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LSC alumnus Jason Pennycooke stars in Hamilton, West End

Hamilton: An American Musical has already made big waves over in America. The musical, which is sung and rapped throughout, follows the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s Founding Fathers. Hamilton opened off-Broadway at the The Public Theater in February 2015 where it had an extended run and completely sold-out. It transferred to Broadway in August 2015 at the Richard Rogers Theatre where it gained unprecedented advance box office sales and impressed audiences and critics alike. At the 2016 Tony Awards, Hamilton received a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations, winning 11 including Best Musical. The show was also awarded the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. That same year the Chicago production of Hamilton opened at the CIBC Theatre and the show began its U.S Tour.

And now Hamilton has been brought to the West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre and stars LSC alumni Jason Pennycooke in the joint role of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson HamiltonJason Pennycooke as Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre (2017) - Photographer: Matthew Murphy

Jason trained at London Studio Centre under a scholarship and graduated in 1993. For his first professional job, he joined the UK tour of CATS playing the roles of Coricopat and Mister Mistoffelees. In 1994, Jason joined the original European Tour for the award-winning Five Guys Names Moe, playing the role of Little Moe and the next year reprised his role at the Albery Theatre in London’s West End. In 1996, Jason joined the cast of Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria, where he played Rocky 3.

Jason Pennycooke Little Moe Five Guys Named Moe Albery Theatre West End 1995 c Michael Le Poer Trench squareJason Pennycooke as Little Moe in Five Guys Named Moe at the Albery Theatre (1995) - Photographer: Michael Le Pour Trench

Jason then went on to appear in Soul Train, a musical compilation devised by Mark Clements and Michael Vivian celebrating classic soul hits such 'Under The Boardwalk', 'Soul Man', 'Dock Of The Bay', 'Living In America' and 'Love Train'. From 2001 – 2003, Jason played the role of Benny in Rent and performed in the record-breaking original UK tour and in two successful runs in London’s West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

In 2002, Jason played the role of Joe Grant and was the Associate Choreographer for Sammy, a musical biopic of Sammy David Jr which was produced in association with the Sammy Davis Jr Foundation, New York. The following year, Jason played Joe Grant again, but this time in Golden Boy at the Greenwich Theatre for which he received some great reviews.

”As Joe, a lean Jason Pennycooke suggests a boxer with some brains as well as brawn and demonstrates natty footwork both on the dance floor and in the ring. After the Greenwich run, this certainly deserves to go a few extra rounds.”
- Evening Standard

“One of the best things about the evening besides the tremendous array of terrific black talent on stage, is the way it shows ordinary black people struggling in a white man’s world. The major performances are a knockout – particularly from Jason Pennycooke as the wiry and rather winsome Joe.”
The Guardian

“Jason Pennycooke as the young hopeful Joe balances a superb physical performance with a fine tenor voice. Pennycooke grows into his character naturally through the songs.”
- The Stage

Jason went on to appear in the European company of Stomp where he also performed with the French Touring Company, visiting Mulhouse, Versailles and Brest and then London’s West End.

Jason Pennycooke StomopJason Pennycooke on the poster for Stomp at the Vaudeville Theatre

From 2005 - 2006 Jason played Sammy Davis Jnr in the The Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas at the Savoy Theatre, London, which was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment. He was then nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor his performance as Jacob in the La Cage aux Folles which opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory and subsequently transferred to the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End in 2007 – 2008.

Jason went on to play Paul in Kiss Me Kate directed by Trevor Nunn at the Chichester Festival Theatre before transferring to The Old Vic in 2012. He then joined Memphis The Musical as Bobby Dupree at the Shaftesbury Theatre which closed in October 2015 after a year of sold-out shows.

“Pennycooke injects piles of humour into Bobby, a janitor with hidden skills of the performing variety”
- Talk Stagey To Me

Jason Pennycooke Bobby Memphis the Musical Shaftesbury Theatre West End 2014 15 c Johan Persson 398Jason Pennycooke as Bobby Dupree in Memphis The Musical (2014) - Photographer: Johan Persso

Last year, Jason played Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls at The Phoenix Theatre, performing alongside Samantha Spiro & Richard Kind, later taken over by Rebel Wilson and Nigel Lindsay. Jason received fantastic reviews again.

