Saturday, 14 July 2018

New Music Friday 13/07

Ariana Grande - God is a woman

Ariana Grande - God is a woman

After releasing one of the best pop songs of the year (and a couple of Nicki Minaj collaborations), Ariana Grande's next single from the forthcoming 'Sweetener' is a sultry ode to female sexual empowerment. "When all is said and done you'll believe God is a woman," she sings, before commanding her lover to "lay me down and let's pray." Sex here is religion and if the breathy vocals, sensual production and video full of feminine imagery don't convert you, the celestial harmonies at the end surely will.

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Childish Gambino - Summer Pack EP

Childish Gambino - Summer Pack EP

Following the politically charged This Is America, Donald Glover switches to the other extreme with his 'Summer Pack' EP. After all, it's too hot to do anything in the summer besides slowing down, finding love and dancing. The glossy R&B production of Summertime Magic and Feels Like Summer is heady and sun-soaked, two tracks devoted to simple pleasures.

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Sigrid - Schedules

Sigrid - Schedules

Schedules is the final track from Sigrid's 'Raw' EP and it's the most uptempo and colourful of the lot. "I think we're a hit," she notes as she takes a risk on a new relationship, synths bubbling away giddily underneath. This is Sigrid at her most fun and cheeky.

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benny blanco - Eastside (with Halsey & Khalid)

benny blanco - Eastside (with Halsey & Khalid)

Producer and songwriter Benny Blanco has worked with some of the biggest names in pop, from Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5 and Justin Bieber, to Rihanna, Katy Perry and Jessie Ware. Now he's releasing a single as an artist in his own right, joined by vocalists Halsey and Khalid. It's a mix of different elements - dancehall beats, wistful guitar, and R&B melodies - that come together under Blanco's expert hand for a nostalgic take on young love.

Worth a listen.



Allie X - Not So Bad In L.A.

 Allie X - Not So Bad In L.A.

If Lana Del Rey were to go synth pop, it would probably sound a bit like this: a drawling vocal singing biting lyrics about America over hip-hop beats. There's wry humour here poking fun at the consumerist culture of the West Coast city, but the sultry beats are intoxicating.

Worth a listen.



MØ & Diplo - Sun In Our Eyes

MØ & Diplo - Sun In Our Eyes

This inseparable pair are releasing the obligatory summer track - the first from the Danish singer's forthcoming album 'Forever Neverland'. With production based on a plaintive piano hook, it's a look back at a summer romance that blinds you like the sun. It's probably most notable, though, for this amazing lyric: "I'm a dog searching for answers." Aren't we all?

Worth a listen.



Friday, 13 July 2018

Metamorphoses 2 @ Waterloo East Theatre

Metamorphoses 2 @ Waterloo East Theatre

In 2017, Off The Cliff theatre company performed Metamorphoses, a festival of visual and physical theatre based on Ovid's narrative poem. A year later and the company return with five new mini-plays based on that same source material.

It's a clever concept: taking a piece of Roman literature and transforming them into four very modern tales. Feminism, masculinity, politics and more are all explored through the eyes of gods and mortals, mixing monologues with dance and a dash of experimentation.

It's an ambitious undertaking that's something of a mixed bag. Opener 'The Tapestry' by Emma Rogerson is perhaps the most successful. Here, Ovid's tale of Philomela is smartly placed into the context of the #MeToo movement. The use of dance for Philomela's rape by Terrance shows artful subtlety where the remains of the piece are a touch heavy handed, but performances from Valenzia Spearpoint and Georgie Grier carry the drama with sincerity.

The night closes with 'A Bumper Harvest' by Christine Roberts, which sees the plight of refugees depicted through the eyes of Mors, the Roman personification of death. Powerful performances from Abdoulie Mboob and Naheen Nazmin contrast well with the matter of fact delivery from Meg Lake as Mors, asking us to question our treatment of refugees.

The three remaining pieces, though, struggle under the weight of their themes. The politics in play in Niall Urquhart's 'I Fought The State And The State Won' feel overly simplistic in a near future of fake news, and although Jonathan Brandt admirably uses the myth of Hermaphrodite to take on body dysmorphia and gender identity in 'A Couple In One', the overtly comical and cartoonish Tweedledee and Tweedledum delivery feels misguided.

