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Louise Penn

Louise is a former librarian who has been consuming theatre since childhood. Her particular interests are female-led theatre, queer theatre and shows about mental health, but she also loves musicals and classics. She has also published on archive television, film and books. Her blog can be found at https://loureviews.blog




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BWW Review: BLACK LOVE, Kiln Theatre
April 2, 2022

There is a sense of anticipation in the air as we take our seats for Black Love, which comes to the Kiln for a strictly limited run this month. As Aurora (Nicholle Cherrie) slinks into the stage set of white boxes, surrounded on all sides by the audience, she brings with her a stylised version of which 'black love' might be.

BWW Review: CLYBOURNE PARK, Park Theatre
March 25, 2022

A revival of Bruce Norris’s biting satire Clybourne Park still feels relevant today to questions of racial tension and gentrification. 

BWW Review: WHILE THE SUN SHINES, Orange Tree Theatre
November 25, 2021

As Bobby becomes engulfed by misunderstandings and misgivings, the script delights in lavender-tinged jokes, a wise ‘trollop,’ and a pair of would-be suitors from Free France and the United States. Farce is hard to get right, but the comings and goings, double-takes and cheeky dialogue are all on point. A cast of seven boasts no weak links and an excellent sense of timing. Four actors return from the successful 2019 run at the same venue and clearly relish the opportunity to come back to this feast of fun.

BWW Review: HAIRSPRAY, London Coliseum
June 30, 2021

Returning to London after more than a decade, and a few false starts, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s musical is, to quote the closing number of act one, “big, blonde, and beautiful”. 

BWW Review: TARANTULA at Southwark Playhouse
May 2, 2021

Toni's life is about to change on a sunny day in East London. Issues of memory, identity and shadows of the past are explored in this one-woman show featuring Georgie Henley.

BWW Review: HYMN at Almeida Theatre (online)
February 19, 2021

Two men meet at a funeral in Lolita Chakrabarti's intense and uncompromising new play, which proves a lively yet thoughtful piece on family and friendship and features her husband, Adrian Lester, in the cast.

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Jermyn Street Theatre Online
December 20, 2020

In a season of numerous versions of A Christmas Carol, modern or traditional, musical or dramatic, streamed or live, with puppets or people, this production from the Guildford Shakespeare Company and Jermyn Street Theatre is a welcome addition to festivities.

BWW Review: NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS, Almeida Theatre
December 10, 2020

It is refreshing to see the Almeida come back with something a little different: a play with songs about loss and connection. Co-created by Chris Bush, Rebecca Frecknall, and the six-strong cast, Nine Lessons and Carols is far from your cosy festive treat, instead opting to address situations with black comedy and an air of gloom. 

BWW Feature: Online Theatre You May Have Missed
November 25, 2020

There have been many theatre productions made available during the pandemic lockdown in the UK, while stages have been quiet and venues closed. We take a look at some of the highlights you may have missed online over the past few months.

BWW Review: 15 HEROINES, Jermyn Street Theatre Online
November 9, 2020

15 Heroines is a major new digital project by Jermyn Street Theatre in collaboration with Digital Theatre Plus. Taking Ovid’s Heroides as inspiration they reach back across thousands of years and into the cultures of the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Africa, the heroines are rehabilitated and placed in a modern setting.

BWW Interview: Tom Littler Talks 15 HEROINES at Jermyn Street Theatre
October 22, 2020

Next month Jermyn Street Theatre, the smallest producing house in the West End, celebrates 15 Heroines in a series of monologues written and performed by female and non-binary creatives. We asked the theatre's Artistic Director (and co-director of the plays) Tom Littler to tell us more.

BWW Review: SUNNYMEAD COURT, Tristan Bates Theatre
September 25, 2020

Presented by Defibrillator, in conjunction with The Actors' Centre, Gemma Lawrence's new play Sunnymead Court is a two-hander tale for our times. When Marie, thin, nervy, introverted, states she dreams of becoming a brain in a jar without the burden of a physical body, we know she will have problems reaching out for real contact. A regular piece of music she plays brings Stella, a confident and ongoing person who just wants to get sweaty again dancing with her mates.

BWW Review: LOVE SCREENS, Open Ealing Online
September 8, 2020

Love Screens brings three short plays by Nicolas Ridley together in one pre-recorded Zoom presentation, with themes of love, loss, friendship, and life.

BWW Review: BBC PROMS: PLAYING DOUBLES, Royal Albert Hall
September 4, 2020

Violinist Nicola Benedetti joins period-instrument group the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for a celebration of Baroque concertos.

The Shows That Made Us: MY FAIR LADY
September 9, 2020

Whenever I see My Fair Lady, or hear a note from the score, or catch the film, I feel a warm glow pass over me. It truly is 'loverly'.

BWW Review: DECLAN, Traverse Festival Online
August 28, 2020

The acclaimed 2018 production Mouthpiece returns to the Traverse Theatre, now reimagined for the digital stage. Lorn Macdonald performs in, directs and edits this involving take on Declan, the character in the original play. We hear his version of the events, see his Edinburgh through his eyes.

BWW Review: ALBION, BBCiPlayer
August 18, 2020

Mike Bartletta??s tragicomedy Albion returned to the Almeida stage in early 2020 and is now captured on film for the BBC. Set across the four seasons in a country garden, it teases out the disintegration of dreams and family alongside the upcoming spectre of the UKa??s exit from the European Union.

BWW Review: BIRDSONG, Original Theatre Online
June 30, 2020

The Original Theatre Company commemorate the 104th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme by bringing their adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong to the screen. Building on the techniques used to stream during the early stages of lockdown, Birdsong loses none of its power, relevance, or sense of storytelling.

BWW Review: RAZED AND CONFUZED Goes Digital
June 27, 2020

For Pride Month, Razed and Confuzed has moved from its live stages to a new digital platform run by Something to Aim For. Bringing together early career artists across cabaret and theatre, Raze Collective continue their series nurturing queer artists in a special livestream.

BWW Interview: Rachel Wagstaff Discusses Adapting BIRDSONG Into Digital Theatre
June 25, 2020

The Original Theatre Company are streaming a digital version of their touring production of Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong from 1-4 July. We talked to adaptor Rachel Wagstaff about her career, how the show has evolved, and what she thinks of the current situation with theatres in lockdown.



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