“Olivier nominee Gavin Spokes’ Nicely-Nicely Johnson is now joined by Jason Pennycooke’s dazzlingly elastic Benny Southstreet, making a comic and musical treat of the title song.”
The Stage

“Pennycooke is the brightest and most idiosyncratic Benny this production has seen, alternating between camp humour and furtive lewdness with calm and measured aplomb”
Live Theatre UK

Guys and Dolls Jason PennycookeJason Pennycooke as Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls at The Phoenix Theatre (2016)

Jason also has a great background in choreography and has worked on shows including I Was Looking At the Ceiling and Saw the Sky (Barbican/TTRSE 2010), Crazy For You (Sweden 2011), Five Guys Named Moe (Belfast 2010; Underbelly 2016), End of the Rainbow (Trafalgar Studios and Broadway 2011), Soul Sister (Hackney Empire and Savoy Theatre 2012), Shrek (Sweden 2013), and Into The Woods (Manchester Royal Exchange 2015) to name but a few.

Last July, London Studio Centre was proud to welcome Jason as the Guest of Honour for the 2017 Graduation Celebration at New Wimbledon Theatre. Jason presented all graduates with their certificates and awards and gave some great words of advice for those starting their new performing arts careers.

GraduationJason Pennycooke presenting the Espinosa Award to Rebecca Bennett at the Graduation Celebration at New Wimbledon Theatre (2017)

Last week (Wednesday 6th December), Jason took to the stage for the opening night of Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre, which opened its door for the first time after a year-long expansion and restoration. Jason plays two characters in the show. In Act One he plays Marquis de Lafayette, a close friend of Alexander Hamilton and a Revolutionary ally. In Act Two he plays the key role of Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton’s rival and future president of the United States. The role is incredibly important in the show and requires the ability to adapt and play two very different characters.

Victoria Palace TheatreHamilton at the newly refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre

Audiences have been waiting in anticipation as the first run of tickets which cover December 2017 – June 2018 sold out way back in September. But it seems the wait was worth it as audiences have been taking to social media to sing the show’s praises with #hamiltonldn trending on Twitter. Even the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (who also played the title role in the original Broadway cast) took to Twitter to say:

That. was. insane. Thank you.
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Whilst tickets are sold out, the show is now offering a daily £10 lottery which can be entered here.  

Liam Francis and Juan Gil star in spectacular Rambert triple-bill with ‘masterpiece’ choreography by INTOTO course-consultant Ben Duke

Under the artistic direction of Mark Baldwin (a current patron and governor of London Studio Centre), Rambert presents A Linha Curva, and other works, a triple-bill featuring London Studio Centre alumni Liam Francis (ex-INTOTO Dance) and Juan Gil (ex-Images Ballet Company), who both provide exceptional performances. The show features three unique and powerful pieces; the third of which, Goat, is choreographed by rising star Ben Duke who acts as course-consultant for the Contemporary Dance Professional Option and INTOTO Dance Company at London Studio Centre.

Juan Gil (far left) in SymbiosisJuan Gil (far left) in Symbiosis - Copyright Rambert Dance Company

Juan Gil trained at London Studio Centre with a full-scholarship and graduated in 2011. He was awarded the Bridget Espinosa Award for the most potential to succeed in Classical Ballet, having trained and toured with Images Ballet Company under the direction of Margaret Barbieri. He joined the Sarasota Ballet in Florida, under the direction of Iain Webb, and continued to work with Margaret Barbieri for five years, rising to the rank of Junior Principal. He has had featured roles in Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, A Wedding Bouquet, Façade, Enigma Variations and Illuminations; George Balanchine’s Apollo and The Four Temperaments; Christopher Bruce’s Sergeant Early’s Dream; Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’après-midi d’un Faune; and Christopher Wheeldon’s The American. Juan joined Rambert in 2016.