Musical interludes between each piece are provided by a musical trio. Vocalists Weronika Bielecka and Olandra weave melismatic melodies and delicate harmonies in mournful union, underpinned by Samuel Creer on cello. The link between the songs and the scenes however isn't always clear, and although their music is beautiful to listen to, it unnecessarily stretches out the performance.

It is, overall, an uneven production with some moments of wonderful creative thinking that modernise the myths. At times it borders on pretentious and there's a lack of polish to the performances, but no doubt Ovid's rich work will provide plenty of material for more Metamorphoses to come.

2/5

Watch: Metamorphoses 2 runs at the Waterloo East Theatre from July 10-15th.

Ticket courtesy of London Box Office.

Metamorphoses 2 @ Waterloo East Theatre

Metamorphoses 2 @ Waterloo East Theatre
Photos: James Hall

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Years & Years - Palo Santo

Years & Years - Palo Santo

In the years since the release of debut album 'Communion', it's fair to say that Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander has become something of a gay icon. Now in 2018, in a year of albums from queer LGBT artists, Alexander is Britain's leading man, pushing the boundaries of what is typically acceptable in mainstream music. It's perhaps for this reason that follow up album 'Palo Santo' is so overtly queer.

As with the group's previous record, 90s dance beats proliferate: euphoric production from pop wizards like Greg Kurstin, Kid Harpoon and Steve Mac that belies the lyrical sincerity. Up In Flames for instance is pure 90s techno house, while All For You is a fizzing pop banger about the end of a relationship due to gay shame. Melodically 'Palo Santo' isn't quite as strong as their best work (King, Desire), but it's undoubtedly a more complete album. Perhaps that's due to this being so obviously the sole voice of Alexander, a man with newfound confidence both personally and musically. He wears his queerness on his sleeve, while vocally there are hints of Michael Jackson to his aggressive, sexually-charged delivery.

There's a concept behind 'Palo Santo', that of a dystopian future ruled by androids, but this seems to be informing the music videos more than the music itself. Really, this an album about living as a queer man in 2018. For the most part, that means sex and lots of it, with gay and straight men alike.

Yet the imagery Alexander chooses in all this is religion. There's a personal interest there (he grew up next to a churchyard and has admitted to being drawn to religious iconography), but more so he's subverting traditional views of both religion and the sinful nature of homosexuality. The translation of 'palo santo' is 'holy wood', a cheeky yet fair summation of the album's lustful themes.

Sex isn't just an expression of queerness, it's a way of overcoming internalised shame. Howl includes a direct callout "so help me God" and on Preacher Alexander pleads for his lover to "come on out, come on out" before tempting him to "take a bite". The religious theme is more explicit, though, on dramatic lead single Sanctify, depicting a sort of homosexual baptism of fire. "I won't be ashamed," sings Alexander defiantly, "Sanctify my sins when I pray."

Once the thrill of sex dies down, 'Palo Santo' is a frank depiction of self-discovery and the emotional torture of relationships. Hypnotised is the album's most beautiful, dreamy moment, Alexander portraying the mesmerising intoxication of a relationship in his wistful falsetto. Later on the title track, that same "sweet intoxication" reflects the darkness of a destructive partnership. If You're Over Me is all bubbly pop, but lyrically it illustrates the impossible nature of being friends with an ex-lover blowing hot and cold.

Later there's the up-tempo Don't Panic that bristles with fizzing anxiety, emotions erupting beneath a façade of tough masculinity: "sadness is secret, 'cause boys don't cry." It's not only a comment on toxic masculinity, but of the mental health issues faced by the LGBT community - something Alexander has publicly documented.

It's that honesty, behind all the futuristic synths and yearning melodies, that makes 'Palo Santo' such an electrifying listen. This is a pop album with real depth, pairing the very reality of queer experience with a fantastical sense of gothic, religious grandeur. It cements Alexander as a gay icon striding confidently into the mainstream, the voice of his generation.

5/5

Gizzle's Choice:
* Sanctify
* All For You
* Don't Panic

Listen: 'Palo Santo' is out now.



Saturday, 30 June 2018

New Music Friday 29/06

Drake - Don't Matter To Me

Drake - Don't Matter To Me

If you're sampling Michael Jackson, you're either a sinner or a saint. Drake, thankfully, is the latter. Don't Matter To Me uses a posthumous sample of MJ for its hook, his instantly recognisable falsetto floating over silky smooth beats. It not only marks this track as the most pop-friendly on lengthy new album 'Scorpion', but cements Drake as the biggest artist in the world right now.

