The Life has opened at Southwark playhouse to a rapturous audience reception and a flurry of great reviews. It is 20 years since Michael Blakemore first brought the show to Broadway and he returns to direct the UK Premiere, which stars Sharon D Clarke as Sonja and T’Shan Williams as Queen.
The Life is a gritty but uplifting account of New York City’s underground scene with hustlers and hookers taking centre stage.
Onto his convincingly urban set play Nina Dunn’s elaborate and expertly judged video projections, which blend perfectly with David Howe’s by turns flamboyantly stagey or grittily cinematic lighting.
Nina’s video design is overlaid onto Justin Nardella’s hard-edged structural set both aiding the atmospheric transfer of location and supports the narrative. Lighting is by David Howe; sound by Sebastian Frost; Choreography by Tom Jackson-Greaves with Tamara Saringer leading the 11-strong band as MD.
Theatre Bubble ★★★★
Nina Dunn’s beautifully incorporated projection design allows the space to be easily transformed without complex set changes
The Sunday Times ★★★★
[…]there is enough gritty life and plenty of soul to keep one hooked in Michael Blakemore’s ambitious production, which recreates the atmosphere of the streets with just a series of projections and a metal barrier across the back of the stage.
The Independent ★★★★★ Jonathan Baz – My Theatre Mates ★★★★★
Equipment supplier: Stage Sound Services
Video Engineer – Gillian Tan
Producers: Amy Anzel and Matthew Chisling