Tag Archives: Review

King Rufus

King Cowboy Rufus Rules The Universe!

London Theatre Workshop

Reviewed – 15th August 2017





“The cast is on point, sustaining the focus and frenetic energy unwaveringly”



An English fop, who pretends to be an American cowboy but dreams of being King. There is no way to sum up the plot of Richard Foreman’s 2004 play, as there is none. This is a surreal abstract glimpse into the psyche of an infantile and reckless buffoon, playing with the power of his own subconscious – made all the more nightmarish for the very real links to a certain Mr Trump. 

This is a very ambitious and brave play for a fringe company to attempt and director (designer and choreographer) Patrick Kennedy’s team certainly give it their all.

It is worth saying straight up – this is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It is disorientating, disconnected and confrontational from the off. This is not a world to get comfortable in yet Patrick Kennedy embraces it fully. This is his third Foreman play and he clearly loves the material. From the set detail to the glaring lights, this is a tightly choreographed piece which addresses each new image with precision. The care in which the grotesque is presented creates a genuinely unsettling atmosphere – like riding in a limousine with a drunk at the wheel. The comedy is dark, made more so by recent events – King Rufus at one point does a Nazi salute – and it offers up no answers. In forcing the audience to assemble it’s own meaning Kennedy succeeds admirably.

The cast is on point, sustaining the focus and frenetic energy unwaveringly. As man-baby King Rufus, Stewart Briggs has a dangerous innocence, credibly flipping from childish to psychotic in an instant, charming but never likeable. As Susie, the stand out performer Madelaine Nicole Jennings injects some sass and warmth into the gun-totting bride and Kate Baxter’s innocuous, dead-eyed Baron Herman brings a chilling undercurrent to all her scenes. But the highlight for me was the music – the ensemble, completed by Jessica Foden and Dev Joshi, is lyrically stunning, beautifully complementing Kieran Stallard’s composition.

However not all of the effects succeed. In an intimate space with a limited budget some of the visual props don’t have the impact needed to carry the images. The constant bombardment may have meant to be abrasive, but repetitive rhythm also risks becoming predictable and at one hour and 20 minutes the show certainly outstays its welcome.

This is not a show for everyone. It’s not one I would rush to see again. But it is exciting to see a young director and an accomplished cast use the fringe for what it was intended for – to take a risk and play with a more obscure type of theatre. For that reason alone I’m pleased I went and I hope to see more from this company.


Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com

Photography by Alessia Chinazzo




is at the London Theatre Workshop until 26th August 



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The Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 8th August 2017





“An interesting piece … well performed by all”


Mrs Orwell (by Tony Cox) explores the private side of one of the most public icons of the 20th century. Room 65, University College Hospital in 1949, George Orwell languishes with a severe case of tuberculosis yet believes he still has much more time to live …

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This production was well-directed (Jimmy Walters), and fast paced. I thought it covered a lot of ground, and had well-drawn characters, which were ably acted, although sometimes I felt the scenes finished rather abruptly and the arc of the story was rather disjointed at times.

The physicality of the actor playing George Orwell (Peter Hamilton Dyer) was superb, and he created a strong sense of place and time and intent.

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The nurse (Rosie Ede) also had clear intentions, and brought a little humour, which was welcomed. The relationship between a sickly Orwell, and the young junior editor, Sonia Bronwell (Cressida Bonas) appeared a rather practical union, and so there wasn’t much at stake, and dramatically, it felt a bit flat.

However, the dynamism between her and the louche Lucian Freud, played by Edmund Digby-Jones, livened things up temporarily …

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It was an interesting piece with a cleverly designed set (Rebecca Brower), and well-performed by all.


Photography by Samuel Taylor





is at The Old Red Lion Theatre until 26th August



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