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Years & Years - All For You

Years & Years - All For You

What made the debut album from Years & Years such a success was its focus on melody, each song layering hook upon hook (King remains their best track for this very reason). The music for forthcoming second album 'Palo Santo' has so far been tied more to its sci-fi concept, the tracks lacking that same infectious nature. All For You changes that, fizzing with up-tempo energy in a rush of euphoric melodies. This is the band back on top form.

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Charli XCX - Focus / No Angel

Charli XCX - Focus / No Angel

The previously released 5 In The Morning was more of a woozy curio for Charli XCX, who returns this week with two proper pop tracks. Both continue the PC music trend from mixtape 'Pop 2', all bleeps and bloops and heavily processed beats. Focus is the smoother, more palatable track of the two, but No Angel sees her letting loose her rebellious side with a cheeky wink.

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Pale Waves - Noises

Pale Waves - Noises

Where The 1975 gave us a disappointing return with Give Yourself A Try, Pale Waves have taken up the mantle of pop-guitar band of the moment. Noises fits neatly in their oeuvre with no surprises, but that funk guitar/wistful melody combo is stadium-worthy.

Worth a listen.



Ina Wroldsen - Mother

Ina Wroldsen - Mother

Norway's Ina Wroldsen has written a tonne of songs over the last decade for the likes of The Saturdays, One Direction, Demi Lovato, Anne-Marie, Clean Bandit and more, but came to the fore as an artist herself as the writer and singer on How Deep Is Your Love from Calvin Harris and Disciples. She's since been snapped up by Simon Cowell's Syco Music, with new EP 'Hex' as her first major release. It's firmly in cool Scandi-pop territory, but Mother truly stands out for its nostalgic lyrics and otherworldly harmonies.

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Sunday, 24 June 2018

Onrush

Onrush

Who said racing games have to be about...well...racing? If anything, Onrush is more fighting game than racing, with its focus on combat over laps. British developers Codemasters have a strong pedigree of driving games; throw in the creators of the Motostorm series and it's a recipe for chaotic action in a variety of vehicle types.

This arcade racer is anything but realistic. Its different game modes each have different aims that more closely resemble a FPS. For example, Overdrive tasks you with boosting to earn points; Countdown has you charging through gates like a high-speed dirt slalom; and in Lockdown you must control a moving area of the track, king-of-the-hill style. In essence though? Drive really fast and smash into everyone, before they smash into you.

It sounds simple, but there is method to the madness. Each race sees two teams battling it out for supremacy, with superior driving providing boost power (known as Rush) that allows for a special move with which to ram your opponents. And each vehicle class requires a different tactic. The speedy Outlaw motorcycle, for instance, gains Rush by performing tricks before draining power from enemy vehicles, while the heavier Charger earns Rush from driving near enemies and then bulldozing them from behind. The vehicles loosely fall into offensive and defensive types each with their pros and cons, so a good team requires a mix of classes. Think Overwatch with a steering wheel instead of a gun.

Initially, though, Onrush is a sensory overload. The beautiful vistas of tropical beaches and volcanic rainbow lakes rush by in a spray of sand, dirt, and water, techno and rock music pounding throughout as vehicles speed past and crash all around you in a blaze of bright blue and orange. It's daunting at first - and jumping online is not advised from the start - but the simple pleasure of driving really really fast and ramming other vehicles is a hell of a lot of fun. There's even a photo mode so you can show off to your friends, not to mention highlighting the detailed vehicles and particle effects - this is a stunning racer to look at.

Thankfully, there's a single-player adventure mode of sorts to help you find your groove. The races alternate between modes and force you to drive certain vehicle classes under specific conditions. It's perhaps a little too easy to win, but you earn extra points for performing certain actions in order to unlock further races. It's a perfectly poised learning curve that sets you up nicely for the challenge of racing online.

There aren't a huge number of game modes, options or tracks which is a touch disappointing. But there are plenty of ways to customise. Win races to earn XP and in-game currency that can be spent on vehicle skins, character outfits, celebration animations and more. Earn enough XP and you'll level up, not only proving your worth on the circuits but providing loot boxes with randomised rewards. Don't worry: there's no need for real-world money here and the rewards are all purely cosmetic. What is strange, though, is that the characters you choose to race as are given no back story or personality, yet there's no option to create your own to truly personalise the experience.

