Review-Ocean’s Eight

On paper, an all-female instalment in the Ocean’s series, featuring a great cast-lead by Sandra Bullock sounds like everything you need for a great time. In practise however, Ocean’s Eight never really hits the mark.

There’re a lot of parallels in this film to Ocean’s Eleven. The movie starts at the parole hearing of Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock). Once released, she reunites with her old partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett, Thor: Ragnarok) to pull off a $150 million diamond heist at the Met Gala.

They assemble a heist team; fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter, Big Fish), jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project), hacker Nine-Ball (Rihanna, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina, Dude) and Tammy (Sarah Paulson, The Post).

The idea behind this film, seems to be to just chuck a bunch of famous names together and see what sticks. The script really doesn’t have anything to say, the camera work is basic and, the characterisations are one-dimensional and this talented cast just go through the motions, with very little to work with.

They really hammer home the George Clooney/Danny Ocean references. I get that they need to establish that this is in the same universe as the previous films, but it’s done incredibly sloppily.

There is clearly a lot of potential here and the cast are clearly having a great time, but they deserve a movie worthy of their talents, Ocean’s Eight isn’t it. Perhaps they can convince Steven Soderbergh to return for Ocean’s Nine…

Review-Sancho: An act of remembrance

Rather shamefully, I knew nothing about Charles Ignatius Sancho prior to this play.

Sancho was born into slavery, but went on to become a classical actor, a composer, an anti-slavery campaigner, property owner, and the first black British person to vote in a general election.

Paterson Joseph begins his one-man play, in a bold and unusual way. He comes out as himself and explains the driving force that made him write the play. He explains that after seeing his contemporaries get cast in costume dramas, he was keen to join them. However, he was constantly told he couldn’t, as there were no black Britons before the Windrush generation.

Image credit-Robert Day

It’s impossible to not be drawn in by Paterson Joseph’s charm, wit and energy. He’s an extremely characteristic man. His entrance is fantastic and a great way to launch a solo show. There is no fourth wall in this production, Sancho will lock eyes with audience members, pull them up on stage, ask why they’re laughing. The play defies theatre traditions, much like Sancho’s life defies our perception of black history in Britain.

The 70 minutes fly-by, the script is sharp, witty and political. The set and sound design are both exceptional. The backdrops are wooden and help hint and Sancho’s origin. The sounds help truly immerse the audience into the period.

Joseph fully embodies Sancho. He’s clever, witty, a raconteur and ever so slightly camp.

Image credit-Robert Day

Sancho: An act of remembrance is masterfully acted, beautifully written and reminder about the power of theatre. I left the with a greater knowledge than when I entered. Sancho’s life should be a TV series.

I hope this kick starts a re-evaluation of our history.

Sancho – An Act of Remembrance is at Wilton’s Music Hall until June 17th. For more information, click here.

REVIEW: BIG FINISH: JENNY — THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER

She’s got planets to save, civilisations to rescue, creatures to defeat… and an awful lot of running to do!

It’s difficult to believe the character of Jenny debuted in Doctor Who 10 years ago. Since then fans have wondered whatever happened to The Doctor’s daughter?

The character was rife for further exploration and it’s amazing the BBC never thought to bring her back.

Thankfully, we have Big Finish. They’ve taken the character and given her a range of her own.

The scripts are sharp, funny and perfectly honed. A lot of work and love has clearly gone into this box set. The stories are kinetic and full of real world allegories; which in lesser hands could’ve come across as clunky.

Georgia Tennant and Sean Biggerstaff have an instant chemistry as Jenny and Noah. A personal highlight, is the fact that they allow Jenny to be fun. She makes jokes, which work well and relives tension in scenes. The mystery surrounding Noah is intriguing and you finish the audios with even more questions about him.

Big Finish have done it again. The Doctor’s daughter is fantastic, a breath of fresh air. The theme music is epic. familiar but different. It perfectly encapsulates the Doctor’s nature in Jenny. The stories and the cast are engaging. The sound design is flawless.

Jenny-The Doctor’s daughter is firing on all cylinders. A perfect synergy between cast and crew. I’m practically begging for series 2.

Written By: Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Christian Brassington, Adrian Poynton

Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Georgia Tennant (Jenny), Sean Biggerstaff (Noah), Siân Phillips (COLT-5000), Stuart Milligan (Garundel), Sarah Woodward (Vesh Taralesh), Clare Corbett (Lukaku), Arabella Weir (Angie Glazebrook), Silas Carson (Ood Leader), Rosalyn Landor (Vanessa Elledge), Olivia Darnley (Emily Cole), John Dorney (John Macguire), Pik-Sen Lim (Old Woman), Arina II (Shoon-Wei), Sara Houghton (Alitta), Paul Courtenay Hyu (Po), Adèle Anderson (Dreyda), Anthony Calf (Cal). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer: David Richardson
Associate Producer:Georgia Tennant
Script Editor:John Dorney, Matt Fitton
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

REVIEW: Star Trek in concert

As part of the Royal Albert Hall’s Films in Concert, two showings of Star Trek were shown over the weekend. Saturday showed 2009’s Star Trek. Sunday showed Star Trek:Beyond.

Both screenings were accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and conducted by Ernst van Tiel.

We attended the Saturday event.

Image credit-Penny Smallshire

I’ve attended concerts like this at The Royal Albert Hall, many times. But some how each time feels like the first.

For those who are unfamiliar with these concerts, the films are played on a suspended screen, above the musicians. The dialogue is intact, with the Orchestra performing the soundtrack and sound effects live.

Not only are these amazing musicians a sight to behold on stage, but the evening provided a phenomenal audio experience that no Blu-Ray can possibly live up to.

