Hannah Goslin

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Review, German Cornejo’s Tango Fire, Peacock Theatre By Hannah Goslin

(3 / 5)

I always feel a sense of joy when I head to the Peacock Theatre; their programming is always fun and whimsical. This is exactly what I experienced again,  on my trip this time.

A beautiful part of this production, was the initial entrance into the foyer and by the bar. A collection of Spanish speaking patrons mingling and speaking this delicious language which really set the tone for the show itself. 

Whilst in Argentina myself, I took a tango class with a short show afterwards and found this beautiful, sexy and interesting language to Tango. It’s fierce, it’s unapologetic and it has a feat of awe. 

And this show definitely hit those checkboxes. The staging is simple, with our first half in the typical 1940’s-1950’s costume, lustrous summer scene with only a bench and lamppost. The dancers have a conversation with their movement and there’s humour and plenty of elements that we all recognise – the loved up couple, the unrequited lovers, the males vs females. We enjoy the movement between them, the conversation through dance and it over all is a joyous beginning to the show. 

Our second half is more hot and steamy. The women are wearing less, the interaction is raw and fierce and it’s hard to take your eyes off them. The feat to which the woman are lifted and thrown across the male dancer’s bodies and across the stage left a few with gasps and awes. Feet moving and legs kicking at extreme pace; it is hard to ignore such ability and grace.

While a lovely show, and picking on all the elements of Tango, I didn’t feel too awe-struck or inspired. It was lovely to watch and interesting to see the skill involved but it didn’t feel too original. It felt very quintessential. 

Over all German Cornejo’s Tango Fire is something to be enjoyed. If you are ready for a show with little to complain about and sit for a nice evening, it’s a safe bet to take. You won’t come away disappointed.  But do not expect to come out speechless. 

©Alastair Muir 31.01.17 Tango Fire 556

Hear Me Howl, Lydia Rynne, Vaults Festival by Hannah Goslin

(5 / 5)

You tell me that a piece involves a drum kit?

I’m bloomin’ well there!

Hear Me Howl is a extraordinary tale. We meet Jess in her late 20’s who after a brief fear that her latest smear test is going to be a positive, is instead told that she is pregnant. During her existential crisis and wonder at her life past, present and future, she decides after meeting an inspiring woman, to join a Punk Rock Band.

 
I realise the story itself may not be necessarily extraordinary in my brief attempt at a blurb, but let me tell you more. 

As a reviewer, I try to learn as little about a production as possible in advance to avoid any preconceived ideas or bias. So learning that this story was from the incredible imagination of Lydia Rhnne, and that the performer, Alice Pitt-Carter, was an actress who was cast for the role, I was in shock and disbelief that this wasn’t a true, one woman story.

Firstly – the writing is incredible. There are so many ‘I’m with you sister’, and (in the words of RuPaul’s Drag Race) ‘Yasss’ moments that felt so intimate, yet called out the truths of being a woman, with no qualms or fear. While the general narrative is entirely plausible, but just not a common one, we still see ourselves in the character of Jess; sitting in this tunnel, we think what we would do in such a situation. 

Pitt-Carter is the perfect candidate to evoke this role and to bring even more realism to it. She is truthful yet very funny; part of me wants to be her, part of me entirely affiliates with her. While the story isn’t entirely something I understand without the experience of it myself, there are moments of general womanhood and thoughts and feelings that I personally felt akin to. 

Hear Me Howl, is so far, the best thing I have seen in 2019. It is real, emotional, hilarious and (as a drummer myself) the ending of a awesome drum solo brings a sense of fun and awe. This production is one to watch and is nothing short of perfection. 

Of course i’m hot… i’m 50, yellow coat theatre company, vault festival, by Hannah goslin

(3 / 5)

When invited to a show called, Of Course I’m Hot… I’m 50, I admit part of me wondered if this was something I was geared for. Would I understand the topics, the references; was this for me? But age really is only a number. 

Of Course I’m Hot… I’m 50! tells the story of a women, her life up to the age of 50 and her struggle with menopause. We meet her family, her friends, her problems, her woes, and her happy moments and lust for life. 

There’s very much a Shirley Valentine feel about the performance – part of this may be down to the main performer’s accent but her address to the audience, her small gestures and facial expressions that are all too real but also at times, all too funny are very much like Pauline Collins in the outstanding role. We even hear the real truths and thoughts behind verbal actions – an ‘I love you’ had a different meaning to her, and we get the sense of settlement and a time that had more ease with saying yes than no. 

Other performers dip in and out as different characters, all changing their persona and address to her, but our eyes are transfixed on the main character. She’s our story.

