Katy Darby

Katy Darby’s work has been read on BBC Radio, and published in various magazines and anthologies including Stand, Mslexia, Slice and the Arvon and Fish anthologies. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing from UEA, where she received the David Higham Award. She teaches Short Story and Novel Writing at City University and runs Liars' League, a short story reading night (www.liarsleague.com). Her first novel, The Whores' Asylum, ("a truly Gothic little gem" - Independent) was published by Penguin in February 2012, and will appear in paperback in September, under the title The Unpierced Heart. Her personal website is here.
The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner at the Charing Cross Theatre

The Edinburgh Fringe hit transfers to the West End. There are lots of late-night laughs in this Gothic farce — even if it is a bit rough around the edges. At the Charing Cross Theatre

Monday 21st October 2013 Read more...
Sex, drugs and alchemy: Elixir at Theatre Collection

The best thing about this play is that at times it is, as the publicity claims, a farcical comedy "in the tradition of Blackadder" (II, to be precise) which the audience seemed to love. The worst thing is that it's overpopulated, poorly cast, sorely under-rehearsed and frequently pretty stupid. Let's just say it's the sort of show best enjoyed with a few drinks inside you, and split the difference.

Sunday 11th August 2013 Read more...
Discordantly brilliant: Ten Plagues at Wilton's Music Hall

It's impossible to review the stark song-cycle Ten Plagues without discussing its venue: Wilton's Music Hall, one of London's first grand halls, is every bit as scarred and decrepit as a survivor of the 1665 plague central to the piece. An ambitious one-man show, combining elements of music, theatre and opera and performed by Soft Cell star Marc Almond, this revival of Ravenhill's 2011 Edinburgh hit underlines its power.

Saturday 4th May 2013 Read more...
Captor and captive: The Duke in Darkness at the Tabard Theatre

Patrick Hamilton's lesser known The Duke in Darkness is revived at the Tabard Theatre to fantastic effect: wonderfully produced and excellently acted, it's debatable whether this thriller needed a "tragic love story" angle, but it doesn't get in the way – a must see.

Tuesday 23rd April 2013 Read more...
Singalonga Sherlock will charm your britches off: The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes at Hoxton Hall

Victorian venue Hoxton Hall marks 150 years with an absurdly enjoyable production of Leslie Bricusse's Holmes musical: Morphic Graffiti, following up 2012's Jekyll & Hyde, hit paydirt with this welcome revival into which a talented and exhaustingly energetic cast fling themselves with gusto. Slap on your deerstalker and string up your disbelief for this all-singing, all-dancing caper through the greatest Holmes case that never was.

Saturday 13th April 2013 Read more...
It's a knockout... (nearly): Punching Jane at The Last Refuge

Here's a quirky idea for a play: a group of 18th-century prostitutes moonlight as prize-fighters, setting up a boxing ring for the entertainment of jaded johns. Rivalry, betrayal and lots of brawling ensues. The unique premise of Punching Jane, along with the prospect of attractive actresses in their scanties, should get audiences through the door of Peckham pop-up The Last Refuge; but an early time-out left this punter wanting more.

Wednesday 20th March 2013 Read more...
Meaty absurdism, with relish: Hot Dog at the Last Refuge

"She pissed on me. Actual dirty yellow piss. I’m not overreacting on this one. My mother should not pee on me!" The poster quote for Sarah Kosar’s new black comedy is not at first sight especially promising, unless you’re moved to giggles by the very idea of old ladies weeing. At the Last Refuge.

Monday 18th March 2013 Read more...
A Rarely-revived Drama in a Truly Unique Setting: Dido, Queen of Carthage by Christopher Marlowe at the Rose Theatre, Bankside

If you're after some Elizabethan tragedy in an atmospheric setting, you won't do better than this revival of Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage at the Rose, Bankside. Unlike its glamorous South Bank sister the Globe, the Rose is something of an aficionados' secret: an archaeological space over the site of the original 16th-century Rose Theatre, which House on the Hill Productions use to rather marvellous theatrical effect in this show.

Friday 15th March 2013 Read more...
More than just Fine: At The Lion and Unicorn

According to counsellor Will, "Fine" stands for Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional – all qualities that both characters in this impressively subtle and affecting two-hander display at various points in the drama. And even if a play about a screwed-up teen and her equally unhappy counsellor doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs, Fine is also surprisingly funny in parts. At The Lion & Unicorn.

