottles of wine between them) to be the only nuisance. Instead, it was the unintentional hyperbolic sighs, the loud music, the zip wires, and the female playing a male soldier that frustrated me. It turned in to a right laugh with the women behind me as we simply couldn’t understand the goddess in the space suit.

Scene It Tip 1) Explore the Globe’s other Theatre. The Sam Wanamaker has emerging new shows all in a candle lit environment.

Sadly… I don’t really have any advice other than not to watch it if you want authentic theatre.

Piping hot!


I am aware I am a little late to jump on the bandwagon of the ‘Billie Piper praising committee’ but it was only when watching the NT:live version of Yerma that I can now confirm I am an avid fan. God I am thankful for NT Live.  

Lorca’s tragical, poetical and deeply moving play “Yerma” is in itself a masterpiece. Drawing on the issues of a woman’s role in society, the utter devastation felt of an infertile woman and an underlying topic of obsession. How far can an individual go in obtaining or managing an obsession? How long before the dream is dispatched?  It is fair to say Yerma is a beautiful tragedy that many women will be able to relate to; making it all the more emphatic.

I hadn’t heard of Simon Stone until now and he has taken British theatre by storm. His modern adaptation of Yerma is flawless. His choice of modern comparisons of issues in Britain mirrored in the harsh ideologies of Spanish society are both lighthearted  yet moving. His choice of overlapping dialogue conveyed issues from the start between the two protagonists – both relaying contrasting views yet neither one actually listening to the other. Even at the very beginning their inability to truly support one another forebodes the tragic end.

In Yerma we see Billie Piper in a completely new light. Both powerful yet incredibly fragile when it came to her modern day dissatisfaction. Yerma suffers an immense amount of self-pressure in setting herself a goal to become pregnant; her inability to do so leads to a frantic obsession where she begins to destroy all hope and happiness that surrounds her. We see Billie convey a successful, independent woman who becomes totally dependent on John (her husband) who in turn, voiced from the beginning that he was not too keen on having kids. Billie Piper was honest, beautiful and gave one of her most elegant performances to date. She did herself proud – well… obviously. It’s not every day you see any actor experience their character’s version of ‘hell’ and perfect it. Each emotion, each hurdle we wanted Yerma to succeed and Billie made it incredibly believable. The Olivier awards got it right.

Brenden Cowell: is he the new Russel Crowe? No – Tor; not all Australian actors are the same just because of their accent. Brenden as “John” was effortlessly convincing. He was an absolute pleasure to watch from start to finish and provoked constant reactions from Billie which aided to the overall ‘trapped atmosphere’ in the glass-box set. He was forever mirroring the regurgitation of words and sentences yet emphasising poignant phrases to perfection. His timing and stage presence were faultless and his line deliverance was inspiring. Brenden has opened my eyes to performing in an entirely different style. He relied on his ability to sense changes in the other actors; it appeared he trusted himself with everything. His lines were a part of him, it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t perform them differently every night depending on his emotional state. It was clear he had the freedom every actor wants; which is to be completely comfortable to expect the unexpected. E.g. a new emotion, a new reaction, a different deliverance. Brenden executes John with subtle humour that makes the audience systematically fall in love with him. We pity him as “Yerma” begins to try for a baby and milk him dry! 

Scene it Tip 1) As per usual – check out the Young Vic‘s website. They are an avid supporter of new, innovative theatre and it’s great!  

Scene it Tip 2) Simon Stone is now channeling all things performance on the international circuit. Toneelgroep Amsterdam give a good insight into his method of developing a script – it’s pretty damn cool.  Here’s the link

Scene it Tip 3) It is interesting to notice how a performance becomes a lot more focused when you put all the actors in a glass box.




The Glass Menagerie


What will it be like this time?

Indeed, it is a play done over and over again but this masterpiece created by Tennessee Williams always provides an opportunity for artistic license. Directed by John Tiffany, with the help of Steven Hoggett (movement director), he created a piece of theatre that was very gentle but at the same time filled with many little moments of perfection to enjoy.