The topic of menopause is something that begins and ends this piece. We hear more of information and facts, that even I didn’t know. And soon it’s an informative production as well as an interesting and fun one!

There is the right amount of comedy verses tragedy – audiences are cackling with laughter but also broken in tears, as reality of losing your mum and the passing of time becomes all too real for us. It really is an emotional rollercoaster – just what you want from a piece. 

Of Course I’m Hot… I’m 50 is a lovely, heartfelt play that despite my concerns, is in fact for women of any age, and I would say, an important play for all women to see.  I came away with new information as well as what felt was a new friend. 

WOMANS (LIKE ROMANS BUT WITH A ‘W’), SCRATCHWORKS THEATRE COMPANY, VAULT FESTIVAL, BY HANNAH GOSLIN

(4 / 5)

2019 has begun – and so have this year’s Vault Festival.

Recommended by a associate in the Welsh art scene, Scratchworks Theatre hail from my good ol’ (once) locale town of Exeter. How small the theatre world is!

Womans (like Romans but with a ‘W’) takes our original and taught understanding of Roman history, and brings us the extraordinary tale of the women behind this.

A story we’ve always been presented to from the powerful male perspective, as we become more intrigued and more inclusive, we keep finding these women who have been hidden for centuries.

Scratchworks bring us a very basic yet very effective performance. There’s not fancy trickery or sculpted props, but old fashioned devised theatre with every day items.

Roman soldiers are identified by red brushes held to their heads, mattress covers are used for not only clothing for character differentiating but carriages, backdrops, staircases and architecture.

The performers themselves are quick to improv over minor hiccups, never losing focus or the essence of their character; and for a small cast of 3, they cover a enormous host of characters, all with their own quirks and mannerisms.

And their physicality is one to be admired – they may not be leaping like a contemporary dancer or performing interpretive dance but their physical comedy and interaction is on point and side splitting.

Scratchworks are a wonderful company, with the right intention and have narrowed their key skills down to a key. Womans… was not only a joy to watch but makes you eager to be apart of.

Review Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Programme B, Peacock Theatre by Hannah Goslin

 

 

(4 / 5)

 

I got myself a taste of the Trocks last week, and I ached for more.

Probably not as much as they ache after performing 2 different shows over the course of 2 weeks.

You would think – doing comical ballet dressed as women would become old hat – but boy, are you wrong.

This time around, we had different ballets – from Les Syphides, Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux to Napoli Pas De Six, Raymonda’s Wedding and a revisit to The Dying Swan.

Each performance different to the last, there is no repeat of the routine – both comedy and dance and the stand out performers are not the same as last time, taking the lead with their characters and their foibles.

What can be congratulated by them as performers, is that no one is on stage and forgetting where they are. They are engaged, the are paying attention, and in their own subtle ways being involved and hilarious in their ‘hammed’ reactions as much as those we are ‘meant’ to be paying attention to.

Again, the ballet aspects are brilliant, perfection and stunning to watch. Their transformation and changes between the female and male characters invoke typical and traditional ballet. But they still have their own characters – the slightly dumb male lead, distracted by everything and anything in Les Syphides to the beautiful and slightly egotistical bride in Raymonda’s Wedding.

We have a repeat performance of the Dying Swan, but with a different dancer, they have taken their own take – the basic choreography is the same, but their character is different and so we are still easily engaged and laughing at different jokes.

Again, I really enjoyed Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and felt as if I was seeing an old friend, but with new and side splitting stories.

Hannah Goslin

 

 

Review Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Peacock Theatre by Hannah Goslin

 

(4 / 5)

 

What’s better than dance?

Dance and comedy.

While I enjoy a good ballet, Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, or ‘Trocks’ as they are affectionately known as, are a triumph.

Ballet is beautiful, but Ballet can be ever so serious.

The Trocks take snippets from real ballets, such as Swan Lake and Trovatiara and present them in a humorous way – playing off the fears of ballet dancers and the mistakes that could happen, and in put their own slapstick amongst truly beautiful dance and technicality.

The Trocks are all male, dressed, colloquially, in ‘drag’ but still play both male and female parts with absolute brilliance – switching from serious ballet to comedy, they are nothing but awe-inspiring and engrossing.

The set is like any ballet – the costumes as opulent as any ballet and their beauty is beyond words. You feel that it should be wrong to laugh, but they somehow mix it so well that you laugh but also really appreciate their talent, stamina and grace. And gosh, they know the right time to pause, the right faces to pull and how to work us audience members.