Liam Francis in rehearsals for GoatLiam Francis in rehearsals for Goat - Copyright Rambert Dance Company

Whilst studying at LSC, Liam Francis also regularly performed the hip-hop dance theatre group ZooNation. In 2013 he became Resident Director and one of the choreographers for ZooNation Youth Company’s show Groove On Down The Road at the Southbank. In his graduating year, Liam was a member LSC’s contemporary dance company INTOTO Dance and performed works by Ana Lujan Sanchez, Wayne Parsons and Dam Van Huynh for their 2014 tour. After gaining a first class honours in his degree and receiving the LSC award for most outstanding performance in INTOTO Dance, Liam joined Rambert as an apprentice dancer in 2014. Whilst at Rambert, Liam has performed in Didy Veldman’s 3 Dancers, Mark Baldwin's Dark Arteries, Alexander Whitley’s Frames, Patricia Okenwa's Hydrargyrum and Malgorzata Dzierzon’s Flight.

Liam and Juan are not the first LSC alumni to have joined Rambert: Clemmie Sveaas, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Rafael Bonachela have all performed with the company. Rafael even became an Associate Choreographer for Rambert until 2005, when he set up Bonachela Dance Company and later joined Sydney Dance Company as Artistic Director.

Liam Francis and Juan Gil with Daniel Davidson in Ghost DancesLiam Francis and Juan Gil with Daniel Davidson in Ghost Dances - Copyright Rambert Dance Company

Earlier this year, both Liam and Juan starred in Rambert’s critically acclaimed Ghost Dances, Christopher Bruce’s revival of his 1981 classic. They were both cast alongside Daniel Davidson as the iconic trio of “Ghost Dancers” and the show received much praise, with The Stage calling it “a triumphant return of a heritage work” and The Telegraph proclaiming the piece was “as powerful and as relevant as it ever was” and “magnificently performed”.

Liam and Juan both return to form in Rambert’s new show which features the following three pieces:

A Linha Curva: a Brazilian carnival-flavoured piece by Itzik Galili.

Symbiosis: a high velocity celebration of the Rambert dancers’ skills by acclaimed Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis.

Goat: a darkly funny and deeply moving Nina Simone-inspired piece by rising star and LSC course-consultant, Ben Duke.

Ben Duke in rehearsals, choreographing GoatBen Duke in rehearsals, choreographing Goat - Copyright Rambert Dance Company

Ben is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Lost Dog, a company that blends text, live music and movement to create dance works framed by stories and characters. Lost Dog’s work has toured nationally and internationally and was awarded first prize at the Burgos International Choreography competition, second prize at the prestigious Hanover choreography competition and The Place Prize for Dance for the duet, It Needs Horses. Ben also won the 2016 National Dance Award for Best Male Performer for his role in the production Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) and the work was nominated for a Total Theatre award and a Sky Arts South Bank Award. As well as his work for Lost Dog, Ben has directed and choreographed works for other companies including Barely Methodical Troupe (Kin), Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine) and Phoenix Dance Theatre (Pave up Paradise). Ben has also choreographed for INTOTO Dance three times. As a performer, Ben has worked with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, The Gate Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, Glyndebourne Opera and Punchdrunk.

Ben joined London Studio Centre as course-consultant in 2016 and provides a critical partnership with the Contemporary Dance Course Director and Artistic Director of INTOTO Dance, Sue Booker. Together they work to expand and nourish the creative knowledge and practice of LSC’s contemporary dance students.

