Drawing: The Dragon at Southwark Theatre

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The Tangram Theatre Company’s brand new take on Yevgeny Schwartz’s brilliantly funny 1943 critique of Stalinist Russia, The Dragon, is currently running at the Southwark Playhouse in London.

Led by their award winning director Daniel Goldman, their productions are described as, “joyous, exciting, messy, chaotic, irreverent, intelligent, silly, fun and surprising”. The Dragon is all of these things and more. It’s an anti-panto and wicked allegory lampooning the soviet bloc. Daniel likens it to, “The Princess Bride meets Captain America and Animal Farm“.

Adapted by Daniel and his company, who form an impressive ensemble cast that includes Anthony Best, Hannah Boyde, Justin Butcher, Jo Hartland, James Marshall, James Rowland, Peter Stickney, Stella Tyalor, Rob Witconb and Charlotte Workman. They cover all the (un)usual suspects required for this fairy tail – Lancelot, the Knight-errant and cut price superhero; a narrating feline, a pretty and innocent in-and-out-of-distress damsel, her always distressed mother, a mad mayor-cum-diabolical-dictator, his sleazy intelligence-challenged son, visiting strangers bearing gifts, a cow…. oh, yes and a three headed dragon.

I was introduced to the term ‘samizdat satire’ by one reviewer. It’s the romanticisation of a soviet form of dissident activity and the practice of evading officially imposed censorship, which was certainly the environment in which the Russian-Jewish playwright wrote this piece.

The Dragon ends on 10 January 2015.

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Drawing: John Hinton and Jo Eagle in Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking at the Southwark Theatre

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The independent Tangram Theatre Company has taken up residency at the Southwark Playhouse over the Festive Season with two must see productions, both directed by Daniel Goldman.

The first offering is the award-winning Albert Einstein Relativitively Speaking, the part history lesson, part musical comedy, written and performed by John Hinton and accompanied by Jo Eagle.

The Times simply called it, “something close to brilliance”.

Albert Einstein, the eccentric theoretical physicist with “the übercoolest moustache in science” delivers a lecture that includes a couple of wives, his mum, two theories of relativity, two world wars, quantum leaps and two very big bombs.

One of the highlights is a hip hop number by guest rapper MC Squared – wunderbar! It runs until 3 January 2015.