Review – A German Life, Bridge Theatre, 4th May 2019

A German LifeJust like everyone else in the Bridge Theatre last Saturday night, at the moment that tickets for A German Life went on sale a couple of months ago, I was poised over my computer keyboard, with about five browsers open, desperately hopping from page to page to find the shortest queue so that I could book our tickets. The reason, of course, was that this was to be a solo performance by the one and only Dame Maggie Smith, in her first stage appearance in twelve years, and who knows if and when any of us would get the chance to be that privileged an audience member again? And it’s only on for five weeks! Panic!

Dame Maggie SmithI’ve seen a few memorable solo performances over the years; Edward Fox as John Betjeman in Sand in the Sandwiches, Michael Mears’ moving account of First World War conscientious objectors in This Evil Thing; Meera Syal’s Shirley Valentine; Leonard Rossiter’s Immortal Haydon; even an Evening with Quentin Crisp and Barry Humphries’ marvellous Dame Edna shows. But none of them can hold a candle to the great Dame Maggie, in almost 1 hour 40 minutes of total concentration and immaculate characterisation as Goebbels’ private secretary, Brunhilde Pomsel, who died in 2017 at the age of 106.

There sits Brunhilde, at her dining table, in her elegant, formal apartment, the set designed by Anna Fleischle but inspired by Fräulein Pomsel’s own rooms, talking candidly to an unseen interviewer about her life and times. And what life and times they were! She’d have you believe that she became caught up in the Nazi administration rather innocently and naively, caring more about Frau Goebbels and their delightful children, than any of the evil activities of the Third Reich. Naturally, we’re a little suspicious of her insouciance, but why would we disbelieve her after all these years? Many of her friends and acquaintances were Jewish, and she seems to take their gradual slipping out of circulation as some kind of sad inevitability.

What Christopher Hampton’s terrific script, drawn from Brunhilde’s own testimony, achieves most acutely is how easy it is for society to drift into fascism and hatred of one’s own fellow man. Of course, it couldn’t happen today, she says, much to the regretful laughter and uncomfortable buttock-shifting of the audience. There’s only subtle, moderate and implied criticism of her wartime activity, because, there but for the Grace of God go many of us, I suspect.

I had seen Dame Maggie once before on stage, in Edna O’Brien’s Virginia, back in 1981; it’s in the vague recesses of my memory but I think the play itself, the life of Virginia Woolf, underwhelmed me, although, as a 20-year-old chap, I probably wasn’t its target market. A German Life, however, is an extraordinary theatrical experience; a gripping narrative told with immense dignity and restraint by one of our finest actors. You can’t take your eyes off Dame Maggie’s face, with all her expression and stolid resilience slowly leaking through her eyes and her words. So much so, that you don’t notice the fact that the floor has slid extremely slowly towards you, so that during the course of the evening, she’s getting closer and closer to us; an extremely clever device that subtly keeps us locked in to the performance – although I’m sure we don’t need it.

I was struck by her vocal delivery throughout the entire performance. To emphasise both the age of the character, and how she’s thinking hard before she responds to her unseen questioner, she gives much more weight to an adjective in the phrase than the noun. It’s all about her describing what she saw and how she felt, more than simply naming it. She revels in the adjective; after a short pause, the noun is often thrown away. Once you cotton on to that style, it brings you even closer to the character and her vulnerability.

A technical masterclass from the 84-year-old Dame Maggie. The feat of memory, to recall all those lines, apparently effortlessly with no cues from other performers, is astounding in itself. But it’s so much more than that. Tour-de-force isn’t enough; it’s simply extraordinary. Unsurprisingly, the run is totally sold out, but some day seats are available from 10am. Get queuing!

P. S. Don’t be alarmed when Dame Maggie confesses that she’s lost her thread, it’s Brunhilde talking – you’re in very capable hands.

P. P. S. Talking of Edward Fox, it was (perhaps unsurprisingly) quite a star-studded audience as I spotted the renowned Mr Fox in the bar and Sir Trevor Nunn heading towards the toilets. All human life was there!