Goat 6Liam Francis in Goat - Copyright Rambert Dance Company

Goat is Ben Duke's first commission for Rambert and features Liam Francis as a ‘scape-goat’ figure. The piece has already received much critical acclaim:

Goat is a goddamn masterpiece" – The Stage

“Ben Duke's dance to the death is a searingly emotional joyride” – The Guardian

“Goat is Rambert in bold future-forward mode” – The Herald Scotland

“Funny, moving and perplexing in equally glorious measure.” – The Scotsman

Liam and Juan are also receiving praise for their performances in the show’s other two pieces, A Linha Curva and Symbiosis:

“I have never seen A Linha Curva danced better” – The Stage

“Rambert’s dancers who’ve been performing the work since 2009 are exemplary in combining Latin-inflected sass with meticulous speed” – The Guardian

“The dancers brought a cool intelligence and driving dynamic to the shifting moods, isolations and interactions of Symbiosis … It’s clever, complex” – The Herald Scotland 

A Linha CurvaA Linha Curva- Copyright Rambert Dance Company

A Linha Curva, and other works is at Salder’s Wells until Saturday 25th November 2017.

The show will also visit the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham from Tuesday 27th February until Thursday 1st March 2018.

Liam Francis and London Studio Centre are also currently collaborating on a new show which will be brought to the Pentland Theatre, artsdepot on Saturday 13th January 2018. Liam Francis & Friends present I.D. will include two original pieces choreographed by Liam which will be performed by LSC alumni and dancers from Rambert. LSC alumni Ryan Ledger and Viv West will also be choreographing a piece each performed by current students. Tickets will soon be available on the artsdepot website and more information on the show will shortly be announced on our website.

Luke Evans stars in the film biopic of Wonder Woman creator, Professor Marston.

Since graduating from London Studio Centre in 2000, Luke Evans has had a hugely successful career.

Having specialised in musical theatre and touring with Seedtime whilst at London Studio Centre, it was natural that Luke went on to perform in a number of West End productions including Rent, Miss Saigon and Piaf.

However, Luke made his Hollywood breakthrough with the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans and soon appeared in various action and thriller films such as Immortals, The Raven and The Three Musketeers. From 2012 to 2014 Luke starred as the main antagonist in Fast & Furious 6, played Bard the Bowman in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and played the title role in Dracula Untold.

Luke Evans variousLuke Evans in his various film roles.
Top Left: Fast & Furious 6 © Universal Pictures, Top Right: The Hobbit © Warner Bros. Pictures,
Bottom Left: Dracula Untold © Universal Pictures, Bottom Right: High Rise © Studio Canal

He has also starred alongside Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons in High Rise, and Emily Blunt and Rebecca Furguson in The Girl on the Train.

Earlier this year, Luke impressed audiences and critics alike with his outstanding portrayal of the arrogant and self-loving Gaston in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast. The film was awarded the MTV Movie of the Year Award and Luke won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Villain and is expected to be nominated for many more in the upcoming awards season.

luke GastonLuke Evans as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast © Walt Disney Pictures

Luke’s new film Professor Marston and the Wonder Women opened in America earlier this month and will be premiering in the UK on 10th November. The film is a biographical drama about American psychologist William Moulton Marston, who created the Wonder Woman character in the 1940s. Luke stars as Professor Marston alongside Rebecca Hall who plays his wife Elizabeth and Bella Heathcote as Olive Byrne. The film explores Marston’s polyamorous relationship with the two women and how they both inspired him to create the character of Wonder Woman.

Luke Prof marstonLuke Evans, Rebecca Hall (L) and Bella Heathcote (R) in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women © Annapurna Pictures

In the last few weeks Luke has been on a number of American chat shows promoting the new film including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (see below), the Today Show and a hilarious and stunning ‘Sexiest Male Vocalist Riff-off’ with Usher and James Cordon on The Late Late Show.

Luke Evans on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Since it’s US release, the film has received very positive reviews with Wall Street Journal proclaiming that “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women stands head, shoulders, boots, tiara and lasso above many independent films of the moment” and the LA Times calling it “an engaging, accessible homage to three gifted minds”.

Make sure you book your tickets for when Professor Marston and the Wonder Women releases in the UK on 8th November. Watch the trailer below.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Trailer

In an interesting coincidence, earlier this year alumna and ex-Jazz Dance Company member Jazz Peters appeared in the smash-hit film of Wonder Woman as an Amazonian Warrior. She will return in the Justice League film later this month and Wonder Woman 2 which is due for release in 2019.

