Tuesday, 30 September 2014

OperaUpClose : The Marriage of Figaro ****

Nicolas Dwyer, Rosie Bell and Mary-Jane de Havas
New beginnings are good yet; they come with the sacrifice of saying goodbye to old stomping grounds, which is precisely the case for OperaUpClose who bid adieu after four loyal years in the Kings Head Theatre from January 2015. Its artistic director, Robin Norton-Hale writes kindly, ‘while our reasons for leaving are a desire to keep on trying new things and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved by small-scale opera, we have no intention of abandoning our roots’ and this is the kind-of legacy that OperaUpClose has imprinted on many of its followers’ minds including mine.

Their productions La Traviata, which transferred to the Soho Theatre, La Boheme and The Elixir of Love are currently thriving on tour to mid-scale theatres in Winchester, Workington and, most recently, the Ravenna Festival in Italy. This leaves, but only, its final production in the steamy back room of the Kings Head Theatre pub, namely Sarah Tipple and the Belgrade Theatre’s production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, which is perhaps a deliberate choice of OperaUpClose; to end its tenure on a cheerful note.

Regarded as ‘sheer perfection’ by Brahms, Mozart’s upbeat and highly lucrative score, in musical versatility and vocal tenacity, is the optimal opera bound to amuse its audiences. The show begins on a high as many will know Mozart’s infamous work, and in this intimate production there is wit and silliness instilled in its young production team, which emanate talent and confidence.

The stage is re-created through its singers who rush to and fro from the stage and corridor whilst the much-loved overture plays ardently in the background. They throw in a rug, a clothes rack of semi- early 17th century costumes and a picture-less frame. The score is reduced to two hours and hones in on the necessary focal plots of the opera, keeping the audiences' attention at bay, until the very end. 

The eight members of its cast, who also have to play other characters, include its multitasking musical director, Alex Beetschen who sings and simultaneously hammers in chords on the piano. A libretto, made available in the programme notes, make it easier for viewers to understand who the singers are playing, even if the opera is sung in English.

Here, the opulence of a fancy palace is put aside in an exchange for a small production that addresses its characters’ emotions and their comedic behaviour to their lovers. The minimalistic stage however is a busy one filled with energy and enthusiastic acting from its singers. 
Nicolas Dwyer, Rosie Bell and Fae Evelyn
Alistair Sutherland is a bright and bubbly baritone as Figaro. Nicolas Dwyer is the, slightly, aggressive and scary Count while Rosie Bell and Fae Evelyn, as Susanna and Countess, keep the stage warm through their touching, infectious and fruity voices. Felicity Buckland as Cherubino is silky and pitchy, at the same time, just like her neurotic and adolescent character with Mary-Jane de Havas doing fairly well too. But I fear with Henry Grant Kerswell, as much as he plays an important part in keeping with the opera buffa theme, his vocal timbre was severely compromised by speaking words rather than singing them. 
With only a piano, clarinet, by the experienced Sabina Heywood, and viola, through Joe Bronstein, there was enough instruments to enjoy the magic of Mozart’s lively opera. The singers, even, take time out to learn a cleverly choreographed court dance for the ample space. 
If there is anything to tweak in this production, which I found entertaining to watch, was its inability to move in and out of the stage with a bit more finesse from its singers. Looking at the show as a whole, it lacked tightness and a finely cut presentation; however I am fully aware that its directors may have wanted Figaro to be conveyed in a harder and rougher way to fit in with the up-close nature of its producers. 
The Marriage of Figaro is showing until 8th November. Click here to access the Kings Head Theatre Pub's site.

Monday, 29 September 2014

West End Heroes Charity Gala 2014 ****

West End Heroes took place last night at the, multi-million pound refurnished, Dominion Theatre, for an electrifying evening which celebrated its second year of supporting the charity ‘Help for Heroes’. The charity’s founder, Bryn Parry gave a short speech describing the charity’s aims for servicemen and women who suffer in the line of duty, and how thankful they were for the support they’d receive from those who were involved in creating the evening’s gala event. Last year they successfully raised £88,000 and hope to exceed their target of £100,000 this year.