Production photos by Helen Maybanks

Review – Alys Always, Bridge Theatre, 2nd March 2019

Alys Always“You’re a very good listener,” says the vacuous Polly to the arch manipulator Frances, in Lucinda Coxon’s gripping and joyful adaptation of Harriet Lane’s first novel, Alys Always, a preview of which we saw on Saturday afternoon. Polly doesn’t know the half of it; she has a great memory too. Frances has a gifted brain; in its deepest recesses she files away all the facts and feelings (names, passcodes, ages, hiding places for keys, etc) that she chances upon through everyday conversation that one day might, just might, come in useful. But does she use this gift for the greater good of mankind? Not exactly.

joanne-froggatt-and-the-cellistFrances is wasted in her day job – a sub-editor in the Books department at The Questioner Newspaper; in other words, a general dogsbody who spends her day feeding the meter for more senior employees’ cars, making the drinks for meetings, and hoping that the Departmental Head might one day remember her name. But a random experience changes all that. She witnesses a car accident late one night; she rushes to the scene to try to help but can only hear the accident victim talking to her from her trapped car. They have a brief conversation, where Frances does her best to calm her; but there’s nothing she can do apart from keep her company until the ambulance arrives. The victim is Alys – pronounced Alice – and she doesn’t survive.

laurence-and-francesBut it turns out that Alys was the wife of Laurence Kyte, the most marketable thriller writer in town; and when the police suggest that Frances meet the family as part of a “closure” initiative, it’s probably an invitation she shouldn’t pass up. Particularly when it turns out that her boss is also at Alys’ memorial. Alys’ daughter Polly becomes especially attached to Frances; and as the latter’s influence within the Kyte family blossoms, so does her ability to spot personal opportunities that will do her no harm whatsoever, and her position in the office can take on a more significant role.

frances-and-kyteI haven’t read the novel, but it’s a truly engrossing and unpredictable story, with snappy, crisp (and sometimes excruciatingly wicked) dialogue, sparkling wit and a winning performance from Joanne Froggatt who introduces us, simple idea by simple idea, to the darker side of the unassuming office girl; so that we, the audience, don’t sit there tutting and criticising her devious planning, but in fact rather approve of how she tricks the foolish people around her to make a better life for herself. Morally we’re on very shaky ground here; but Ms Froggatt convinces us that it’s all just a bit of fun, and, if we were in her shoes, which of us would be that squeaky clean?

a-more-relaxed-mealThe blank wall that greets us when we arrive in the auditorium is used for various arty projection backgrounds, the majority of which quirkily suggest the location and/or mood for each scene so that we never need more than a few tables and chairs to be sure of our location. The mood is further enhanced by Grant Olding’s moving and haunting compositions, played live with style and panache by Maddie Cutter.

robert-glenister-and-joanne-froggattRobert Glenister is excellent as the morose and mournful Laurence Kyte, apparently plunged into emotional darkness by Alys’ death, although it’s not too long before he’s, shall we say, back to his old tricks. Ms Coxon has been generous with the script to Mr Glenister and he delivers some brilliantly sour one-liners and wallows in fabulous hypocrisy. I guffawed loudly at the observation about picking your way past the homeless to get to Hatchard’s before feeling incredibly guilty at finding it funny – ouch.

Frances meets the familyI really enjoyed Simon Manyonda’s arsy Oliver, the big-headed book reviewer who’s insufficiently aware of his own shortcomings; Joanna David’s calming but business-like Charlotte, the housekeeper-cum-literary agent with a guilty secret; Leah Gayer’s needy and irritating millennial Polly (a cracking West End debut that’s all character and no caricature); and Danny Ashok’s ever-hopeful but maybe too principled Sid.

frances-and-oliverThere’s also a wonderful performance from Sylvestra le Touzel as Literary Editor Mary; like a cross between Rupert Murdoch and Margo Leadbetter, she bosses her underlings, but cultivates any story opportunity whilst always being seen to be On Top. She underplays the character’s savagery to perfection; and teases out riotous laughter when she offers Frances “flat white or latte… and a little pastry?” Those office politics and ingratiating tactics are so well observed.

Joanne FroggattBut it’s Joanne Froggatt who carries off this superb play with a truly entertaining, insightful, comic and devastatingly ruthless performance. Her connection with the audience works incredibly well – she spends most of the play talking to us, so it’s no surprise that we’re behind her all the way – even when she’s forcing people’s hands and deliberately misleading them. What a little imp she is! Hugely enjoyable, beautifully written and structured, fantastic performances; an absolute gem. It’s only on at the Bridge Theatre until 30th March, but surely it should somehow have a life thereafter?

