4 / 5
Set in a timeless existence, La Strada sees the story of a group of misfits, a young girl is sold to a Strongman performer and meets and develops friendships, experiences with and learns from.
The proscenium arch set is the usual theatrical setting, however the company set up a changeable area with the use of props and staging to give the impression of different places and different venues. This works well with the idea that the story is set anywhere, at any time, with the bohemian costumes and dirty travelling circus attire.
One thing that I am a huge fan of and which was implemented well in this production is all the performers being involved at all times. A strange and different group of people, whether a prop, part of the stage, a character or providing the music/soundscapes, they were always involved, drawing our attention to the main action. This shows a great interest and investment in the production and an energy that was constant.
Each character was haunting, had their own comedic moments, but added to the atmosphere of fear, of confusion and oddness that the main character of the little girl experiences. A naive girl, the performer did well to transform her simple, youth to someone more profound and strong by the end. Her physicality and facial expressions were simple but well completed for the character, and her ability to admit humour from the script with what seemed like complete ease made this bohemian alternative world seem realistic.
The performers all used their physicality to represent parts of the stage and the story – from the motorcycle the Strongman drives to the metaphorical waves representing the young girl’s emotions. Again, this was well invested in and made the production feel a little more out of the world and again, place able on any time line.
And finally, the use of live music, taking the performer’s skills an adding it to the production made this feel more cosy, as if we were joining in a small community and provided an unusual but catchy background.
La Strada is comical, haunting and just a little bit clever – well worth the watch!