Although it was Williams’ first play, The Glass Menagerie is what put him onto the world map. Described as a memory play, the protagonist, Tom begins to narrate the scene, explaining and enhancing our knowledge of both his mother and sister. Amanda (Cherry Jones) is a faded Southern belle who shares an apartment with her son Tom and her daughter Laura, in St. Louis. Laura, played by Kate O’Flynn, has previously suffered from polio and walks with a limp; leading her to feel very insecure about joining normal life. Amanda becomes obsessed with finding a gentleman caller (Jim) for her daughter, who is unable to integrate into society and spends most of her time playing with her collection of glass animals.

Memories aren’t necessarily accurate as Tom forewarns the audience in his initially soliloquy. However, I must admit that initially I felt like perhaps Michael Esper (who plays Tom) had forgotten how to do a convincing American accent.

Therefore, I had some sympathy with the gentleman and his wife sat next to me, who had already begun to drift off. Suddenly, the usage of physical theatre in the first act struck a cord and I was fixated on the objectives behind the movement sequences. Each actor impressively used their body to express the distress, curiosity, lust and excitement many of them experience throughout the play.

However, Cherry Jones, being an experienced older actor carried the show. Amanda as a character is highly flamboyant yet fragile and Cherry pulled everything out the bag; she performed with such elegance it seemed so natural for her. It was a pleasure to giggle my way through her scenes, hoping that my chuckle would wake up the couple to my right.

It’s obvious I am a romantic and I got excited in Act 2 that (finally) there was a kiss. Oops – spoiler! But it’s okay, as its run has finished. Which brings me on to my favorite bit of the show. Both characters (Laura and Jim) have a beautifully delicate scene in which they share a moment of true honesty. Kate O’Flynn is phenomenal in portraying the awkward innocence of Laura when put in a situation of flattery. She was so incredibly believable and her emotions conveyed a sense of relief that perhaps she could be loved, that this moment captured the essence of human desires and feelings. Perhaps the message here is that we all naturally want to feel truly accepted and Laura experiences a little snippet of lust that had a far deeper intention.

Overall a good production accompanied by music and a very realistic set which helped the actors deliver meaningful performances.

Scene it Tip 1: Watch out for Kate O’Flynn as she was fantastic and definitely up and coming.

Scene it Tip 2: Always go see shows with an open mind.

Scene it Tip 3: Check out the history behind The Glass Menagerie.

Where’s my castle on the hill?

Yes Ed we did ‘YOLO’ it and buy tickets half an hour before you performed.

Who knew that scene that show could end up writing about none other than Ed Sheeran himself? I appreciate that going to watch his gigs is nothing like sitting through “The Cherry Orchard” but there is still much to learn from this bestselling, world famous, yet ordinary guy.

Where did this all start? Most likely with a young teen and the gift of a guitar. You might be thinking, “Tor, where are you going with this?” Let me explain. If you’re feeling like giving up, choosing an easier path or comparing your level of success to others’. STOP!  All Ed had was a guitar and a hell of a lot ‘not giving a shit’. He started by busking… over and over. Until his A levels approached and  his infamous song “You need me, I don’t need you” began his journey to success.

What makes you think you can’t achieve what you desire? Barriers are only in your way because you put them there. If you stop caring about what people think; the possibilities become endless. It’s okay everyone- Even I get frustrated and upset (very frequently) that perhaps I have taken too many risks in pursing an acting career. “Uni-dropout” and “loose end” are two common words that repeat themselves in my head when I’m having an over-dramatic moment. The funny thing is it’s so easy to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. I am lucky enough to have loved ones around me who are always ready to tell me to stop being ridiculous and to instead, have faith and remember why I chose this path. Ed Sheeran said he dreamed of a loyal fan base, making a difference and being able to do what he loved. So transferring this ideology to acting- it seems ridiculous not to try, have failures or set backs and persevere at something you adore .  At least I can say “I gave it a bloody good go and have no regrets”.