Production photos by Helen Maybanks

Review – A Very Very Very Dark Matter, Bridge Theatre, 27th October 2018

A Very Very Very Dark MatterA new play by Martin McDonagh? Starring Jim Broadbent? That’ll do nicely, thank you. But what’s this? Unofficial feedback from a number of sources saying the play’s an absolute stinker? Surely some mistake? That was, at least, the early reaction from some quarters. Others were saying how bold and brilliant it was. So Mrs Chrisparkle and I concluded it was going to be one of those plays that you either love with a passion or hate with even more passion. And I think that conclusion was right.

VVVDM3Meet Hans Christian Andersen, at the top of his powers; receiving fan mail from around the world, reading his latest stories to an admiring public, and getting richly rewarded in the process. So who would have thought that his stories were actually written by a pygmy Congolese woman he kept locked up in a cage? I know, it doesn’t sound likely. Don’t get me wrong, he does let her out occasionally – although the deal seems to be that if she’s let out, when she gets back inside, he has configured it so that the cage has become slightly smaller for her. Does that seem fair? But then, is it fair that he takes all the plaudits for her work? True, he does edit her stories; he tweaked The Little Black Mermaid, for example, by removing a significant word from the title, much to her disappointment. His justification? There are no black mermaids. Her retort – that there are no mermaids! – carries little weight with him. The woman – called Marjory, because he can’t be bothered to learn her real name – also appears to be tied up with some kind of Congolese resistance movement against the brutal Belgian colonisation of her homeland. Of course, the Congo Free State was founded ten years after Hans Christian Andersen died. And of course, Charles Dickens is mixed up in all of this too. Well, why not? I’m sensing allegory here. Confused? You will be.

VVVDM2It’s as though Martin McDonagh has got together the threads of three or four plays – one about Andersen, one about Dickens, one about the Congo and one about plagiarism – thrown them all up in the air at once, and then stitched them together where they landed. It can’t possibly work, can it? Strangely, by virtue of some great performances, cunning characterisation, hilarious scenes and sheer bravado, it does; but if you ask me how, I’m not sure I’ll be able to tell you.

VVVDM1Jim Broadbent’s performance as Andersen certainly helps. No happy-go-lucky Danny Kaye type here. He’s a gurning, miserable, grouchy old sod; casually racist – against everyone, mind, even the Danes, and certainly the Belgians; irrepressibly vain (if he receives a letter that doesn’t praise him to the skies, he thinks the writer is selfish; if they do praise him, he thinks they’re after something), grotesquely cruel, and – bizarrely – child-hating. Despite all that, somehow he gets the audience on his side. There’s quite a lot of fourth wall breaking – only minor moments, but always when he’s appealing to us to agree with him about something – and, in some challenging way, you can’t help liking the irascible old git. Probably because it’s Jim Broadbent.

VVVDM4There are two or three fabulously funny scenes where he invites himself to stay with Charles Dickens and his family for weeks on end, outstaying his welcome from the word go. McDonagh characterises Dickens as a foul-mouthed oaf with a bad temper – Phil Daniels captures this beautifully – and provides him with a sweet-looking but almost as crude wife and kids, and their family exchanges are toe-curlingly delightful. You just don’t expect Mrs Catherine Dickens (Elizabeth Berrington on fine form) to come out with lines like “you’re shitting me?” and “I’m leaving you, and taking one of the children with me.” Dickens also has a very very very dark secret, but I’ve got to hold back on some spoilers.

VVVDM7Despite racism being a very powerful theme in this story, McDonagh’s writing and construction keep all the content just on the safe side of acceptable; for example, when the Belgian redmen (you’ll have to see the play to understand who they are) break in to Andersen’s house and give Marjory some chips, naturally they are covered in mayo. She’s not impressed. I think I’m a reasonably PC kind of guy but I surprised myself by never being offended by this play – and I had fully expected to be Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells about this – which I think is a smart trick on McDonagh’s part.

VVVDM5There’s also a funny and moving performance by Johnetta Eula’Mae Ackles as Marjory, on her professional debut. Her facial expressions, her comic timing, and her expressions of pathos are all absolutely spot-on; emotional without ever being maudlin. The character has a sting in her tail and Ms Ackles never holds back from giving us a really gutsy show. The supporting cast are also all excellent; big shout-out to the children on our performance who were delightfully butter-wouldn’t-melt alongside quoting their father’s filthy language; and there’s an excellent cameo scene from Northampton University recent alumna Kundai Kanyama as Marjory’s sister Ogechi – a splendid career awaits I’m sure!

