THEATRE: This Little Life of Mine, Park Theatre
Written by: Victoria Highfield
Sex Lies and Videophones
A loveable look at intimacy and loneliness in modern day London
Meet Izzy and Jonesy, your average modern day London couple. Thirtysomethings with decent jobs, struggling to get on the housing ladder and desperately wanting a baby. Sound familiar? Their story isn’t a grand life and death tale set against startling backdrops but a series of unfolding everyday dramas. A series of everyday dramas that are a product of sex (sorry guys!) From scenes of swinging and slut shaming to lyrics such as ‘hurry up baby I’m ovulating’, A Little Life of Mine is all about shagging – with some life-altering consequences.
As the curtain lifted for Act One, my boyfriend and I were greeted with a scene we are all familiar with: the dreaded flat viewing. With romantic views of tower blocks, local cuisine of ‘chicken cottage’ and white IKEA furniture adding a touch of class, it’s the price you pay for a zone 2 home.
This clearly resonates with the audience and is met with laughter and ‘I feel ya sister’ vibes. The theatre itself acts as a metaphor for both the intimate relationship between Izzy and Jonesy and the small studio-sized living space that the couple reside in. I almost feel like I am there with them; a good mate trying not to point out the rapidly growing mould on the ceiling or damp patch on the carpet.
This is what ‘A Little Life of Mine’ is all about; taking you on a familiar journey with familiar people and Micheal Yale does this with success. From an overly friendly barista, nagging mother in law and Tinder loving city gal/best friend, these characters feel like home or at least the cast of Friends. In fact my mates and I are just like the main protagonists; living in similar areas, battling episodes in our lives that plague us as soon as we reach a certain age.
Credit goes to the four talented actors who slipped in and out of their different roles with ease. Kate Batter and James Robinson were extremely believable as a young couple in love, if producing slightly cringe-worthy dialogue at times. However it was Greg Barnett and Caroline Deverill’s comedic performances which stole the show and packed the punch needed for Little Life to get it off its feet.
The fitting melodies of Michael Yale’s lyrics and Charlie Round-Turners music were played out beautifully alongside the intimacy of the venue. Songs ranged from emotional, pull at your heartstrings ballads like “Sometimes I confess I wish I loved you less” to comedy numbers, such as ‘Just One More’ which sees one quick pint escalate into a full blown drinking sesh. Oh Jonesy, we’ve all been there mate! There are a fair few decent songs throughout, however not as many as I would have liked considering the show’s being marketed as brand new British ‘musical’(much to my boyfriend’s delight as he can’t stand anything too cheese!) At times though, I thought the songs jarred with the realistic subject matter and that’s perhaps why there weren’t as many.
Drinking is a big theme in the production and almost every scene is welcomed with an alcoholic bevy. The audience (myself included) were too swigging along merrily and it really highlighted London’s love of booze. We love it nearly as much as we love our city, and that is a hell of a lot!
Jokes aside it highlights how alcohol, whether good or bad, never fails to comfort our day-to-day stresses. I particularly loved Izzy’s painfully honest song about drinking alone after her failed pregnancy in Act 2. This is very much a social show, where you can go and enjoy a glass of red with the gang and relax into thinking about the oddly consoling problems of other people rather than your own.
The ending of the show is ambiguous. The closing scene pans out as most romantic comedies do; showing what happily ever after is ‘supposed’ to look like. Projections on the big screen, which are a nod to Izzy’s job as film editor, show Izzy and Jonesy with cute baby boy in hand and all seems perfect. However the audience are left wondering whether this is really reality or simply Izzy’s fantasy ending in her own fairy-tale movie.
With its diverse and cosmopolitan feel, Park Theatre in Finsbury Park is a perfect place to premiere a contemporary new show set in central London. There is a real buzz in the atmosphere – step outside and Little Life is all around you. Micheal Yale gives us a chance to look at a life behind the glamorous selfie with ‘nofilter’ hash tags and portrays an honest story of love and loss where ‘life is not a ball’.
This Little Life of Mine is showing at Park Theatre, Finsbury Park until 29th October 2016. Book tickets here.
Read our interview with Little Life actor, James Robinson here.
Photos by Charlie Round-Turner
Flocking to Holloway Road on one of the many Sundays that we’ve spent at the Nag’s Head Car Boot Sale, we spotted a new Vietnamese place called Pho Hot getting ready to open up their doors. Being the nosy folks we are, we peeked inside and spotted a menu. Banh Mi was on it. It's a baguette, but not as you know it. Glory of all glories! It’s been far too long since I last consumed this distinctive sarnie and I'm happy as Larry that there's a new Banh Mi joint on my doorstep.
Baby, it’s getting cold outside, and what better way to aide our frostbitten noses than a chat to a professional skin person? We’re talking to Lee Garrett, founder of The Garrett Clinic, accomplished skincare specialist and heralded by many as the UK’s leading Skin Guru. Read on to find out his insider tips for surviving this winter season with your skin looking as radiant as the moon that breaks a stormy night.
Joined by over 50 other artists incorporating printmaking, painting, digital art, photography and small-scale sculpture, Tomorrow’s World presents us with utopias, dystopias, predictions, prophecies and visions of the future. We hit up the private view last Friday and it was pretty damn bleak, in the best sense of the word.
Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.
Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon
Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.
Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.
Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.
Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!
By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.
Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.
Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!
Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!
Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.