Tag Archives: Pippa Winslow

Strike up the Band

Strike up the Band

Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Strike up the Band

Strike up the Band

Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Reviewed – 8th March 2019



“Beth Burrows as Joan displays exceptional acting abilities as well as charming vocals”


I’ll be the first to admit I’m a massive fan of musicals, so was surprised to learn of one I wasn’t already familiar with. Strike Up The Band was written by George S. Kaufman in 1927, with music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, and is a satirical look at America’s lust for war. The story centres around Horace J. Fletcher (Richard Emerson), a bigshot cheese factory owner who, with the help of various political figures and businessmen, gets the USA to declare war on Switzerland, who have recently opposed tariffs imposed on its cheese.

The show’s comedy value is clear from the start with the song “Fletcher’s American Cheese Choral Society” proving an entertaining opening number. We are then introduced to an array of characters, including Mrs. Draper (Pippa Winslow), a society woman intent on pursuing Horace, and her daughter, Anne (Charlotte Christensen), also looking for love in the form of Timothy Harper (Adam Scott Pringle). Meanwhile, Jim Townsend (Paul Biggin) uses a degrading newspaper article to get the attention of Horace Fletcher’s daughter Joan (Beth Burrows), both of whom have clearly fallen for each other.

The entire cast have done a good job of developing their characters and all show great vocal and acting skills. Richard Emerson as Horace J. Fletcher is a convincing power-hungry businessman, with Charlotte Christensen embracing her role as a naive young girl with love on the brain. Her scenes/duets with Adam Scott Pringle are particularly entertaining. A special mention must also go to David Francis as George Spelvin, who delivers a masterclass in comedy acting as a mysterious spy-like character.

A fairly simple set (Camille Etchart) with nostalgic props suffices and is brought to life with Giulia Scrimieri’s spot-on period costume.

Songs are well delivered with the help of a six-piece band, although this did overpower the singing at times, particularly during ensemble numbers. That being said, there are some definite musical gems scattered throughout. Personal highlights include “Hangin’ Around With You”, “Homeward Bound” and “The Man I Love”, a song in which Beth Burrows as Joan displays exceptional acting abilities as well as charming vocals.

Although bonkers and, at times, a bit difficult to follow, this is a musical that certainly has relevance today and will introduce audiences to some of the Gershwin brothers’ lesser-known songs – there’s even a bit of tap dance thrown in, for good measure! Thanks to director Mark Giesser for bringing this well-performed satire to the London theatre scene.


Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Andreas Lambis


Upstairs at the Gatehouse thespyinthestalls

Strike up the Band

Upstairs at the Gatehouse until 31st March


Previously reviewed at this venue:
A Night at The Oscars | ★★★★ | February 2018
After the Ball | ★★★ | March 2018
Return to the Forbidden Planet | ★★★ | May 2018
Kafka’s Dick | ★★★★ | June 2018
Nice Work if You Can Get It | ★★★★ | December 2018
Bad Girls The Musical | ★★★ | February 2019


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com


Review of Prurience – 4 Stars


Southbank Centre

Reviewed – 19th July 2017





“Pippa Winslow plays the face of the system fantastically”




Christopher Green’s “Prurience” is a piece of immersive theatre that works on a multitude of levels. Firstly, the awkward, disorganised setting up of ‘the meeting’ and the initial opening words and exercises; we all know why we are there… we all know why we have come …

Next, not getting down to the specifics of pornography addiction serves to highlight some of the potentials problems with the self-help system, such as the impersonality and having a weak group leader (Christopher Green plays this character incredibly well) supported by a corporation whose vested interest is more in ensuring that the people who need help, continue needing help. This really emphasises the satirical nature of the piece and Amelia Atkins (Pippa Winslow) is fantastic at playing the face of the system in a mocking corporate video.

However, things start to get really interesting when the group starts to stray away from the “Prurience” method and begin to speak their mind. The really outstanding thing with this piece is the structure, and the piece being so immersive really lends itself to what Green is setting out to achieve.

Prurience will leave you guessing and thinking long after you’ve left the theatre, questioning what is real and what is fantasy, highlighting exactly how pornography can so easily blur these boundaries. Green also makes some beautiful points about conscious consumption, the abundance of pornography and the access and availability to it, particular at much younger ages. The points, however, feel slightly rushed within the piece overall, as the structure demands so much of your attention.


Reviewed by Thomas Perks

Southbank Centre thespyinthestalls



is at the Southbank Centre until 30th July



Click here to see a list of the latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com