VVVDM6At barely 90 minutes with no interval, this play rattles through at a fast pace and constantly shocks, surprises and upsets you whilst maintaining a mischievous sense of humour throughout. Working on my theory that I’d sooner see a brave failure than a lazy success, there’s nothing lazy about this, nor is it a failure. It’s certainly brave! A Very Very Very Strange, but Entertaining Play!

Production photos by Manual Harlan

Review – Julius Caesar, Bridge Theatre, 11th March 2018 – A view from the pit

Julius CaesarJulius Caesar was always one of my favourite Shakespeare plays; having read it for O level (yes, I know that ages me) it has so many passionate speeches and fascinating characters that have stayed with me all my life. But until last year I’d never seen a production; then Robert Hastie’s production at the Sheffield Crucible finally put that right. And now, like buses, here comes another one, this time directed by Nicholas Hytner at the (nearly) new Bridge Theatre adjacent to Tower Bridge.

Ben Whishaw and Michelle FairleyThey promised that the first three productions at the Bridge would each reveal the versatility of this new acting space. So far, they are true to their word. For Young Marx, Mark Thompson designed a revolving set that created a number of scenes with simple ease. Who knows how it will appear for the next production, Nightfall, which we will be seeing in May. For Julius Caesar, they’ve gutted the whole centre area to create a pit, which means you can choose either to sit in the galleries overlooking the action, or be part of it, wandering around the centre hobnobbing with the actors. And what a huge arena it turns out to be!

Julius Caesar main castI’m always a sucker for immersive staging. I think it’s because of my first ever exposure to it, when I had “promenade” tickets for the National Theatre’s Passion at the Cottesloe back in 1978. I managed to be within two feet of the moment when the late Mark McManus’ Jesus (I’ll never forget his extraordinarily piercing blue eyes) stared with equal fury and pity at Jack Shepard’s Judas, and the surge of power that came from that simple stare remains one of my all-time favourite experiences in theatre. Ever since then, I’ve always hoped for a similar experience in a promenade-type show. The nearest I’d come to it in recent years was In Your Face’s Trainspotting, which we saw in Edinburgh a few years ago.

Rock groupBut now we have this new version, and I have to say, being part of the mob is a very exciting experience! For sheer practicality, you have to check in your coats and bags before entering the auditorium but you can take in drinks and a programme – although my advice would be to keep extras to a minimum, as having to hold things becomes a bind over two hours. When you arrive in the pit, you’re suddenly in the world of a Caesar rally. Do This! read the slogans on the caps, T-shirts, badges for sale, in that modern tradition of sound bite politics, full of sound and fury signifying nothing (sorry, wrong play.) Ten minutes before the show starts, a band warms up and gives us a few rocky numbers, including Eye of the Tiger – there’s none of your hey nonny nonny here. Flavius and Marullus wade in and break up the concert, and you discover that the musicians are, in fact, Shakespeare’s First and Second Commoners, and that Mark Antony appears to be their roadie.

Sid Sagar and Rosie EdeFrom then on, the momentum builds as we see the conspirators beginning to make plans, the warning of the Ides of March, Caesar’s assassination, Mark Antony’s eulogy, the battles at Philippi, and Octavius’ eventual victory. Bunny Christie’s endlessly inventive set moves up and down from the bowels of the earth, and you never know where to look next. The final part of the play brings the reality of war into sharp focus as you’re surrounded by barbed wire, the ashes of burning buildings, military vehicles and very stark murders and suicides. By the time the play has finished you are literally breathless at the excitement and stimulation of it all.

David CalderTo be fair, it’s not all fun and games in the pit. Inevitably, sometimes you will find yourself standing in Just The Wrong Place, and a whole scene will be happening hidden from your eyes because there’s an armchair in the way (tip – try not to stand at the corners of the individual moving platforms). I know that Cinna the Poet gets mauled to death by the mob (because I’ve read it) but I’ve no idea how that actually happened in this production as it takes place on ground level, and if you weren’t in the right spot, all you know is that there was a scuffle and some shouting. I know that Decius Brutus (maybe it’s Decia in this production) uses her womanly wiles to encourage Caesar to come to the Senate, but because she had her back to us, I don’t know what her expression was. However, Caesar was looking directly at us and what I do know is the he was clearly getting hot under the collar and, shall we say, restricted in the underpants.