Jazz peters wonder womanJazz Peter on set for Wonder Woman © Warner Bros. Pictures

For more information on Luke Evans you can follow him on Twitter @TheRealLukevans
For more information on Jazz Peters you can follow her on Twitter @Jazzifzzle

Leanne Groutage: Face of MOVE IT 2018

Screen Shot 2017 10 09 at 12.56.02

Leanne Groutage graduated from London Studio Centre in 2013, having performed with the 3rd Year music theatre company, Seedtime. Since then she has gone on to perform in Starlight Express (Germany) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (UK Tour) and has just been announced as one of the faces of MOVE IT 2018!

Starlight Express 2016 Leanne Groutage BochumLeanne (second from left) as Joule in Starlight Express in Bochum, Germany.

Leanne seven bridesBottom: Leanne backstage at Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (UK Tour).

MOVE IT is the UK’s biggest annual dance event, celebrating all forms of dance and the performing arts and bringing together dance schools, dance enthusiasts, professionals and iconic performers from across the UK and around the world.

Earlier this year, MOVE IT invited dancers from different backgrounds, disciplines and styles to apply to be the faces of the event. They received hundreds of applications but finally whittled them down to a squad of six dancers with a variety of skills and talents.

DT6 7121 copyLeanne (far right) and the Face of MOVE IT squad on a secret rooftop location. 

Leanne and the other five squad members were invited to a two-day photoshoot in a secret location in London to work with choreographer Natalia Barua and dance photographer Drew Tommons of Virtuoso Imaging. As the Face of MOVE IT, Leanne and the squad will be across all the marketing material for MOVE IT 2018, with their faces, moves and name being shared across the dance world.

21199706 10207640109879721 1261816080520009831 oLeanne leaping at the Face of MOVE IT 2018 photoshoot.

Leanne isn't the first LSC alumni to be a Face of MOVE IT. Back in 2013, André Fabian Francis was still in his second year of study when he was selected to be in the MOVE IT Lineup (as it was known then). André graduated in 2014 after touring with Jazz Dance Company and is currently in the ensemble for The Lion King in Hamburg, Germany.

Andre Fabian Francis in The Lion KingAndré Fabian Francis in the programme for The Lion King in Hamburg, Germany

As always, London Studio Centre will be at MOVE IT 2018 which takes place from Friday 16th – Sunday 18th March 2018 at ExCeL, London. In previous years we wowed attendees with our double-decker London bus and gigantic screen showing videos of our students and alumni in action. But our newest stand is still a secret! You’ll just have to come visit us at MOVE IT 2018 to find out for yourself!

London Studio Centre at MOVE IT 2016

moveit2017 04London Studio Centre at MOVE IT 2017

★★★★★ reviews for Luke Bradshaw in 5 SOLDIERS at Edinburgh Fringe - now on tour again!

5 soldierslogoLuke Bradshaw has just finished a run of acclaimed performances in 5 SOLDIERS at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! Luke first joined the award-winning Rosie Kay Dance Company in to perform in the critically acclaimed contemporary dance piecefor its 2016/17 tour of Scotland and is now joining them for a new exciting tour, kicking off with a LIVE broadcast of the show this Friday evening!

Luke graduated from London Studio Centre in 2013 after touring with LSC’s contemporary dance company, INTOTO Dance. He went on to perform with The Burklyn Ballet Theatre and Kim Robards Dance Company in America before returning to London to work with James Wilton Dance and Jorge Crecis |SQx.  Soon after, he joined Citrus Arts, a contemporary circus and theatre company based in Wales where he beganhis training in Corde Lisse. He later toured in Terry Gilliam and English National Opera’s Benvenuto Cellini and worked with the Dam Van Huynh Dance Company before joining Rosie Kay.

5 SOLDIERS was first devised by Rosie Kay in 2010 after she spent time with the 4th Battalion The Rifles (4 RIFLES) and visited the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre for our Armed Forces to learn about the effects of conflict. The resulting piece is a moving, dramatic and unique exploration of how the human body remains essential to war,even in the 21st century.