I would suggest if you are new to ballet, to first see the Trocks – they are a lovely introduction to dance where it does not feel too serious, you are left time to appreciate the quality of dance, but also to relax into a comical and fun evening.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is also visiting the Wales Millennium Centre at the beginning of October – Do. Not. Miss. Them!

Hannah Goslin

Review In The Woods, Royal Court by Hannah Goslin

 

(4 / 5)

 

What’s the worst thing that could happen on Press Night?

Except a huge accident that is.

A fire alarm.

Unfortunately our trip In The Woods became interrupted by an non-scheduled fire alarm followed by an evacuation. Although, the excitement of this did not deter us from the great performance.

In The Woods by Robert Alan Evans, is a production featuring little characters, but great impact all the same. An old woman in the woods rescues a boy, and we see her fight all her demons, her past and her future; a unusual and mysterious World where she is always haunted.

In The Woods is as abstract as it comes – The old woman, played by Lesley Sharp, known for a lot of British TV, Film and Theatre such as Doctor Who and The Full Monty to name but a few, creates this feeble and weak character, switching from deep southern to quintessentially British as she changes from her ‘played’ character, to her real character – which in itself is very clever and awe inspiring at her seamlessness . She creates a real epitome of showing mental health as she fights her demons, shown in the form of different, volatile characters, played by  Tom Mothersdale.

Mothersdale is comical but also extremely frightening but it can also be commended that he is able to change to a range of characters, maybe 5, only with the use of minimal prop and costume change. From his exit as one to his entrance as another, he defines his ‘new’ character in physicality, vocally and with the general atmosphere. I feel that he really did steal the show, while Sharp is also fantastic.

An interruption such as the fire evacuation shows the true talent of a performer – while they continued slightly, their pause during the announcement showed them to still be enveloped in the performance, almost ready to go again. Coming back, it was if no time had passed, as we still felt the uneasy chill and emotional turmoil in the air.

My only qualm with In The Woods was the break of scenes – I now feel like I see this a lot from the Royal Court – Black out followed by a drowning of soundscape. And while this is effective, I feel like now it is expected and a general ‘theme’ of productions at the RC.

Overall, In The Woods is well worth a watch, if not for the interesting writing but also for Sharp performing in person and the phenomenal performance by Mothersdale.

Hannah Goslin

 

 

Review Exit The King, National Theatre by Hannah Goslin

 

(5 / 5)

 

On the trans-formative stage that is the Olivier auditorium, something special is about to unfold.

Exit The King never really intrigued me before. But knowing such great actors such as Rhys Ifans (predominantly known for his starring role in Notting Hill and for our Welsh readers, Twin Town)  and Adrian Scarborough (Gavin and Stacey), along with such wonderful reviews, I was easily turned.

Unusually for the National, this play includes no interval – my favourite! There is nothing like immersing oneself into a production, and this one is definitely one that needs your full attention and no interruptions.

A play written by Eugène Lonesco, Exit The King is the story of a King who created everything in the World, but becoming greedy with this and the thought of living forever, is coming to the end of his life at 400 years old, and cannot give it up.

There is a clowning essence to the take of this piece – slapstick comedy is consistent and brings the right amount of laughter with it, gently provoked and visa versa by the writing, with its witty humour. As well as smudged clown make up, making this feel hyper-real.

But it is also dark, thought provoking an emotional. As Ifans character deteriorates, it’s all too realistic and while the humour continues, it’s hard to find him as a comical character when he becomes so vulnerable and worth pity.  And do not mistake this as criticism – this is exactly how this should be played and Ifans is nothing but a triumph! Even saying this about Ifans and his acting skills is almost too little a compliment – I’ve have always been a fan from his films but he brings out something else, something extraordinary on the stage. And with seats luckily as close as mine, being up close and personal as I honorably got to be, you can see how he envelopes the character into every essence of his being, physically, emotionally and deep into his soul.

Scarborough is as bafoon-ish and comical as you would suggest. A character as The Doctor was made for him – while in a way he is often typecast in these roles, he magically makes them all different, all new and this is of no exception. Complimenting the play and the writing, he has the ability to go from humorous to dark and cold and does this with ease and believe- ability.

Let’s not forget our leading ladies – both are so accomplished and different to one another. Indira Varma (Bride and Prejudice ) plays a quintessential posh Queen, with hilarity in her no-nonsense approach to Ifans, and ends with being the most poetic, heart felt and enticing monologue that is hard to look away from.

Amy Morgan, of Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama training, plays the over the top and hyper-real french, ‘true love’,  second Queen – pink, pretty, prissy and very french. She plays a great contrast to Varma’s character, very chalk and cheese and their duo makes a great battle of wit, beauty and intelligence.