Ben Whishaw as BrutusThe worst part of the pit experience is being regularly bellowed at by Security Officers at every scene change. “GET BACK! GET BACK! GET BACK!” or “COME FORWARD! COME FORWARD!” frequently in pitch black and with lots of pressing bodies around you. At times it doesn’t feel at all safe, and I could easily imagine a less agile person getting injured. “GET DOWN! GET DOWN! GET DOWN!” comes the cry when Caesar is shot. Fortunately I’ve lost a little weight recently; it definitely helped. Panicked by these instructions, you try to make sure that you’re standing in a safe spot, neither toppling into nor being toppled into by your fellow members of the mobile vulgus. Once you’re satisfied you’re safe, you look up at the stage area only to find the scene started ages ago and you’ve missed the first bit; and to be honest, that’s quite annoying. However, I did appreciate the fact that the security officers came on stage during the curtain call and applauded us; a nice touch, I thought. Only then did I fully accept that their hollering at me was nothing personal.

Michelle Fairley and Adjoa AndohBut for every moment you miss, you grab an unexpected golden moment. I looked directly into Casca’s cynical eyes in her early discussions with Cassius. I observed Brutus standing anxiously next to me whilst Caesar was taking his seat at the Senate, no doubt working out when would be the right time to pull out his pistol. I was given a white flower by the Soothsayer to hold at Caesar’s funeral. I was in perfect position to see the body of Caesar wheeled in, when Antony reveals the wounds caused by the conspirators. I was there when he comforted the weeping citizens; I was there when he read Caesar’s will, and I joined in the cheers of the crowd. I witnessed Brutus escaping from the battle and reaching for his bottle of hand sanitiser. The other punters may well have seen all these things from the comfort of the expensive seats; but whereas they were watching a play, I was witnessing reality.

Caesar at the SenateIt’s a superb production, energising and vitalising, capturing your imagination and driving home those themes of mob rule, manipulative oratory, superstition, and political intrigue. David Calder is brilliant as the brash Caesar; you sense he’s the man who can play the media game, who knows how to orchestrate a crowd. As he marches triumphantly through the mob he comes across as someone who has just wiped the floor with his opponents and is unstoppable in his hunger for power. A perfect combination of vain and vulnerable, he should have taken his wife’s advice and stayed home but instead he ridiculed her lily-livered approach and paid the ultimate price. At the complete opposite end of the scale, Ben Whishaw is a cerebral, calm, diligent Brutus whose life is lived at a writing desk. His every step is planned, his greatest ambition, you would think, is to be considered honourable – as Mark Antony constantly points out. He’s perfect in the role, accentuating Brutus’ controlling, respectable nature; believing that the ordinary people will respond to his address at Caesar’s funeral, he magnificently misunderstands how the power of Antony’s oratory will shape the mob’s reaction.

Ben WhishawDavid Morrissey is very arresting as Antony; from the moment he gets up on stage with the rock band, his is a performance of huge vitality and inspiration. He would make a very dangerous politician in real life because you’d believe everything he said. Michelle Fairley, taking the gender-alternative role of Cassius, is very lean and hungry in her no-nonsense, careful way; a clever combination of risk-averse and ultra risky. It’s an all-round excellent ensemble performance, with great support from Adjoa Andoh as a knowing Casca, Leila Farzad a confident Decius Brutus, Fred Fergus a willing Lucius and Mark Penfold as a creepy soothsayer.

David Morrissey with the dead CaesarA memorable and exciting production, participating from the pit gives you a uniquely different experience from merely observing from the seats. I’m really glad we decided to see the show from this perspective. Julius Caesar is on at the Bridge until 15th April.