But what defines a successful career? Money? A big house? Being a CEO? Fame? To be honest it’s obvious that there isn’t a right answer. Success means different things to everyone so you need to give up trying to compare your version to someone else’s. What’s my castle on the hill? It’s my desire to live to work. This might sound strange but it’s not hard to understand. All I could ever want is to wake up every day knowing that I am living my life through a job I love. Granted, performing is a way of life and it can be in all of us but sometimes it is just a little more prominent in others. I got given a gift of having many inspirational teachers in my life teaching me to strip back all the shit, the false impressions, the ‘trying too hard’ expressions and help me get back in touch with me.

What am I like as a performer? (Constantly giggling in serious rehearsals springs to mind). Ed Sheeran grew up young and learnt lessons on dedication and perseverance way before many of us have had to. Aged 17 he got asked the infamous question: “where do you see yourself in five years?” “Having a record that can spur on different emotions and hopefully something people can relate to”- Mate. You got all of that and more. Kudos to him for keeping up with the rejections and eventually deflecting the negative energy without even realising it. Negative energy on the road to success is a given, but we mustn’t let it phase us. It’ll only make our skin thicker and bring out the sexy badass inside all of us!

That brings me on to ‘What do I stand for?’ World peace, love and eternal happiness? Well yes- but that’s a little too hippy-like for what I am trying to say. I stand for diversity in the artistic industry and respecting everyone’s aspirations, be they far fetched or in your eyes unrealistic.  There’s no point in living a life sensibly with no time for a little dreaming.

So here I stand, proud to be saying that I am on the road to pursuing my ultimate dream. I will have no regrets because I had the courage to dare. I have been amazed at how fear of the unknown has actually motivated me more. Just when you get frightened that all your hard work hasn’t paid off; something amazing happens and you realise that somebody somewhere has seen your conviction and is rewarding you.

To all you budding performers out there if Ed Sheeran can go from busking on the street to playing gigs at the O2 who’s to say you can’t?

Scene it Tip 1: Audition for the National Youth Theatre (like Ed Sheeran)

Scene it Tip 2: Fail and laugh about it- Get rejected from RADA but come back stronger.

Scene it Tip 3: Go to gig you wouldn’t usually go to (in my case Stormzy). Go to workshops to meet new people and surround yourself with things that provoke your determination. There will always be people that will motivate and support you no matter what.

Scene it Tip 4: Most importantly- find out what your castle on the hill would be. P.s. It may well come from within you.

Whatever floats your goat

the goat


A masterpiece by Edward Albee paired with the ultimate cast makes for an intense yet captivating show. 

The dark comedy channeling Greek tragedies’ connections to the taboo subject of bestiality is spellbinding. What a privilege to sit for two hours (without an interval)  and watch Damian Lewis never leave the stage. His performance of Martin, an extremely successful architect, who subsequently admits to having an affair with the infamous ‘Sylvia’ is flawless. No surprise to see him use his, ‘practiced to perfection’, American accent once again while executing the perverse yet pitiful nature of Martin without fault. Devastatingly for the wife, played by the truly mesmerising Sophie Okonedo , Sylvia is a goat. Sophie’s performance, in my opinion, steals the show. Her dedication to embody the torment and stress of a wife left without a stable relationship is incredible. In moments of total chaos she portrays subtle humour, love and to some degree forgiveness.

‘The Goat’ provokes many issues including the destruction of an ‘ideal’ family unit, homosexuality and not forgetting bestiality.

Albee enlightens the audience with his reference to Greek tragedies and their connection to the downfall of strong, successful men such as Martin, all due to a mistake or lack of judgement. The comedic nature of the play helps us disassociate ourselves from the chaos of the situation. Billy, played by Archie Madekwe, also adds this element; from swearing to voicing what would be going through any teenager’s mind, Archie delivers a fantastic debut theatre performance. Despite being emotionally challenging, every actor having experienced their own personal/internal struggles, which has resulted in convincing performances all round. As an audience we almost cried with them….

Overall “The Goat or who is Sylvia” challenges many issues and certainly doesn’t help us get any closer to discovering why Martin’s boat stays afloat by a goat. GET YOURSELF to the theatre and prepare to giggle, gasp, and shed a tear or two.