The event commenced royally with fanfares performed by The Band of the Queen’s Division and a military medley orchestrated by the 50-piece Central Band of the Royal Air Force under the baton of Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs. Tim Marshall directed the evening’s show, Stuart Morley was the musical supervisor whilst Matt Flint choreographed as he had done at last year’s West End Heroes. 
Michael Ball
Michael Ball, double Olivier award winning musical star, and TV and radio presenter, hosted the evening and kept the audience on their toes with a few laughing jokes. He also sung a West End numbers including ‘Do you Hear the People Sing?’ from Les Misérables, where he received a standing ovation.
The Evita set, which is currently being staged at the Dominion Theatre, was taken advantage of and kicked off the first of the many West End songs with ‘Buenos Aires’ sung by Michelle Pentecost and the Evita cast. Lead singer of the UK pop band Wet Wet Wet , Marti Pellow, who is currently acting as Che in the Evita production, also sung Mack and Mabel’s ‘I Won’t Send Roses’. 
Hugh Maynard and the cast of Miss Saigon
The evening also introduced the talented West End Heroes Choir; an assemble of West End's support staff from front of house, box office, stage crew and dressers who vocally supported many of the acts for the night and had their debut performance of ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring.’

There were outstanding presentations of some of the best musicals (too many to mention here) by the awe-inspiring Louise Dearman, Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro, Louise Plowright who sung ‘Some Things You Just Know’ from the forthcoming musical Sleepless in Seattle, WOMAN the Band, James Fox, Flight Lieutenant Matthew Little, Daniel Boys, Lauren Samuels, Hugh Maynard with the cast of Miss Saigon and the mesmerising, Carrie Hope Fletcher.
Royal Marines Corps of Drums
Other great performances included a collaboration with Tiffany Graves, West End Heroes Dancers, the Queen’s Colour Squadron, the Band of the Queens Division and the Royal Marines Corps of Drums of ‘Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better’, which ended with fireworks and, safely handled, gunshots in the air. The Songs for Victory cast also gave the audience eye-opening perspectives of World War II in line with the charity’s military cause by performing ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ and ‘I’ll Be Seeing You.’ 
Yet the best, and most zaniest, performance, which wowed the entire auditorium, following a Mary Poppins medley to celebrate its 50th year, was when Freddie Huddlestone walked up the side of the stage and stomped upside down as if he were on the roof like Dick Van Dyke in ‘Step in Time’. The agility and tap dancing mania from the Mary Poppins dancers kept the audiences’ adrenaline pumping throughout the night. West End Heroes is a fully loaded, but exciting evening of variety and exhilarating performers blending the West End with UK military bands. It's not only entertaining, but something worth keeping an eye out for if you're a devoted fan of musicals.                           
Freddie Huddlestone and cast of Mary Poppins

Click here to donate to Help for Heroes want to donate to Help for Heroes. 
Text WESTEND to 70900 to donate £5.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

ENO : Otello - I cannot question Verdi's highly developed orchestral work ★★★

Verdi visited England in 1847 when he first saw Shakespeare’s Othello. This moved him and the librettist Arrigo Boïto to complete their own opera of the play in 1887. It is claimed to be Verdi’s 'most highly developed orchestral work' and David Alden’s production doesn't leave this fact out.
Currently showing at the ENO, Alden’s production encapsulates Verdi’s musical sophistication, courtesy of ENO musical director Edward Gardener and the ENO orchestra, and the dramatic mastery of Shakespeare’s tragic and deceitful tale. Yet despite the vocal strength of its cast members and empowering orchestral beauty, I found that, the production was difficult to follow as the stage was half-baked and filled with underdeveloped characters. 

Set in a Cypriot 19th century church with unelaborate period costumes and minimalistic staging, lights, directed by Adam Silverman, play a huge part in demystifying the grit and greed of Iago, which is sung by Jonathan Summers. This is contrasted with the white dressed and pure Roderigo (Peter Van Hulle) and Desdemona sung by American Soprano Leah Crocetto.  

Boïto originally insisted the opera be named Iago, not only because Rossini had already written his own opera but, due to its sole focus; it's based on the hypocritical villain and not the moor. Boïto cut out the first act to get straight into the tumult of psychological manipulation and Otello’s downfall. This adds nicely to the production’s lack of controversy over a blackened-face Othello, which is, often, depicted in opera and theatre. Aleksandrs Antonenko had to endure the brute of a face painted Otello in the Royal Opera House in 2012. 
Stuart Skelton, Male Singer of the Year at the International Opera Awards and winner of Olivier Award as Peter Grimes, sung as a gutsy and glorified Otello. He ignites an Otello obsessed with the idea of being loved by Desdemona and easily swayed and sickened by his own deluded insecurity which is perpetuated by Iago.