The racing genre these days is dominated by realistic simulators, but Onrush will scratch the itch for anyone simply wanting to hit accelerate for a thrill. The options are a little limited, but the game is completely focused on its central mechanics. Whether you want to dip in for a quick race or spend hours online perfecting your tactics, this is an utter rush from start to finish.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

New Music Friday 15/06

Troye Sivan feat. Ariana Grande - Dance To This

Troye Sivan feat. Ariana Grande - Dance To This

The first of two tracks this week to feature Ariana Grande, Dance To This isn't much of a dance track but is a more mid-tempo jam. The anticipation of two of the year's biggest artists collaborating is perhaps insurmountable, especially following My My My! and No Tears Left To Cry. This feels a touch disappointing as a result, despite the polished production.

Worth a listen.



Nicki Minaj feat. Ariana Grande - Bed

Nicki Minaj feat. Ariana Grande - Bed

This is probably the better of the Ariana tracks that sees Nicki Minaj courting a pop sound once again. "Got a bed with your name on it," sings a hushed Ariana with a wink. Bed, too, isn't much of a banger but it's slow burning and effortless, in stark contrast to their previous unsubtle collaboration Side To Side.

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Rudimental & Major Lazer feat. Anne-Marie & Mr Eazi - Let Me Live

Rudimental & Major Lazer feat. Anne-Marie & Mr Eazi - Let Me Live

With so many artists on this it's hard to tell who did what. But Let Me Live marks the return of Anne-Marie to the Rudimental fold, having previously been their tour vocalist, which is cause for celebration. The summer vibes are strong on this one which should prove a favourite on the London collective's forthcoming album and on their inevitable festival appearances.

Worth a listen.



Martin Garrix feat. Khalid - Ocean

 Martin Garrix feat. Khalid - Ocean

This is a more muted affair for the Dutch DJ, with orchestral strings and Khalid's soulful falsetto adding a cinematic touch. It still follows the typical dance structure and has the usual rock influence from Garrix, but you'll have to wait for a remix for a version that truly drops.

Worth a listen.



Bebe Rexha - I'm A Mess


I'm A Mess includes a writing credit from Meredith Brooks of Bitch fame, though whether she actually had some input or whether main writer Justin Tranter just ripped off her chorus is unclear. Rexha herself excels at this kind of guitar pop, but it all feels too controlled for the messy subject matter.

Worth a listen.



Betty Who - Just Thought You Should Know

Betty Who - Just Thought You Should Know

The 80s vibes on this, the opening track on Betty Who's new EP, are exceptional. The snap of that snare drum! The chiming synths! The joyously cheesy melody! The remains of 'Betty, Pt. 1' - the Australian singer's first independent release since parting with RCA, excluding the theme song for the new series of Queer Eye - has a much more modern sound. This is exuberant pop from an underrated artist, but the 80s pastiche is where she really finds her groove.

Worth a listen.



Friday, 15 June 2018

Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy

Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy

The fourth album from Sweden's Lykke Li sits at the intersection between heartbreak, icy Scandi cool, and rhythmic trap beats. It is, as the title suggests, so sad yet so sexy.

Let's start with the sad. Catastrophic sorrow has always been at the heart of her music, but this album came after the birth of her son and the death of her mother, which has cemented her firmly in adulthood and has clearly impacted the tone of the album. This isn't just a few tears; this is deep-rooted melancholy, self-doubt, despondency, and hopelessness.

Opener Hard Rain immediately sets the apocalyptic tone, celestial harmonies parting the clouds as clarity comes and a relationship crumbles into broken rhythms and deep bass. On Better Alone she repeats "I'm better alone than lonely" with doom-filled finality. The confessional Bad Woman is full of conflict, a woman torn between clinging on and doing the right thing by letting go. The nostalgic Jaguars In The Air is a rare moment of hope, but once the album ends with the wistful Utopia the very notion of positivity is a tainted dream.

Li's vocal follows suit: hushed, fragile and loaded with vulnerability. And her lyrics are simple yet illustrative and cinematic. The title track especially is pure slow motion melancholy that truly embodies the title. Later on Two Nights you get a real sense of a woman sat at home alone, smoke curling around her, paranoia setting in as she whispers "I think you might be with someone else". When rapper Aminé joins in the middle eight it shatters the illusion.