Scene it Tip 1: Turn off your phones so you’re not the person in the stalls making Damian Lewis break character and shout “Are you gonna get that”!

Scene it Tip 2: Pay attention to the level of detail all the actors focus on. It’s the little things that create realistic performances.

Scene it Tip 3: Go check out the theatre’s website  Theatre Royal Haymarket . They always do cheap tickets (up in the Gods) and yes, you can actually see the stage!



RADA meets Fringe

murder for two

Two actors and THIRTEEN characters – what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing. The two leads are spellbinding in every role. Okay, so RADA grad Jeremy Legat plays the 13 suspects conveniently showcasing the true talent training that RADA gives you. However Ed McArthur is just as convincing. They both portray different ways of getting into the industry and have conjoined to produce something spectacular.

First show cased in Broadway, Murder for Two has glided across the pond ready to entertain our nation. I’d say it’s the ‘Play that goes wrong’ sort of humour meets Agatha Christie, only twice as sophisticated.

Yes there are songs, but if you enjoyed La La Land then this is no different. Both are incredibly skilled on the piano – and the improvisation is energetic and uncalled for but most of all the occasional slips emphasise the authenticity of the play. Both actors are brilliant at playing with the audience. Every night is unique according to the stewards!

Both actors are charming in spirit and in voice. Their resumes are very different but their similarity lies in their love for music, specifically the piano. Imagine a two hour show with incredible jazz numbers with actors singing and playing with no need for any backing. As many will say – four hands are better than two.

Sadly, sitting amongst the older generations at the Watermill Theatre is no longer an option as it is now beginning its tour before being rightfully placed on the iconic West End for a run! Starting in London at The Other Palace this really isn’t one to miss.

Scene It Tip 1: Enjoy the music – it is not often a soon-to-be West End musical consists of two actors!

Scene It Tip 2: Look out for more Fringe inspired actors. Yes the Drama schools will always remain prestigious but it is great to see other routes into stardom!

Scene It Tip 3: Check out the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, for local and touring companies. It is a major pre West-End talent hub!

Sex With Strangers


When has anyone ever been afraid of hard pecs, sex and strangers?

Yes, Theo James!  You did provide the audience with plenty more reasons to love you. As if the shirtless scenes in Divergent weren’t enough already- prepare yourself for a comedy filled with heated arguments, twists and most importantly SEX. (not really).  Oh, and a huge… bonus is the fact that Bristol Old Vic grad Theo really delivers the goods. Forever captivating the audience with his endearing yet comical portrayal of Ethan a famous internet blogger; it was difficult not to be entirely on his side.

In other words… Not just a pretty face.

Sex With Strangers is a cheeky yet realistic portrayal of a relationship that obviously began with them being merely strangers. Cast your eyes to the two protagonists that are both talented in their own right and carry loaded CVs that help convince us they were worth the 36 pounds.

Be prepared to sit down and need a little time to warm up to the actors. In particular it was a little challenging to succumb to Emilia’s portrayal of Olivia. Needless to say once you got past the slightly odd take on an American accent she was intelligent, fearless and I truly believed Olivia’s struggle in every way. This show really captures the struggles modern couples can face with the internet making everything public.

Together the cast create humorous sexual tension from about 5 minutes into the show which is riveting and therefore extremely hard to ignore. Allow yourself to become immersed in the naturalistic set that’s been furnished with things that my apartment could never own and enjoy how comfortable the actors appear in the space.

Overall it was a pleasure from start to finish. Perfectly advertises the quality of acting in the London scene.  If you have the chance to grab a last minute ticket this week. Go go go!

Scene it Tip 1: Watch out for the chemistry between the 2 actors. Whether or not you truly believe the lust it was interesting to see how these actors dealt with the age difference.

Scene it Tip 2: Think about how far can you relate to the characters? Personally I love shows and performances that are brutally honest so that we walk out beginning to reflect on our own lives.

Scene it Tip 3:  Check out the Hampstead Theatre-They always have quirky, Off- West End Shows.