Yet Summers, as Otello’s chief lieutenant, doesn’t show a shed of evil from the get-go; in fact he shows a deadened and emotionless Iago that, although, sings of his desire and plans to rid him of his ‘lackey’ status, illustrates an absence of passion. It is only when he sits at the edge of the stage and narrates to the audience in a sung soliloquy ‘there is nothing, heaven is a lie’ , just before the interval, that we sense his malevolent yearning. It is hard to pin down Summer’s Iago as he moves from one extreme to another; a nihilist one moment to subtle acts of homoeroticism, which cushion Otello’s paranoia and emasculating features. 
The last few scenes are powerful. We watch Desdemona prepare for her death and this is where Crocetto is at her best. She envisages Verdi's victimised Desdemona that we, opera-goers, want to see. Crocetto’s cor anglais solo and  ‘willow song’ brought, some, tears to the audience’s eyes which is culminated with the silence of the orchestra as she wails loudly of her injustice to Emilia (Pamela Helen Stephen.) 
Unfortunately, although both vocally tenacious, I felt that, Crocetto and Skelton were individually stronger when they sung their own arias than when they sung as a couple. For me, their grand duet was devoid of affection and passion (and I wasn't entirely unconvinced of their acting together despite how much they embraced each other.) This is a significant part of the opera as it highlights the deeper tragedy that leads to Desdemona's unfair death, which - sadly- the production failed to bring out.

The ending is dramatic and saddened by the looming Iago that stays alive and unpunished at the corner of the stage. In true operatic style, justice is not served and, in the same way, the production did not give Otello the full breathe and life it deserved. 

Besides my dissatisfaction with characterisation there were some stage directions that I thought needed tweaking, as well. For example, in Act II when ENO chorus singers sung “wherever you look, brightness shines..." Desdemona watches the children dance, yet the chorus singers' voices were far and hidden from the stage that the audience could hear the tapping of shoes when it should have been the other way round. Come on ENO, what's going on?
I cannot question the orchestra, the voices (Crocetto, Summers, Skelton, Van Hulle and Helen Stephen), or the music behind it all; but I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed of the production as a whole.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Cinema Screening of the Young Vic's A Streetcar Named Desire ***** [Five Star]

By Mary Grace Nguyen
I am incredibly thankful that National Theatre Live and, over 1000, UK cinemas gave audiences the opportunity to see the encore screening of Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, with the X-files star Gillian Anderson, that was running at the Young Vic as the fastest selling show in its history. 

The production ran from late July until the September 19th and, even then, most of the shows were sold out, which only proves the sheer advantage and need for cinema screenings.

The American playwright, Williams received various awards such as the ‘Pulitzer Price for Drama' in 1948 with major film stars including Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh playing the lead roles. Yet, besides the glitz and glamour the play received, on stage and as a movie, A Streetcar Named Desire has an engrossing script that pulls audiences in through its unadulterated dialogue and complicated characters. 
Australian theatre and opera director Benedict Andrews is known for being controversial and for this production, he decided to recreate a rotational skeletal frame of an apartment as oppose to the original 1940s setting of a home in New Orleans. This allowed the audience to see everything and to actively engage with the stage in viewing different angles, which, pretty much, worked in the same way for cinema audiences too.
Southern belle Blanche DuBois (Anderson) is our damsel in distress in fancy vintage attire; she is a lady of sophistication. She travels by a New Orlean Desire streetcar to see her sister Stella (Vanessa Kirby) who is married to the brutish and sexually charged Stanley (Ben Foster).  Stella welcomes Blanche to stay, as she says that her work has allowed her time off; yet, Stanley has his doubts about her. 

As the story progresses, and with Blanche’s increasing need for drink, Stella and Stanley’s relationship begin to worsen with the bitter onslaught of physical violence and sexual manipulation, which Blanche doesn't understand. She tries to develop a relationship with Mitch, Corey Johnson; cast in many Bourne legacy films, yet Stanley reveals some shocking news that thwarts everything she had said and puts her own persona into question. Due to Stanley’s sordid frustrations with Blanche and after raping her, Blanche descends into madness saying her signature line ‘I've always depended on the kindness of stranger’ as she leaves hand in arm with a psychiatrist. 
The show, which lasts for almost four hours, is a sensory overload of impassioned acting and dynamic movement that is filled with the best quotes and lines. The classic jazz and booming rock music make it difficult for any audience to look elsewhere but the stage. The inclusion of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game also highlights the highly intense and sexually driven relationship of Stanley and Stella.