My personal highlight of the evening was the Orchestras performance of the Star Trek theme, over Leonard Nimoy’s “space the final frontier” speech. They received a seven minute standing ovation for this.

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What I took away from this event, is just how beautiful and timeless Gene Roddenberry’s vision is. This is an experience I will cherish for a life time.

I highly recommend attending one of these screenings. Click here to find out information about the next one.

Big Finish review-Torchwood: We always get out alive

Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams are on the run from a cataclysm. They’re the only survivors, and they’re driving away from the disaster as fast as they can. They’ve got to get away, they’ve got to warn the authorities, and they just can’t be late for the babysitter again.

Dim problem. After all, they’re Torchwood and they always get out alive. But this time there’s something in the car with them. Isn’t there?

This is actually a difficult audio to review, it’s an absolute joy to listen to. But, I really don’t want to reveal too much about the storyline.

We always get out alive, is another example of perfect synergy between writer and director.

Guy Adams and Scott Handcock have crafted an imaginative story, which in lesser hands could’ve been very boring. 98% of it is just Rhys and Gwen sitting in a car, but it’s gripping and epic-but at the same time keeping it a small, intimate story.

This is strong character driven piece, in which we get to know more about Gwen and Rhys’ family life.

Guy Adams truly delivers here, he uses the natural chemistry between Eve Myles and Kai Owen, the constrictive nature of being in a car and, the medium of audio, to the stories full advantage.

Once more the monthly Torchwood range delivers, this is a must-listen.

10/10.

Big Finish Review-Torchwood:Believe

The Church of the Outsiders believe that mankind is about to evolve, to reach out into the stars. Owen Harper believes that Torchwood has to do whatever it takes to stop them.

Ever since Big Finish obtained the licence to Torchwood, fans have wanted the original team in a full-cast audio and now, we have it. Sort of.

The full team are indeed back together, However the actors recorded their parts separately. For instance, John Barrowman lives in Palm Springs, California, so he recorded his side in America.

But, you can’t tell. It’s flawless. Your ears and your brains will fully believe the team are united and, it’s joyous.

Set someone before the end of series 2; Guy Adams perfectly manages to encapsulate that era. There were moments where I believed I was listening to a previously unreleased episode from 2008.

John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori and Gareth David-Lloyd all shine here. Each character gets a decent amount of time to develop, but I think my personal highlight is the Owen/Tosh relationship. Owen makes Tosh do unspeakable things, all whilst trying to prove he can lead a mission.

Prequel stories are notoriously difficult, there can’t be anything in the way of peril, for the original characters-we know their fate and, anyone new is likely to die, as they’re never mentioned in the main series.

However, such is the quality Guy Adams’ script and the performance of Gareth David-Lloyd, there was one moment in particular when I was genuinely concerned for Ianto.

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for Torchwood on audio. 10/10.

Written By: Guy Adams

Directed By: Scott Handcock

Cast

John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Mac McDonald (Steve Ross), Lois Meleri Jones (Andromeda), Mali Harries (Val Ross), Arthur Darvill (Frank Layton), Rhian Blundell (Erin), Chris Rankin (Val’s Assistant), Lloyd Meredith (Davey Russell), Jennifer Sims (Grey), Aled ap Steffan (Grey). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Producer James Goss

Script Editor Steve Tribe

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Price: Out of stock

REVIEW:BIG FINISH-Torchwood-The Last Beacon

In Torchwood: The Last Beacon. A signal in a Welsh mountain is calling an ancient battlefleet to Earth. Owen Harper and Ianto Jones head up into the Brecons to stop it.

This story is lighter in tone, than most of the Torchwood stories, in the Big Finnish range. It’s also probably the funniest. This is a buddy comedy. The pairing of Owen and Ianto is an inspired idea. The story pits them against each other, they’re in a small Welsh community-Ianto is in his element. These are his people, whilst Owen is a fish out of water, the locals take an instant distrust to him. Having Owen on the ropes, allows for some deeper character exploration for this mis-matched pair.

Torchwood on Big Finish, is Torchwood at its best and The Last Beacon is quintessentially Big Finish Torchwood.

This is a fun story, which further develops the relationship of its leads. It’s difficult to believe this is Gareth David-Lloyd’s first foray into writing an audio play, the story flows like it’s written by a seasoned pro. Let’s hope he writes another. Highly recommended.

Review-Torchwood: The Death of Captain Jack

Torchwood: The Death of Captain Jack is difficult to review, without spoiling. So, I won’t be discussing the storyline.

This is an ambitious audio, from David Llewellyn who once again proves himself to be one of the greatest writers Torchwood has ever had. He perfectly manages to encapsulate the history of Jack and John and give the Torchwood franchise a fresh new spin, all within an hour-long adventure. It’s an absolute joy.

James Marsters absolutely shines as Captain John Hart and, instantly reminds us why he was so popular amongst Torchwood fans. He’s the perfect foil to John Barrowman’s Captain Jack.

There’s also a slight dig at Torchwood:Miracle Day.

Director Scott Handcock and producer James Goss have their awesomely unique style all over this release. Torchwood on Big Finish, is the best Torchwood has ever been. They just get it, it’s ambitious, it’s loud, it’s sexy and over the top. Which is just how it should be.

10/10.

Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

 

Episode 189: The Justice Leauge of River Song

Back like a regrettable Tinder date, that won’t stop calling you.

It’s the first Bad Wilf Podcast of 2018, after 8 years of podcasting are we any better?

No, but here’s our spoiler-free review of The Diaries Of River Song and, our spoiler-filled review of Justice League.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn  @BadWilf

Pete  @BeeblePete

Gerrod  @Gerrod_Edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

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