Thursday 4th October 2012 Read more...
A Fairytale Twist on War: The Trench at the Old Vic Tunnels

If a fairytale twist on World War I with a Chris Martin-style soundtrack is your bag, you'll adore this show. Whatever Les Enfants Terribles and Oliver Lansley do, they always do it in their own unique and original style, and do it damn well. At the Old Vic Tunnels.

Thursday 27th September 2012 Read more...
Soho Cinders

Soho Cinders has been waiting a while to go to the ball – ten years or more, in fact, while writers Stiles and Drewe have been working on other musical projects, including recent West End adaptation Betty Blue Eyes. But will she (or in this case, he – Cinderella, in this version, is a rent-boy) win the love of mayoral candidate James Prince – or that of the audience? At the Soho Theatre.

Friday 10th August 2012 Read more...
Virulent Experience

Virulent Experience, created by John Harrigan & Foolish People, is an intriguing, ambitious experiment, and for this alone the company and actors deserve praise and admiration. But all experiments carry a risk of failure, and this “immersive theatre event” doesn’t quite come off. Basically, if you like Punchdrunk, you’ll probably be disappointed by the missed opportunities in this. At Conway Hall.

Tuesday 7th August 2012 Read more...
Chicago

Anyone who’s seen the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Kander & Ebb’s 1975 musical will find it very faithfully reproduced the spirit and style of the stage version: so why watch it in the West End? Well, any musical that’s been running for over 15 years clearly has legs – and Chicago has tits, ass, butts and abs too, plus a hit-parade of cracking songs and a razor-sharp sense of satire. At the Garrick Theatre.

Tuesday 10th July 2012 Read more...
Spinach

If there's a more perfect show than Spinach to take to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, I certainly haven't seen it. With its economical cast of four, intriguing premise, single set, sharp, funny writing and outstanding performances, it's a shoo-in for an evening slot at the Pleasance or Gilded Balloon. At the King's Head Theatre.

Tuesday 19th June 2012 Read more...
Pop Magic

Rather like its host Boogaloo Stu, Pop Magic is colourful, camp, chaotic, creative and fun; but most of all, it’s a show about you. If you’re terrified of audience interaction and cringe at karaoke, stay well away – but if you’re brave enough to step onstage, Stu can make you a pop star, and you’ll enjoy it despite yourself. At the Camden People's Theatre.

Saturday 9th June 2012 Read more...
Breast of British

The challenge of reviewing cabaret and variety nights is that they tend to be, by their very nature, varied – in quality as well as line-up. Watching the Bluestocking Jubilee Cabaret feels rather like the Mitchell & Webb clip where they go through the show listing sketches as hit or miss. There’s about a 60% hit rate here, but brilliant WI rapper Mrs. Penworthy pushes this night to three stars. At the Seven Dials Club.

Wednesday 6th June 2012 Read more...
AOT: Physical Theatre

War Horse. Punchdrunk's Masque of the Red Death. Bryony Lavery's extraordinary Stockholm. Complicite and Simon McBurney's recent production of The Master and Margarita at the Barbican. What do all of these five-star, ground-breaking shows have in common?

Wednesday 30th May 2012 Read more...
The Art of Concealment

It's not easy to write a good play about the life of a playwright; as with Hollywood biopics, you risk comparison to the work of your subject just as the actor risks being judged inferior to Liz Taylor, James Dean or whichever star they portray. But Giles Cole's biographical show about Sir Terence Rattigan stands up very well to the scrutiny of aficionados and newcomers alike. At the Riverside Studios.

Tuesday 15th May 2012 Read more...
The Poetry of the Pre-Raphaelites

If you love poetry (and actually, even if you're not that fussed about it) you'll find plenty to enjoy at Live Canon, where actors who have learned the verse by heart perform work by great writers, using their considerable skill to bring pieces both familiar and forgotten roaring to life again. At the Bloomsbury Theatre.

Sunday 13th May 2012 Read more...
AOT: Musicals

What is a musical? And why are they the Marmite of the theatrical world, dividing everyone into either a lover or a hater? These are questions I've been trying to answer for a while now; watching everything from Guys and Dolls to Spring Awakening, attending classes on the subject, and even writing my own.

Sunday 6th May 2012 Read more...
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