The Six Feet Under star Foster depicted a scary and menacing Stanley which could easily brand him as the baddy yet, despite his overt masculinity and the emotional grief he bestows on Stella, there’s a small piece of Foster’s characterisation of Stanley that is likable; after all, we cannot forget that Blanche is, also, a flawed character.

Kirby, who played Estella in BBC’s Great Expectations, did just as well as a supportive sister, and slightly submissive, and trapped wife with a soft Southern accent. She fluttered around the stage with her sensuous toned stomach and tight-fitted jeans, but was strong where necessary particularly in the last scene screaming and wailing, ‘What have I done to my sister?’
Anderson as Blanche, however, was unbelievably tenacious and resilient throughout as she conducted herself with a sweet and charming voice that showed trances of a genteel and courteous lady. Yet, she also boasted all the attributes of a fallen woman in a very unique way. Anderson embraced the script and breathed it. At times, audiences weren’t sure if Blanche was talking to Mitch or herself which, displayed early signs of insanity. 

Anderson has always wanted to play the role as Blanche since her last collaboration with Andrews in 2012 during the production of Critics’ Circle Award-winning play, Chekhov’s Three Sisters. She even admitted in an interview, ‘I have completely fallen in love with Blanche and I was unprepared for that.’
Most of the cast in this production are known for their expertise in film and TV, which could account for one of the main reasons the shows sold out fast - it was guaranteed to present first-class acting. If more stars of this calibre are casted in theatre, then more shows will sell out and may require more dates for shows or, alternatively, more cinema screenings... Watch this space.

There is an encore screening of the performance on October 19th at the Gate Cinema and many other picture houses in the UK and abroad.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 : Alan Gilbert conducts Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra for the BBC Proms 75

I had no intention of reviewing Prom 75, the penultimate night before the BBC Proms ended but how could I stop myself? It was Beethoven's Symphony No. 9: the Choral, which as much as it has been over played at international halls since the 1824, hasn't become stale... ever. To put it bluntly, it's just a bloody good symphony. Last year, I saw the Philharmonic orchestra perform with the London Symphony Chorus (who also performed this evening) at the Barbican Centre as part of the Raymond Gubbay tradition, and I still recall fond memories.

All attempts to buy return tickets were out-of-bounds and stall seats were still unaffordable. Alas, at such short notice, I ran to the Royal Albert Hall and stood in the proms arena queue just after 2 o' clock. When it came to 7 o' clock, revellers were dusting themselves off from the September sun filing up the spaces of the 6000-seater auditorium. Prommers were slowly edging into the stage and there sat above the orchestral stage were the multiple choir members (or as I'd like to call them, 'the angelic voices') of the Leipzig Opera Chorus, Leipzig Gewandhaus Choir, Leipzig Gewandhaus Childrens Choir and London Symphony Chorus - phew, that's quite a mouthful.
View as a 'prommer'

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra graciously entered the stage shortly followed by the half Japanese, half American conductor Alan Gilbert. Gilbert, originally a violinist, is currently the musical director of the New York Philharmonic who stepped in last moment as Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly, who has conducted the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra numerous times, had to 'withdraw' due to medical reasons.

To begin the evening was Austrian composer, Friedrich Cerha's Paraphrase on the Opening of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 which is a piece I'm not familiar with. Yet, it gave me the same unwavering feelings I get when I'm not entirely united with a piece. With all my optimism focused on the headline of the show - hearing xylophones mimic doorbells that descend into a tumultuous caution song of stringent percussion and clashing brass instruments -  Paraphrase wasn't the most ideal piece to perform. Yet, on reflection it made Beethoven's 9th look better. The prolonged stillness of the strings at the very end led to a long silence; the audience wasn't sure when to clap.