Yet all this sad is tempered with sexy, slick electronics. With Li living in L.A. there's a clear American influence here. Perhaps she's aiming for a more popular sound, but she equally never loses sight of her roots. Deep End is heavily hip-hop inspired, with its clipped beat and "swimming pool" lyric perhaps a nod to Kendrick Lamar, while on Sex Money Feelings Die she covers the usual hip-hop tropes of drinking and drugs amongst the tears. But those beats proliferate throughout, adding a modern sexy twist to the album as a whole. Rarely has tragedy sounded so good.

4/5

Gizzle's Choice:
* Deep End
* Two Nights
* So Sad So Sexy

Listen: 'So Sad So Sexy' is out now.



Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Monogamy @ The Park Theatre

Monogamy @ The Park Theatre

What a beautiful kitchen! James Perkins' set design is like an Ikea showroom: a spacious island unit, bushy herbs decorating the wall, and plenty of space to entertain. That's to be expected for the kitchen of a celebrity TV chef, but it's just a facade. By the end, it's left utterly ruined.

Written by Torben Betts, Monogamy is a satirical if clichéd look at the middle class family unit. Here are three people individually successful, but utterly incapable of actually communicating with one another. There's humour in the writing, but it's a bleak view of family life.

Like all family dramas, the plot revolves around food and sex. Olivier Award nominated Janie Dee stars in the lead role of Caroline, a TV chef so celebrated that some images of her drunk in the tabloids are unlikely to dent her career. Her real secret, though, is that she's been sleeping with the builder doing up the home, cheating on her womanising husband Mike (Patrick Ryecart) who drunkenly boasts of his golfing prowess. Their son Leo (Jack Archer) has recently graduated from Cambridge - the reason for their family dinner - but is terrified of coming out to his parents and remains distraught that his partner cheated on him.

Betts seems to be questioning whether the whole notion of monogamy is a fallacy. Can anyone remain loyal to one partner? But is lying and cheating with multiple partners really the answer? Either way, depressingly, none of these characters are truly happy. Not even an underdeveloped omnipotent God can help them.

There's a class war here, too, between the crumbling middle class family and the vulnerability of the working class characters who serve them. Builder Graeme (Jack Sandle) and his wife Sally (Charlie Brooks) have a failing marriage; Caroline's PA Amanda (a very amusing Genevieve Gaunt) feels lost after the recent death of her mother. Who is deserving of our sympathy? Where should our loyalty lie?

The problem is that all Betts' characters are borderline abhorrent and irredeemable. And as the drama rises to bloody, apocalyptic levels (laughable for its stormy cliché more than the script), it all erupts into an over-acted and relentless soap opera. There is entertainment to be found in the farcical plot, but these are ugly characters stuck in a very nice kitchen.

2/5

Watch: Monogamy runs at the Park Theatre until 7th July.

Monogamy @ The Park Theatre

Monogamy @ The Park Theatre
Photos: Helen Maybanks


Friday, 8 June 2018

Vampyr


Vampyr really wants you to care about your victims. As the duplicitous and newly turned Dr Reid, you must balance a thirst for blood with an innate human desire to help people. Biting necks gains experience but has serious consequences, while healing London's inhabitants of their ailments provides valuable information though the lack of blood leaves you weaker. That is, until you cure their ailments and bite them anyway for increased experience.

Where so many games work in binaries, Vampyr hides in shadowy greys and forces you to question every decision through its interlinking systems. Unfortunately, it never equates to more than the sum of its parts and an overall lack of polish leaves the curious central conceit flailing amongst banality, though it remains compelling enough to keep you coming back.

1918 London is battling a Spanish flu epidemic. The streets are ripe with illness, the sick are everywhere, doctors and nurses are heroes. Except the flu is just covering a vampiric outbreak that our hapless protagonists finds himself caught in.

As a vampire he's only allowed out after hours, meaning the streets of gothic London are in perpetual night. Exploring the semi-open world soon becomes repetitive and tedious, the city an infested sickly maze of mostly nothingness. When there are vampires on the loose, why would anyone be outside anyway?

