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09 August 2019

Scotsman Fringe Firsts for ENOUGH and RICH KIDS at Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Read More On: Stef SmithKirsty Housley

Scotsman Fringe Firsts for ENOUGH and RICH KIDS at Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Today it has been announced that two of the first Scotsman Fringe First awards have been awarded to Productions by MLR clients. 

Stef Smith’s new play ENOUGH is playing to sold-out audiences has been described as ‘profoundly poetic.’ 

‘Brilliantly performed by Louise Ludgate and Amanda Wright, Stef Smith's new play for the Traverse is about the friendship between two air stewardesses, drawn together in ways too complicated to express, and the imminent destruction of both the plane they're in and perhaps the whole world.’

Also at the Traverse 2, RICH KIDS: A HISTORY OF SHOPPING MALLS IN TEHRAN, Co-Created by Kirsty Housley, is playing to full-houses and gaining rave-reviews from audiences and critics.   

‘Already one of the hottest tickets at the Traverse, Javaad Alipoor’s play begins with a car crash and expands to create a powerful, non-western perspective on a global civilisation spinning out of control.’

ENOUGH and RICH KIDS: A HISTORY OF SHOPPING MALLS IN TEHRAN play at the Traverse Theatre until Sunday 25thAugust. 

 
07 August 2019

Stef Smith’s ENOUGH is a 'Profoundly Poetic Production' ★★★★

Read More On: Stef Smith

Stef Smith’s ENOUGH is a 'Profoundly Poetic Production' ★★★★

The reviews are in for Stef Smith’s searing new play, ‘Enough’ premiering at the Traverse Theatre for a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Festival, 2019. 

★★★★ Lyn Gardner for EdFest Mag

'Like Caryl Churchill, Smith writes brilliantly about the anxiety that simmers behind the eyes, the sense of impending doom, the lurch in the stomach as the world seems to tip on its axis and go into free fall. Few write better than Smith about the internal world of women, the emotional hinterlands that we keep hidden, the lies, like splinters, that we tell ourselves.' 

★★★★ The Skinny 

‘Stef Smith’s Enough is a profoundly poetic production which unravels the sometimes treacherous journey of female friendship and expectations.  

‘Smith’s script captures the tiring expectations put upon women, not only by themselves but by employers, partners and society. Even in descriptions of brutality, the language is gorgeous. Enough comes from a place of fire at the hurt thundering beneath our feet. With powerfully emotional performances and chaotically passionate writing, its a powerhouse of emotion.’ 

★★★★ Fest Mag 

‘This feels like the right moment for a play ultimately about female anger and our harnessing of it. […] Between its theatrical accomplishment and contemporary relevance, audiences will leave feeling like Enough is as much a call to action as a Fringe show.’ 

★★★★ The List 

'Female friendship and the roles of women are dissected in a production that's impossible to second-guess but consistently hard to resist. It's savage, funny and heartbreaking, because it chases the truth that lurks in the shadows, confronting the secret selves that only we know. 

★★★★ The Scotsman 

'Two immaculately-dressed female flight attendants gradually crumbling in a failing world as an aircraft plunges to destruction, - the image that lies at the heart of Stef Smith’s terrific and terrifying new stage poem for two actors, Enough. 

Yet there’s also huge lightness, humour and energy in Smith’s writing, as she sends up the once-magical role of “air hostesses” as global symbols of modernity, freedom, flight, and sex.' 

★★★★ The Arts Desk

‘A guttural howl of fury and despair – at ancient grievances re-emerging, at a crisis in the natural world, at the fact that there’s still a battle for women that needs fighting. The darkly funny journey Smith takes to get between those two extremes, though, is funnelled into a taut, tight and thoroughly convincing dramatic structure.’

★★★★ The Herald

'Smith has transcended such potential pitfalls to create a dramatic symphony of words. This mixes dialogue, interior monologue, some sharp one-liners and a wash of psycho-sexual surreal imagery put through a latter day feminist filter.

As Kai Fischer’s set seems to self-destruct, Jane, Toni and a million other women rise up like air, the sky no longer the limit.'

The Independent  

'The ground begins to shake. Something is breaking, splitting, cracking. Something is trying to push up and out.'

What’s On Stage

‘it is powerful, gripping stuff and brilliantly performed by Louise Ludgate and Amanda Wright who capture both the beats of life as women escaping their troubles in drunken forgetfulness and the terror that lurks beneath.’

 

 
05 August 2019

HORRIBLE HISTORIES hits the silver screen

Read More On: Jessica Swale

HORRIBLE HISTORIES hits the silver screen

Based on Terry Deary’s best-selling books, HORRIBLE HISTORIES: THE MOVIE ROTTEN ROMANS has been adapted for the big screen by Altitude Film Entertainment and BBC Films. Starring Derek Jacobi, Kim Cattrall, Nick Frost, Warwick Davis and British comedy legends Lee Mack and Sanjeev Bhaskar, the film has a screenplay by MLR’s Jessica Swale.