Exit The King is nothing but outstanding. Going in without any expectations (as I like to with all productions)  I was suitably blown away by its perfection, its absurdity, its ability to pull on your emotions but also make you cackle out loud with laughter.

And coming away, I was more than starstruck by one of my heroes, Rhys Ifans.

 

Review Living with a Dark Lord, Mighty Pen Theatre, Drayton Arms Theatre by Hannah Goslin

 

(4 / 5)

Who thought that this play would be about Harry Potter?

Hands up!

Well … yes, I did. However, when I discovered it was not, I was not disappointed but in fact, probably enjoyed it A LOT more than I would a Harry Potter play (no, I haven’t seen The Cursed Child yet).

While lacking in Wizards and Dragons, Living with a Dark Lord is full of comedy, heartfelt essence and a true family connection.

The play sees the story of 3 sisters celebrating their brother’s birthday – Sean has autism, and this leads him to not enjoy birthday parties as the loud lights and noises unnerve him. But this loving family still celebrate without him because, that’s true family love.

The three sisters are… real sisters. Sean is a real person. This is a theatrical story of their lives. And it is truly engaging, hilarious and the actresses are fully talented – how come the O’Sullivan’s got all the genes in their family huh!

Retelling the stories of their brother is heartwarming, it is at times sad, at times difficult yet full of fondness, love and oodles of comedy. The 3 bounce off each other, which, as sisters, you would expect. And this makes for a fantastic performance from all – I doubt that three strangers or ones not blood related could ping such comedy from one another and manage to show the true, yet theatrical essence of not only their family, but of themselves as individuals.

They looked at home – the props and staging felt necessary and they maneuvered around with ease and naturally. It helped give us a insight into their communication, but relate to us in our own families and how we react to the homes we own.

If this wasn’t enough, at the end of their first night, when the curtain (metaphorically) comes down from their performance, the three are rightfully very emotional leaving the stage, and somehow, this tops this performance as we know how real and meaningful it is to all of them.

Living with a Dark Lord is full of real family, real life, real love, and real comedy.  If you aren’t into that then… well… you better get into it or you are missing out!

 

 

Review Carmen La Cubana, Sadlers Wells by Hannah Goslin

 

(4 / 5)

If you do not already know the story of Carmen, you will at least recognise the music.

Usually performed as an Opera, Carmen has been taken through lots of different twists and turns, in dance, in performance and the tale is retold in different places, in different ways. It is a versatile and, at times, relatable story.

For those who are unaware, Carmen tells the tale of the meeting of an elusive woman, and an (at the time) attached man. They fall in love but in the end, their love is too detrimental and Carmen grows bored, leaving Jose. With rage and jealousy, Jose returns, finding Carmen with another man and he decides that if he cannot have her, no one can.

The original Opera was set in Seville, Spain. This time around, at Sadler’s wells, we are transported to Cuba; rife with latin music, dance and attitude. It is fierce, sexy and full of drama and life – almost like a soap opera. We laugh, we cry, and we notice how ridiculous some of the dramatic storyline is.

Seeing Carmen at Sadler’s wells a few years ago, the premise was very different – set in a garage – a literal ‘Car-man’. It was full of dance, full of what we would expect from contemporary – showing all these fighting emotions through movement.

Whether I was assuming something similar, while set in a different part of the World, this time, Carmen La Cubana was in a way very traditional; there was plenty of singing, an almost Opera meets Musical theatre production with the same hammed up characters, fighting and ensemble dance.

While it was perfection in all emphasis of musical theatre, and could not be faulted in its execution, I think part of me wanted more dance – latin dance is so energetic and beautiful, it felt as if there was little room for this and it was just an after thought. When it did happen, it was beautiful and vibrant, it flowed well and left us in awe of their abilities, but there was a lot more emphasis on speech and the singing.

I did enjoy this, but maybe the fault is in me thinking more with a dance head, when attending a dance venue such as Sadler’s wells.

I was also undecided whether the narration should have had translation or not – on screens to the side and above, we had translation, which, with the speed of Spanish, was unable to keep up and I felt my eyes being drawn more to this than the stage. I felt perhaps if I did not have to read as well as watch, I would have been more invested in the on stage action. This is not to say it should be in English – far from it. While my Spanish ability has little to be admired, knowing the story, I would have liked the performance to tell me it; much like Carmen a few years ago, in only dance, did.

Overall, Carmen La Cubana is brilliant, beautiful and to all intent and purpose, perfection. But I felt a little disappointed with the lack of dance in the production, when Cuban dance is so energetic, beautiful and fantastic to watch.