Alan Gilbert conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (BBC PROMS photos)

The crux of the matter

The first movement's Allegro ma non troppo was full of sustenance, spirit and precision through our mighty conductor. From the arena below, I felt the sonata's bass lines from the cellos under my feet and although considered by some to sound like orchestral tuning, the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra knew exactly what they were doing. 
The second movement's Scherzo was just as vibrant and genuine as the first where trombones and timpani unleashed their unique qualities. At times, I noticed unexpectedly from Gilbert that he'd lower his baton and make smaller hand gestures closer to his chest. I wasn't sure if he was just tired or simply saving his energy for the presto in the fouth movement. Nevertheless, at the coda his unflagging baton came out again.

Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra played songs that sounded like spring as they calmed down after the calamity in the first two movements. This was portrayed through lullaby-esqe flutes, swooping strings that plucked and soared. After feeling like we've just left a Latin mass, the audience came together in universality with Beethoven, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Gilbert and the choir singers, particularly the red jumper wearing Childrens Choir.

The forth movement was expectantly sturdy, loud and exuberant. The audiences knew 'Ode to Joy' too well that they clenched their fist and shook them discreetly to the valiant drums, especially when the skilled ‘angelic voices’ sung 'Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?' Christina Landshamer, Gerhild Romberger, Steve Davisliy and Dmitry Belosselskiy's honey soaked voices put the icing on the cake. Belosselskiy introduced the fugue holding onto every deep note with Davisliy seasoned timber as he moved his body to the tone of his joyful voice. 
Gilbert was firm, swaying to Beethoven’s music and moving one side to the other. One moment he'd open his arms wide to the choir singers with a smile and then quickly hunch down to the orchestra with a stern face, hands close together, as he directed the violins to repeat the presto piece.
With four call backs for the quartet and Gilbert, and a standing ovation from me, - well, I was already standing in the arena - I don’t believe even half of the people in the Royal Opera House had ever experienced a Beethoven’s 9th symphony like it. I mean that in a good way. 

This prom took place on Friday 12th September. Click here for more information.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Anna Nicole: A Musical with Operatic Voices [FOUR STAR]**** SPOILER ALERT

By Mary Grace Nguyen
Women play a significant role in opera; world renowned characters such as Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s Violetta are part of the endless list of opera heroines, and despite their social ranking as gypsy girl or courtesan, their operas have been performed throughout ever since their première in the 18th century. Yet, at first, these operas received adversary as they were considered sensational; audiences preferred mythology and tales of the classical period compared to depictions of contemporary life and today, some operagoers still favour this.
This season’s opening night at the Royal Opera House (ROH) was dedicated to students and under-25s for their second presentation of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s modern day opera of the breast pumped TV personality, Anna Nicole Smith. With rampant scenes of strip clubs, in-your-face foul language, American accents and ‘white-trash’ paraphernalia including musclemen, class-A smack, junk food and double F tits, this over indulgent opera will irrefutably raise a few eyebrows. 
Anna Nicole belongs on the stage with the great opera heroines as she too lived a desperate life. She married an oil tycoon 63 years her senior and resorted to parading her trashy lifestyle on reality TV when things didn’t go her way. After severe weight gain, the death of her son and enduring back pains caused by her silicon breasts - claimed to be the same amount of liquid contained in a bottle of wine in each breast - she died of an overdose in 2007.
In recent times, celebrity life has become a popular genre due to reality TV and Anna Nicole Smith was one of the many iconic fallen women who were sucked into the ‘American dream’ and the misguided illusions of sex and glamour. This is portrayed in Richard Jones’ bold and large stage brimming with fluorescent colours and neon lighting. Blaring trumpets and pounding percussion drums go wild as fake-breasted pole dancers open their legs to the audience. Antonio Pappano brazenly conducts the drum rolls as Anna suggestively gives her octogenarian husband a blowjob which later leads onto Anna being psychologically assaulted by six large camera heads on the Larry King Show (Peter Hoare) as if she was on Big Brother.
Director of the ROH, Kasper Holten told me just before act two ‘… it all goes down hill as operas do’, which is where the spectacular, tragic and operatic music slowly ebbs in and includes a ballad sung for the dead son, Daniel (Jason Broderick). Dutch soprano, Eva-Maria Westbroek reprised her role as Anna from its première in 2011, who had coincidently sung as the gold-digger, Manon Lescaut in Baden-Baden, which made her the ideal for the part. Westbroek's Anna was the vocal starlet which the audience abhorred and eventually pitied. Her willingness to push the boundaries, and even make hideous ‘rock out’ faces were respected much like Roy Gilfry who supported Anna as Stern, her lawyer who charmed the auditorium with his baritone timbre. 
Special mention goes out to Susan Bickley as Anna’s estranged mother who was explicit, sung ‘Fuck you’ and never failed to deliver the grittier life of Anna, whilst shaking Alan Oke as Old man Marshall brought wit and humour to this ironic tale. Andrew Rees was also impressive with his tenor vocal charisma reinforcing the need for Anna to get larger boobies as Doctor Yes.
It should be warned that Richard Thomas’ libretto might not be to everyone’s taste, yet in 200 years time who knows what people will say about it. Perhaps it is disliked because of the language usage or excessive profanities, yet we need to refer back to the deeper implications of reality TV. They succeed because the masses empathise with their celebrities and both Thomas and Turnage were undoubtedly mindful of this notion of putting a grimmer TV reality onto the operatic stage.
Turnage is a classic zig-zagger of genres, adding Latin chorus, jazz, blues, swing and moving tragic symphonies in act 2. ‘Anna, Anna, Anna Nicole’ is a memorable number and with the opera's smooth, connective storyline, one could easily view it a flamboyant musical with strong operatic voices. [To buy tickets, please go to the ROH website.]

