Sally Barnden

Sally is a PhD student working in performance history at King's College, having graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of York. She also moonlights as a tour guide and dabbles in theatre and film production. Since moving to London in 2010 she has tried to see as much theatre as possible. She worked as an usher in the West End and volunteered at the Roundhouse during the RSC residencies of 2010 and 2012, and blogs about performance at Euston Street Diaries.
"This is a Regency drama, not a...": Pride and Prejudice, the Panto at the Cockpit Theatre

Returning after a successful run at the White Bear last year, Pride and Prejudice, the Panto is a fun mash-up of Regency poise and festive silliness. The adaptation by Heather Remington and James Walker-Black manages to tick all the traditional panto boxes while keeping reasonably faithful to the plot of the novel, and works in a few surprises on the way. At the Cockpit Theatre.

Monday 16th December 2013 Read more...
Treat everyone as if they're Andrew Lloyd Webber: Ushers: The Front of House Musical at the Hope Theatre

The brand new Hope Theatre is hosting the world premiere of Yiannis Koutsakos and James Oban's first show. The idea of putting ushers in the spotlight is either brilliant or dreadful, depending on your point of view, but here it works startlingly well, combining deliciously bitchy satire with some catchy songs and likeable characters.

Saturday 7th December 2013 Read more...
Oil and Canvas: Lizzie Siddal at the Arcola Theatre

Jeremy Green's new play gives Pre-Raphaelite muse Elizabeth Siddal a voice of her own. It is fun and involving, even if it indulges a little too much in the soapy love stories too readily attached to the Pre-Raphaelites. Emma West's Lizzie is a revelation. At the Arcola.

Saturday 23rd November 2013 Read more...
Theatre Profile: The Rose, Bankside

We're on a mission to find London's favourite Off West End theatre venue. Here, our reviewer Sally Barnden tells us why she'd choose the Rose Theatre, Bankside. Vote for your own favourite Off West End theatre below!

Tuesday 12th November 2013 Read more...
Revels and Ravers: Twelfth Night at the Rose Theatre, Bankside

This streamlined, flamboyant version of Twelfth Night tackles the Rose's unique mixture of antiquity and novelty by gleefully mingling doublets-and-hose with digital cameras, strobe lighting and luridly coloured spirit bottles. It is (quite appealingly) rough around the edges, but makes up in verve and inventiveness what it lacks in precision. At the Rose Theatre, Bankside.

Sunday 10th November 2013 Read more...
Nobody comes, nobody goes: Godot at Waterloo East Theatre

In honour of the sixtieth anniversary of Samuel Beckett's landmark absurdist masterpiece, Steve Gough's Godot proposes to answer some of the questions of the earlier play. Unfortunately, it's a misguided project, and while Beckett is easy to imitate, he's difficult to imitate well. There are some inventive elements, but on the whole, there's "nothing to be done" with this ponderous nonsense.

Friday 1st November 2013 Read more...
Returning to Ammochostos: Hidden in the Sand at Trafalgar Studios

This new play by James Phillips is a bit too earnest and sentimental to be fashionable, but the compact human story is moving, and it gives a sensitive, bittersweet account of Cypriot history. Though it takes a few scenes to hit its stride, Hidden in the Sand thrives on Phillips' thoughtful writing and four strong performances. At Trafalgar Studios.

Thursday 10th October 2013 Read more...
Smother thy pity: The Duchess of Malfi at Southwark Playhouse

Reimagining John Webster’s loopy revenge tragedy as a lethal game of musical chairs, Eyestrings Theatre Company over-stylize an already difficult text; the result is dynamic but alienating. At Southwark Playhouse.

Monday 9th September 2013 Read more...
Every portrait is a self-portrait: The Picture of Dorian Gray at a secret location

This ambitious site-specific adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novella is executed with loving attention to detail and no small amount of flair. The result is both intimate and flamboyant; an immersive evening of glorious Victorian decadence.