Production photos by Manuel Harlan

Review – Young Marx, Bridge Theatre, 19th November 2017

Young MarxFirst of all, a great big stagey welcome to the Bridge Theatre, a new venture on the south side of the Thames, a few minutes from Tower Bridge, opposite the Tower of London, along from HMS Belfast. I don’t think there’s any other theatre with such a selection of iconic views from its front door. Inside, there’s a wide bar/reception area that leads to the circle and galleries, and stairs down to the stalls. Inside it’s very comfortable, with a great rake and terrific sightlines, as the rows are slightly staggered so that you don’t have someone else’s big head right in your line of vision. Our interval glass of Minervois was exceptionally tasty; my only criticism is that the box office was closed at the end of the show, even though it’s an extension of the bar area, where people were still working. There were at least four people, maybe more (including myself) who hung around waiting for someone to come so that we could buy a copy of the playscript (and after all, it’s not until after the show that you really know whether you want to buy a copy or not) – but alas no one appeared. That was at least £40 worth of sales they missed out on. Still, what a great theatre!

YM6Its inaugural production is Young Marx, from the pen of Richard Bean (who seems to be unstoppable with his writing at the moment) in collaboration with Clive Coleman. Yes, even that towering, intimidating, bewhiskered old commie Karl Marx was once a young roister-doister. Penniless and thoroughly amoral, he steals from his wife to get money from the pawnbrokers, sleeps with the maid and then passes her child off as someone else’s, hides from his creditors, and from the law; even causes a fight in the library. He’s an appalling procrastinator; his pal Engels begs him to knuckle down and write his Magnum Opus that will change the lives of working people for ever more; but he’d sooner go out and get drunk. The play lets us into his chaotic life; his relationship with his wife (not good); with Engels (very good); and with his children (extremely good). It emerges that there is a spy in the midst of their political gatherings, but who is it?

YM3To be honest, we don’t particularly care, as the play is much more character-driven than plot-driven, and all the better for it, I feel. Mark Thompson’s gloomy revolving set provides a strong evocation of the poverty-stricken streets of London, and the Marx’s spartan apartment; and contrasts with Grant Olding’s rock-style incidental music, which deliberately clashes anachronistically with the 19th century story, startling and unsettling the audience with its constant interruptions. Messrs Bean and Coleman provide Marx with a couple of farcical fight and flight scenes, just to create a larger than life sense and to distance the story from reality a little bit more – even though almost everything that takes place in the play did actually happen for real. It must be said, that first fight scene was clumsy and ineffective; Mrs Chrisparkle feared she was going to be in for a very tedious afternoon. But she needn’t have worried. Everything else afterwards worked well; and the second fight scene, in the library, is simply hilarious and superbly executed.

YM2Rory Kinnear is perfect casting as Marx. He has that knowing air; that look that weighs up the difference between the sensible and the mischievous but will always go for the mischievous, just because he can. Switching effortlessly between faux-sincerity and childish naughtiness, he manages to keep one step ahead of the law but not necessarily ahead of his wife. He has brilliant comic timing; his scenes with the excellent Laura Elphinstone as Nym, where he’s having to cover up his infidelities, are a joy. Oliver Chris’ Engels is another superb performance, bright, polite and cheery, full of decency to compare with his pal’s lack of it. Nancy Carroll, whom we last saw as the delightfully naughty Maggie in Woyzeck, gives a great portrayal of his long-suffering wife Jenny, dispensing kindness to all and sundry apart from her wretched husband. Tony Jayawardena, hilarious as Mr Bhamra in Bend it Like Beckham, again shows his fantastic ability to get the best humour from throwaway lines as Doc Schmidt. If you think the receptionists at your GP can be occasionally indiscreet when blurting out your symptoms to a full waiting room, just be grateful you don’t have Schmidt treating your venereal disease.

YM4I also really enjoyed the performance of Eben Figueiredo as the servile and over-enthusiastic Konrad Schramm. Mr Figueiredo was one of the few good things about Chichester’s Pitcairn a few years ago, so it’s good to see him in a show worth his talent! And the always entertaining Miltos Yerolemou is on top form as the grumpy French revolutionary, Emmanuel Barthelemy, with his constant translation issues. In the performance we saw, Marx’s children, Qui Qui and Fawksey, were played by Matilda Shapland and Logan Clark and a jolly fine job they did of it too. But the entire cast works extremely well together as a very fluid and entertaining ensemble.

YM1The whole thing is played for laughs from the start to the finish. Serious students of political ideology need not apply. But if you like to see Marx hiding from his enemies in a cupboard or on the roof, or witness Marx and Engels nick a gate from a park and then pee up a wall together like naughty schoolboys, you’re on to a winner. It runs at the Bridge Theatre until 31st December. Good fun, highly entertaining – and a lovely new theatre to explore!

Production photos by Manuel Harlan