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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 The Emperor's New Clothes

📍 Canal Cafe Theatre, 13 Westerbourne Terrace Road, London, W2 6NG

🗓 Tuesday 22nd August 2023



Last night I was invited by Baby Lamb Productions to the Canal Cafe Theatre to watch their production of folklore favourite The Emperor's New Clothes which is playing as part of Camden Fringe.

This adaptation follows high-flying fashion designer The Emperor who, after a disappointing catwalk show, is looking for the next big thing in fashion. Enter the Parisian duo of Bree and Oche with a cutting-edge new fabric that may just hold the secret to securing The Emperor's future.

All of the characters are somewhat clichéd caricatures, but with the strength of the writing and acting on display here, this really doesn't matter!

The role of The Emperor was triumphantly portrayed by Jacob Baird. He was an extremely strong central character who was over the top and extremely egotistical. He is somewhat a loveable fool and Baird has the audience on side from the very beginning. There was an endearing moment where we saw behind the facade of The Emperor and the character spoke directly to the audience. The shift in tone and body language here was an unexpected sensation.

Kip O'Sullivan was great as the sexy and effortlessly cool Johan, who cares more about how he is perceived than anything else. A fabulously funny take on the self-centeredness of the modelling industry, O'Sullivan reminded me of the character Zoolander from the movie of the same name with his smoulder, pout and constant catwalk strut!

It's hard to choose but I think my favourite character was possibly Alexa. Played with sheer excellence by Hannah McLeod, who also served as director, it's clear that Alexa is so much more than just an internet robot! McLeod was also victorious as Bree, one half of the comedy con artist duo.

The other half was portrayed delightfully by Kiera Murray who gave a great performance as the loveably dumb Oche. She was also convincingly snobbish as Edna and Janik Rajapakse was believable and down to earth as Yanik, the character most rooted in the real world!

Nisha Emich gave a phenomenal performance throughout. The only person whose duo of characters were both part of The Emperor's team. I liked the joke about the fact that her two characters Maureen and Areola couldn't be in the same room! My favourite of her characters was Maureen, the voice of reason within the team who is barely listened to, let alone even noticed!

The story is a light-hearted look inside the world of fashion and doesn't take itself too seriously which leads to a riotous night of entertainment for the audience. I liked how the audience were involved in the production at certain points, with some spectators even taking part in the opening fashion show!

Does this play have a deep message? No! Does this play make you think about the world? No! What is does have is a lot of heart and some comedy genitalia! It's safe to say that I left the theatre with my funny bone suitably tickled ... and a craving for brioche!

This play has an extremely strong cast who all had a hand in the making of the play. Their passion for the piece shines through from start to finish as they deliver one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

The Emperor's New Clothes has just two performances left at the Canal Cafe Theatre. Availability is limited to rush to to book tickets before it's too late! I cannot recommend this show enough and I hope it has a future as I would love to revisit it.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence.

My ticket for this performance of The Emperor's New Clothes was gifted by Baby Lamb Productions who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the star rating given or the content of my review.


Jacob Baird as The Emperor; Janik Rajapakse as Yanik; Nisha Emich as Maureen / Areola; Kip O'Sullivan as Johan / Micky Michaels; Kiera Murray as Oche / Edna; Hannah McLeod as Bree / Alexa

RUNNING TIME (approx):

55 minutes, with no interval


Frequent bad language; Nudity; Flashing lights



Images: The Emperor and his team


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