Monday 19th August 2013 Read more...
It’ll all end in tears, or death, or worse: The Cripple of Inishmaan at the Noël Coward Theatre

Michael Grandage’s West End season hits its halfway point with this immaculate production of Martin McDonagh’s black comedy starring Britain’s youngest national treasure. The production has been the focus of some fraught political questions about disability, but I loved its steadfast refusal of sentimental clichés. At the Noël Coward Theatre.

Wednesday 3rd July 2013 Read more...
Every Roman and mankind: Julius Caesar at St Paul's Church

Set in the idyllic gardens of St Paul's Church in Covent Garden, this ambitious promenade production throws every weapon in its arsenal at Julius Caesar, and while some of it is vividly effective, some of it is badly misjudged. 

Tuesday 2nd July 2013 Read more...
Love, death and the One Direction generation: Romeo and Juliet at the Old Red Lion

Heading up the double-bill which make up Grassroots Shakespeare’s "Summer of Love" season, a breezy, spirited Romeo and Juliet at the Old Red Lion brings youth if not innovation to the classic play, performed by a talented and dynamic cast. 

Wednesday 19th June 2013 Read more...
Shadow play: Lear at Greenwich Theatre

Playing alongside Dido, Queen of Carthage in a solemn double bill, this Lear puts a female king at its centre. Atmospheric, frequently beautiful but occasionally self-indulgent, it makes a gutsy and vivid re-imagining of one of Shakespeare's most challenging works. 

Sunday 19th May 2013 Read more...
Tears for Eva: Evita at the New Wimbledon Theatre

This glossy new revival of Evita brought the house down in Wimbledon, thanks to a star performance from Madalena Alberto in the title role, but the production occasionally mishandled the awkward balance between satire and tribute to Argentina’s self-appointed patron saint. At the New Wimbledon Theatre.

Friday 17th May 2013 Read more...
Improbable fictions: Twelfth Night at the Rose Theatre Kingston

Celebrated all-male theatre company Propeller have applied their whimsical, vigorous approach to a fair few of Shakespeare's plays. In their hands, Twelfth Night is both darker and funnier than usual. A triumph. At the Rose Theatre Kingston.

Saturday 27th April 2013 Read more...
The last days of Elsinore: Hamlet at The Bunker

Stern Alarum’s inaugural production forgets quite quickly that it is supposed to be set under the pall of nuclear apocalypse, but the nightmarish space is by no means a bad setting for Hamlet, especially one as bold, gutsy and violent as this one.

Tuesday 23rd April 2013 Read more...
Confessions of a philanthropist: Doktor Glas at Wyndham's Theatre

A sophisticated Swedish import brings moody moral quandaries to the West End. Though somewhat austere in the execution, Doktor Glas is a play which lodges in the imagination, performed by a beguiling and unsettling Krister Henriksson.

Friday 19th April 2013 Read more...
The heap of broken images: Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Rose Theatre, Bankside

Though occasionally prone to the kind of avant-garde solemnity that can have a Marmite effect on audiences, this revival of Pirandello's 1921 play at the new old Rose is a conceptual masterstroke, executed with intelligence and flair. At the Rose, Bankside.

Saturday 6th April 2013 Read more...
Everyone loves Esmeralda: Quasimodo at the King's Head Theatre

Victor Hugo's potential for musical adaptation has, by now, been conclusively proven. Before and after Les Mis, various attempts have been made to bring his other, nastier novel to the stage. This production of Lionel Bart's 50-year-old Quasimodo is not destined for similar heights: it is camp, awkward, and shies away from the sex-and-death perversity of its subject matter. At the King's Head Theatre.

Tuesday 26th March 2013 Read more...
Lessons in Cuckoldry: School for Wives at the White Bear

Taking a playful approach to the battle of the sexes, Mercurius' production of the classic Molière comedy School for Wives is silly, fast-paced and hysterical, in every sense of the word. At the White Bear Theatre Club.

Saturday 9th March 2013 Read more...
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