Tag Archives: Jonathan Richardson

Fine and Dandy – 5 Stars


Fine and Dandy

Arcola Theatre

Reviewed – 26th February 2018


“a well matched and skilled ensemble who clearly enjoy the challenges presented by playing a huge range of character”


This wonderful tale of the adventures of Ernest Faigele Fine is a gender fluid delight, and should be prescribed for anyone who needs a joyous evening of laughter. Sue Frumin’s play began its life in 1999 as a one person show and has been developed with the Arcola Queer Collective into an energetic, hilarious romp.

The cast of ten almost all play multiple roles, and swap from one to the other with fast paced alacrity. They are a well matched and skilled ensemble who clearly enjoy the challenges presented by playing a huge range of characters that include a snake and God! Rach Skyer is so engaging as Ernest that the whole audience was rooting for them to find their way in life, to get to New York and become a great entertainer. To be truly Fine and Dandy.

There were some fabulous slapstick moments and a real poignancy, some villains and some heroes. And an audience that included quite a few reviewers roaring with laughter.

Jonathan Richardson’s direction is assured and has a lovely light touch. In the program notes they say ‘I like to make theatre which holds to the principle that a beautiful lie is far more important than the truth.’ They have certainly achieved that with this play. It has the lightness of a fairy tale and the energy of a farce, and is a celebration of Queerness that you could happily bring your children to.

The set is basic, with hanging curtains, trunks and a coffin forming most of it, and the many costumes are perfectly designed to allow super fast changes and support the characters they clothe. From the moment the audience enters, the atmosphere of a seemingly chaotic circus arriving in town is established, as characters flap about, argue, rearrange the ‘furniture’ and generally create the world of the play as people take their seats. Then the house lights go down and a genuinely mirthful and exuberant hour ensues. I was humming ‘Misery Farm’ all the way home.

I hope that this show has a life after its short run at the Arcola. It deserves to carry on and take the tale of ‘Ernest/Ernestine Faigele Fine, a singer of cheap ballads and weary tunes, inventor of the worst magic acts in history, a clog dancer of no particular skill and a wandering jew at the turn of the twentieth century’ to a wider audience.

Reviewed by Katre

Photography by Ali Wright


Fine and Dandy

Arcola Theatre until 2nd March



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Review of The Fems – 4 Stars


The Fems

Camden People’s Theatre

Reviewed – 16th September 2017





” … out to change the world one audience member at a time, helping us all embrace our inner bastards, one hair barrette at a time”



In a shimmering and sparkling corner of ‘the swamp’ live The Fems, a dazzling bouffant clown group epitomising the dirty word of gay culture, a theatre of the dispossessed; the world of all things fem.

In a 65 minute kamikaze cabaret, The Fems (written and directed by Jonathan Richardson) bring us into their world. Tackling cultural issues to the ground with humour and style through a series of sketches. Daring, brash, yet never too serious, The Fems are out to change the world one audience member at a time, helping us all embrace our inner bastards, one hair barrette at a time; you can run but you can’t hide.


Costumes and set have a carnival-esque feel, being constructed and deconstructed in front of our eyes. Mixing the symbolic with the referential, The Fems explore what it means to be a Fem, and the issues that come with it, demonstrating once and for all, that it’s hard to be a Fem. Lines sometimes felt a little sketchy, and I’d love to see this piece with further development, but the occasional lack of polish serves the comedy, bringing a feeling of improvisation, flexibility and snappy stand-up wit; it is a show in which you feel anything could happen.

Accessible and enlivening, The Fems celebrates and discusses the complexities of femininity without risking exclusivity. Every member of the audience is included and entertained, and The Fems strong message of support and openness never risks preaching, always maintaining the balance between entertainment and activism. A hilarious and thought-provoking evening for anyone and everyone, The Fems bring us into a ‘living breathing organism of playful theatrical wonder’, bringing the Theatre of the Bouffon new relevance and importance in which the ‘others’ parody the ‘self’, the excluded deconstruct the included, in the grotesquely wonderful world of Fem.


Reviewed by Tasmine Airey



was at Camden People’s Theatre as part of the

Come As You Are Festival



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