About Copyright on this blog

I claim copyright over all articles I have written for this blog and for photographs and imagery provided where it is mine to claim. Others have contributed to this blog by supplying images, words and views, and the copyright of their contributions rests with them, and is credited where known. Any oversights are unintentional and I am happy to correct any misunderstandings by any reasonable means.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at hello@unrestrictedtheatre.co.uk

About Me

Hello!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope that you enjoy treating yourself to a little time indulging your interest in theatre.

My name is Gary and I have created Unrestricted Theatre for people like you who have an interest in theatre. There are many good theatre blogs being written. My intention is to add one more to the list. And my main aim is to encourage you and your friends to get out and see a show more often, through sharing with you my passion for the vast amount of great theatre we have in the UK.

Hard work has gone into thinking about how you might want to visit and what you might like to hear about. I hope that it shows.

All the opinions expressed are purely my own and come from decades of having experienced theatre in a number of exciting ways.

In my theatre life so far I have worked as a……

West End Theatre Manager

Copywriter/Journalist

Graphic Designer

Marketing Manager

Box Office staff

Fundraiser

……..and as a judge of the Perrier Award for Cabaret and Comedy (now known as the Edinburgh Comedy Award)


I am not an academic or a box office. I am just someone who is passionate about all things theatre, and loves to share that enthusiasm with like-minded people, like you!

If I can encourage just one person to go to one show that they wouldn’t otherwise have known about or thought about, then I will consider my time working on this blog well-spent.

Enjoy the show!


Please Note A lot of the imagery used comes from other websites, so if there is anything that I have not attributed correctly or you wish me to remove (as it your property and you object to its usage) then please let me know -by contacting this blog -and I will be pleased to put things right. I will sometimes use links to other websites to locate material which I think will be of interest to you, as it relates to the items I am discussing. This means that it is important that I let you know that I cannot accept any responsibility for material from external sites and any rights or infringements arising are the responsibility of the primary publisher of the material upon the site within which the material was found. I shall always do my best to ensure that any such links offered are valid and from secure sites at time of referencing. This blog intends to consistently operate in a reputable and honest fashion and any help you can give will be much appreciated and encouraged. Thank You.

Guest Contributors Guest contributors’ items and articles will naturally express their own ideas and opinions, which may not necessarily always be shared by the blog owner.

About this blog

You may be interested to know about how this blog is conducted. If so, this is for you.

This blog is an eclectic look at what I think might interest you, who have an interest in all aspects of theatre but don’t have the time to read widely on the subject. If it catches my eye, then perhaps it might interest you too. More Off-West End than West End, this blog hopes to give more exposure to those shows which may not have the budget or team to make that happen. For that reason, we will focus less on big West End shows and delve into more interesting, but less celebrated theatre works.

Furthermore, I know that you are interested in the people who make theatre, not just the big stars. Behind them is an army of dedicated passionate people who are every bit as interesting as those who walk our stages every night. My hope is to introduce you to some of these fine people and to remind younger readers that there are great careers to be had in the creative worlds.

This blog is proud to be truly Independent. I pay for every theatre seat I occupy, and this allows me to share with you my honest and UNRESTRICTED thoughts about what works…. and what doesn’t.


Review: Leave To Remain

Image from Lyric Theatre Hammersmith website
Leave To Remain at Lyric Hammersmith until 16 February 2019

IN BRIEF A tight, contemporary urban musical with a compelling story and movement which deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

It’s great to welcome a new musical set in London and this one has a lot going for it.

The story of a same-sex couple whose relationship is tested to its limits by visa regulations has a timely feel.  And it’s great to find a contemporary musical which reflects the look, sound and dynamic “feel” of London. What really distinguishes this show is the excellent cast, intriguing and captivating music (by Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke) and the direction/movement which adds its own value to the overall show.

Obi and Alex meet in London (in a whlrlwind-fast setup which opens the show) and only 10 months into their relationship, Alex’s company plans to move from the UK, taking him with them as he is American. The pair’s decision is to marry (so Alex can stay) is fraught with uncertainty and surprise as the compressing of their short time together into a legal commitment puts strain on their relationship and also their families. Family exposure brings new and old issues to the fore and the pair must address these before finding a stronger commitment. Can they navigate the pitfalls and fully trust each other?

The music mix is recorded, complemented by Chrio Blake’s live guitar accompaniment, and is always intriguing though occasionally over-repetitive. The songs do not have a traditional “musical theatre” structure but still allow characters to elaborate their feelings in a manner which feels very current and for musical theatre, exciting. Personally, I really enjoyed the music’s ability to sweep me along with it. The two leads, Tyrone Huntley as Obi and Alex, played by Billy Cullum are dramatically and vocally impressive – both actors have powerful voices which they use to the full.

Choreographer Robby Graham directs, and certainly the fully integrated movement/dance is one of the eye-catching things about this show. Put to specific use, it creates a disorientating and unsettling feeling particularly during scenes of high tension, such as the family dinner party, and Alex’s comedown from a drug relapse, which is both fascinating, tightly-drilled and effective. The scene containing four separate conversations (staged simultaneously and in the same space) is particularly ingeniously done, highlighting characters’ similarities and differences at the same time by assured vocal choreography. Rebecca Brower’s industrial-feel set designs are flexible, dynamic and restrained leaving plenty of open space, effectively reflecting London’s loft-living generations.

My only concerns were that the script spends much more time on Obi’s backstory than Alex’s, which affects our ability to care about both characters and their relationship. Matt Jones’s script does vary its pacing but sometimes that pacing is too slow (leading to one or two over-extended songs and scenes) so that getting to the story’s conclusion (in the straight-through 1 hour 55 minutes) feels rather rushed, somewhat cluttered, and therefore less dramatically satisfying than it might have been.

I saw this show at its last preview with an audience mostly aged under 35, who took to it eagerly and attentively. They ate it up, as did I.

Information and tickets here