Dr Reid is on a quest to find the vampire that turned him. As an overall plot it's a little too loose as it lurches from scene to scene, but it's the micro-narratives that hold interest. Each of the game's main acts centre on a societal pillar of that section of the city, so Reid must investigate his prey Assassins Creed style by speaking to the citizens and conducting some supernatural detective work. Nuggets of information soon build into a web that's laid out on the amusingly named "Citizen Menu" a little like the nemesis system from the Shadow of Mordor games. If citizens die, either by yourself or others, you lose out on side-quests and valuable clues so it's in your interest to keep them safe and healthy, or risk the district being overrun by vampires, werewolves, and their hunters. Kill the central pillar and the whole districts falls to death.

But you need blood. You are, after all, a vampire. Killing citizens gains experience points you can use to level up your vampiric skills and become more powerful. This is done by sleeping in a safehouse, but upon waking the next evening you could find some citizens newly dead or fallen ill. Maybe you missed your chance to save them...or drink their blood.

Your skills come into play during combat, which ambitiously attempts to match the elegance of Bloodborne. A stamina metre restricts you from wailing in too hard, while a blood metre is used for special attacks and must be refilled by biting victims mid-battle. It all feels a little clunky and the enemy design is unoriginal, though a dynamic difficulty stops things getting too tough. A crafting system also allows for upgradeable weapons using the detritus you collect on your travels.

Developer Dontnod Entertainment are best known for their work on Life Is Strange, so its easy to see why narrative choices are such a core component of Vampyr. But decision making isn't always handled well. It's not always clear what impact your choices will have which makes for narrative dissonances and frustrations, any sense of plot eventually dissolving into a confusing, bloody mess.

A lack of polish also lets the side down. Visuals are muddy and washed out, lip-synching is laughably muppet-like, dialogue inconceivable, load times infuriatingly long. It immediately takes you out of the narrative and reminds you this is a bumbling stumble of a video game and not the intriguingly complex dark vampiric role-playing fantasy it's trying so hard to be.

San Domino @ The Tristan Bates Theatre

San Domino @ The Tristan Bates Theatre

While in Britain we tend to focus on our own history of homosexuality and its eventual decriminalisation in 1967, it's easy to forget about other countries. San Domino looks across the Mediterranean to fascist Italy in the years leading up to WWII. While homosexuality wasn't a crime, under Mussolini's rule the country held virile masculinity in high esteem for repopulation.

In Sicily in particular, Chief of Police Alfonso Molina would raid coffee shops, bars and dance halls, outraged at the visibility of homosexuals. Men were sent off to prison islands - like the titular San Domino - which became places of injustice and, paradoxically, a sort of gay paradise where men were able to be more open about their sexuality and escape the war.

San Domino begins with a pre-show of contemporary songs in the bar, setting a tone of authenticity that the remains of the musical cannot sustain. Tim Anfilogoff's dialogue is full of modern anachronisms, his characters speaking in slogans and hooks that heavy handedly relay the importance of the themes rather than depicting believable humans.

The almost all-male cast is large and underdeveloped, each character just a 2D stereotype of homosexuality. A closeted priest conflicted over his sexuality and his devotion to God. A self-hating younger man who gets abused by a hyper masculine lover. A prison guard struggling with temptation. A drag queen as the flirtatious matriarch of the group.

There's a misplacement of focus here too. The relationships between the men are too often behind a veil - seedy rather than celebrated - while the most believable pairing is ironically the straight relationship between a man wrongly accused and the island's only woman.

The show never quite balances the sense of injustice against these men with a sense of freedom and the creeping anxiety of war. Instead there's clumsy modern humour and tragic emotional beats that miss the mark without the required depth of character.

Alan Whittaker's music also struggles with authenticity. Folk songs played on accordion, fiddle and clarinet create a wartime mood, but lurches into folk-rock ballads feel off-kilter. Melodies crack under the weight of storytelling, lacking elegant nuance.

Under the direction of Matthew Gould, San Domino has a sweaty, testosterone-fuelled atmosphere and the performances from the cast are impassioned with plenty of gutsy singing. Andrew Pepper stands out as Pietro/Melissa and Callum Hale has a powerful (if underused) voice as Paulo. There's plenty of heart here that highlights an intriguing moment in queer history, but the material ultimately isn't strong enough.

2/5

Watch: San Domino runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre until 30th June.

San Domino @ The Tristan Bates Theatre

San Domino @ The Tristan Bates Theatre
Photos: Rachael Cummings