Vivacious, Victorian, and very good fun: Ruddigore, Gilbert & Sullivan, Southgate Opera

We tend to think of Victorian society as morally strict, judgemental, and socially tense: and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore, while confirming all the above, savagely pokes fun at Victorian ideals of social and moral perfection, pushing stereotypes to extremes in order to satirise the question of private and public goodness from all sorts of different…

Making more monsters: Blood and Ice, Liz Lochhead, Sewell Barn Theatre

“Feminism is like the hoovering: you just have to keep doing it,” once said Liz Lochhead, former Makar (poet laureate) of Scotland; and Lochhead has been true to her word, with a distinguished literary career often featuring feminist icons: Medea, Mary Queen of Scots, and here Mary Godwin, daughter of pioneering thinker Mary Wollstonecraft (author of A…

The life lesson of sharing: The Selfish Giant

Giant snores reverberate across Westacre Theatre’s wide stage as we settle down for Andy Naylor’s bespoke adaptation of The Selfish Giant, Oscar Wilde’s heartfelt fairytale about selfishness, loneliness and love. Through a translucent screen showing a projection of the Giant’s castle, we can just catch tantalising glimpses of his beautiful garden beyond as the story…

Surprises aplenty from I Fagiolini: Monteverdi’s other Vespers

I Fagiolini‘s very interesting programme of music by Monteverdi and his contemporaries pulls together a wide range of works, but somehow lacks an ensemble feel. These “Other Vespers” are not exclusively by Monteverdi: Robert Hollingworth has included pieces by Monteverdi’s contemporaries Bovicelli, Donati, Usper, Viadana and Gabrieli, as well as earlier bits from Monteverdi’s own corpus (such…