Luke articleLuke (left) and the cast of 5 SOLDIERS

As well as the more typical theatres and arts centres, Luke and the company performed in various Scottish military venues including Glencorse Barracks in Penicuik, Gordon Barracks in Aberdeen and Fort George in Inverness. For 2017, Rosie Kay is taking it one step further with Luke and the company taking 5 SOLDIERS on a national tour of exclusively military venues including Yeomanry House Bloomsbury in London, Londesborough Street Barracks in Hull and Golden Hillock Road Army Reserve Centre in Birmingham. This unique tour, which is presented in association with The Army, is designed to “develop a relationship between the military bases and the local arts community”. As well as the main performances, the company will engage in two months of community outreach in each location leading to a weekend of events, community performances, outdoor performances and post show talks.

Luke article2Luke (middle) and the cast of 5 SOLDIERS (top) with two members of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SOTS DG) (bottom)

To prepare for this new tour, Luke and his four fellow cast members joined The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SOTS DG) on a 3-day combat exercise designed to prepare the soldiers for their deployment on a United Nation’s peacekeeping mission.

Rosie Kay explained, “It was hugely valuable for the cast to go on exercise with the Army so they can really understand the people, relationships and situations they portray on stage. The point of 5 SOLDIERS is to give an honest and compelling vision of what it is like for soldiers to go to war.”

During the exercise Luke and the cast discovered what it was like to be out on patrol in enemy territory, be part of an ambush, deal with a roadside bomb blast and undergo an artillery bombardment. They also witnessed a live fire exercise involving heavy machine guns and grenades.

Luke said, “5 SOLDIERS is all about what it’s like for people as they go through incredibly dangerous and stressful situations. What we’ve seen here is the human side of what it’s like to be a soldier and also how they work together like a well-oiled machine. What’s so valuable for us is to learn about the subtleties, the mannerisms and the way they really interact. Things like that add so much to your performance.”

Luke article3Luke joined the The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SOTS DG) on a 3-day combat exercise

Following a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the company kicked off their tour at Yeomanry House, Bloomsbury (presented by Sadler’s Wells) on Friday 8th September and celebrating with a special broadcast of the performance (commissioned by The Space) followed by a post-show talk. The performance and talk are now available to view on demand via their the 5 Soldiers website, their Facebook page, theirYouTube channel and on the BBC Arts website. This is a great opportunity to see the show that has been wowing critics!

SeeLuke Bradshaw performing in 5 SOLDIERS on these dates:

London
Yeomanry House, Bloomsbury – Presented by Sadler’s Wells – Thu 7th – Sat 9th Sep

Hull
Londesborough Street Barracks – Supported by Hull military Covenant Forum – Thu 14
th – Fri 15th Sep

Aldershot
Canada House Boxing Centre – Presented by The West End Centre – Fri 22
nd – Sat 23rd Sep

Swindon
Royal Wessex Yeomanry Army Reserve Centre – Presented by Swindon Dance – Fri 29
th – Sat 30th Sep

Colchester
Corporal Budd VC Gymnasium – Presented by Mercury Theatre – Fri 6
th – Sat 7th Oct

Birmingham
Golden Hillock Road Army Reserve Centre – Presented by Birmingham REP – Fri 13
th – Sat 14th Oct

For more details visit www.5soldiers.co.uk and www.rosiekay.co.uk

★★★★★ “War from a female perspective packs a punch…taut, visceral, compassionate” – The Observer
★★★★★ “Unstinting, visceral.” – The Scotsman
★★★★★ “in-depth background researches have grounded her moves and their delivery in the physicality, camaraderie and mental challenges of army life.” – The Herald
★★★★★ – Broadway Baby
★★★★★ – Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
★★★★★ – Edinburgh Guide
★★★★ "Lust, shock and awe… a disturbing, illuminating and necessary glimpse into a world we mostly prefer to ignore." – The Guardian