The Mail on Sunday ★★★★

Rotten Romans, in which a game Derek Jacobi reprises his iconic role as Emperor Claudius, is fresh, clever and funny.”

Matthew Bond, 29th July 2019
 

Sunday Express

“There are some very funny lines, the script is littered with historical facts and its impressive cast includes Derek Jacobi, Kim Cattrall and Nick Frost.”

Andy Lea, 28th July 2019

i - Life

“The film gallops through 1st-century betrayal and bloodshed with vim and a mischievous grin… Croft and Jones fling themselves into their roles with gusto, emphasising a strong message of collaboration and gender equality that should resonate clearly with the target audience.”

Cinema: Film of the Week, 27th-28th July 2019

Den of Geek

“…this is (in the best way possible) like a funnier, more high-brow Carry On movie.”

“As likeable leads, Jones is great as the all-singing, all-dancing, all fighting chief’s daughter and Croft’s performance style echoes Jim Dale’s Carry On turns from certain angles, but they’re also absolutely surrounded by the cream of this country’s comedic character actors.”

Mark Harrison, 29th July 2019
 
31 July 2019

KISS ME, KATE in sizzling ★★★★★ revival at the Watermill

Read More On: Tom Attwood

KISS ME, KATE in sizzling ★★★★★ revival at the Watermill

Cole Porter’s classic Shakespearean celebration opened at the Watermill Theatre in its first ever production featuring actor-musicians. Musical Supervision & Orchestrations by Tom Attwood.

The Times ★★★★★

"They really are a band of players. Putting actor-musicians centre stage injects glorious energy into this intimate revival... Tom Attwood’s inventive orchestrations provide a rare emotional charge."
 

Broadway World ★★★★★

“a dazzling cast of actor-singer-dancer-musicians who flood this intimate space with their energies and talents…”

“What a wonderful night's entertainment - don't miss it!”
 

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“[an] exciting young company of multi-talented actor/musicians spill onto the Watermill's tiny stage, tuning their instruments to blast out Tom Attwood's big brassy arrangements and dancing up a storm… they energise the space they share with the audience”

The Guardian ★★★★
 

 
24 July 2019

OKLAHOMA! is more than OK!

Read More On: Matt ColeNigel Lilley

OKLAHOMA! is more than OK!

Jeremy Sams’ new production at the Chichester Festival Theatre features Choreography by Matt Cole and Musical Supervision, Musical Direction & Dance Arrangements by Nigel Lilley.

The Sunday Times ★★★★

“Matt Cole’s choreography is a whirl of communal gusto and individual detail. It is bold, too: a sequence with massed rope-skipping could easily go wrong. This dancing has guts, and a dream sequence with cowboys in Friesian cattle-coloured outfits adds a surreal dimension.”

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“the real winner is Matt Cole's choreography… "Dream Ballet" and "The Farmer and The Cowman" deliciously sandwich the interval. Euphoria, humour and tension all coexist as the piece spirals towards a sad climax.”

The Telegraph ★★★★

“Jeremy Sams’ resplendent revival of one of the all-time great American musicals delivers what any summer audience could want.”
 

Broadway World ★★★★

“tremendous set-pieces… None better than the second act opener, "The Farmer and The Cowman" - choreographer Matt Cole's barnstormin' barn dance (with a whiff of Sharks vs Jets), topping a psychologically traumatic dream ballet sequence that borrowed a little from Bob Fosse. Roll in songs with Rodgers and Hammerstein's signature simplicity that unpeels into so many levels of complexity, and you've a surefire hit!”

The Reviews Hub ★★★★

“From the opening number all the way through to a triumphant finale, the audience is kept thoroughly entertained by the vibrancy of the music, cast and choreography.”
 

“…the choreography really stand[s] out. Matt Cole’s routines are simply outstanding, most notably the pieces either side of the interval. Firstly the ‘Dream Ballet’ running from virginal white to burlesque black and red as Laurey’s dream twists and turns, then after the interval the rollicking barn dance of The Farmer and the Cowman complete with live fiddle, and almost as much fighting as dancing. The company are given an exhausting workout which they manage with considerable panache.”
 

Sardines Magazine ★★★★

“Matt Cole’s choreography is slick and exciting especially during the hoedown and the nightmare sequence. And I really enjoyed the the work of the magnificent orchestra under Nigel Lilley as MD.”

 

British Theatre Guide

“Set, costume, choreography and music all blend perfectly and the dancers are fantastic with director Jeremy Sams keeping the pace hot and often frantic. The biggest surprise is the dream sequence at the end of act 1 which is most unusual, unexpected and surreal, beginning with the innocence of romantic love before erupting into a high-octane nightmare of eroticism, and a lot of fire!”

“the audience stayed on in their seats to hear every last note played by Nigel Lilley’s orchestra”