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Autobahn by Savio(u)r Theatre at the Kings Head Theatre **** [FOUR STAR]

Zoe Swenson-Graham and Sharon Maughan
Sip your coffee because you’re in for a ride in Neil LaBute’s Autobahn.  Savio(u)r Theatre’s Tim Sullivan has brought the ‘American play’ to the British fringe stage: the King’s Head Theatre in Angel.  Witness no less than fourteen unique characters in seven playlets conveying the darker and macabre side of humanity in Autobahn, (which translates as federal motorway in German).

The set is minimal: with only a used American car with video projections to give a sense that these zany, ostentatious, menacing, and innocent people are on the road or parked up. With such small-scale stage, one would think that this puts the play in a disadvantage but in actual fact, this is where the coffee comes in and unveils the gold: the value of dialogue, language and words.
Autobahn is an unadulterated version of everyday life - left as it is - which leaps from hope to dread trapped inside a car. Who hasn’t experienced being dumped? Who hasn’t wanted to ‘make out’ in one? Who hasn’t had a massive argument within such confines? In this case, it involves Henry Everett’s character calling his wife a c***, so – maybe – not everyone can sympathise. 
What about the ordeal of supporting your friend who’s locked out of his home and wants to grab his 'stuff'? 'One must take heed!’ hails Tom Slatter behind the steering wheel. Or what about your girlfriend, Sharon Maughan, sugarcoating the truth and openly admitting – in little words - that she took part in an orgy?
The most unsettling, unrelentingly suspense-fueled scene is of a schoolteacher; a closet paedophile. Throughout the show, the audience laugh and even cry at moments of the poignant American humour, yet it’s in this vignette that the audience listen intently and desperately wants to know what will happen next. This is subtly drawn to a close when he requests to touch her hair as he drives, and she sleeps. That’s it –it’s game over. 
The cast was brisk and sharp in transforming into their new personas by donning a different blouse, hat, or hairstyle. The effective 80s classic rock music softened and bolstered the sense of nostalgia; the good life before the ominous conclusion.
Swenson-Graham in her first monologue was focused and poised for action. She was noticeably ecstatic in the ‘making-out’ scene and seemed like she was right at home. Slatter was a bit nervous at first, but it was at his monologue where he went all guns blazing. 
Everett showed his sport and expertise in the paedophile scene; unreservedly suave and cool under pressure, and although haphazard in identifying the men his girlfriend ‘screwed’, he executed good improvisations.
Regrettably, Maughan was not seen enough on the stage. Oozing with potential and remembered for being the girlfriend who left the door ajar and found naked on the floor, the audience, and I, would have liked to see more of her in a dominate role.
Admittedly, I have not read  (nor had heard of) the work of LaBute before viewing the show however, after patiently taking in the punch lines, the jokes and the ramblings of this unique script, one could tell that LaBute is an extraordinary writer that doesn't require the extra fluff.
Sullivan and Zoe Swenson-Graham, cast member and artistic director of Savio(u)r, worked at great length to ensure that no compromises were made and characters were depicting in a way that audience could empathise with.
For tickets and information, please see: kingsheadtheatre.com/autobahn
Courtesy to #LDNTheatreBloggers, and officialtheatre.com for arranging the evening.