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Review ‘Real Human Being’ Taking Flight Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

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Forum Theatre techniques were used to educate the public.

Aimed to reinforce the knowledge of right and wrong; with a simple ’Stop’ ‘Rewind’ and ‘Go’.

Any one could participate or insinuate to play a specific role,

It took us further into a deeper dimension where we discussed ideas and social dynamical views,

A story about Prejudiced behaviour, insecurities and discrimination.

The actress with a significant role, imposed mental frustration, as we watched the victim in distress.

Hot seating, thought tracking was pursued, giving us all a wider concept, to analyse each actor internally undressed.

Psychologies lead to different people wanting to get involved. It was an interesting play, dominating problems in school.

This theatre piece was wonderfully devised, integration of those in the disabled community, wilfully were involved.

Based of real life issues, real-life experiences from pupils, was printed in to the script,

This made it twice as effective, especially with young pupils words incorporated

To ensure the script was deeply sincere and powerful words were resonated.

Energy from the actors, was so strong they made you feel how they felt,

The production ‘Real Human Being’ was generally a nail biting, eyes watering, uplifting play,

Especially when insecure, venerable Alice found a friend, who helped her mental state

I’ll happily fund, to have it run again to ensure, a certain aspect, effects someone, the same way.

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http://www.takingflighttheatre.co.uk

 

Review The Rocky Horror Show by Danielle O’Shea

 

 

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5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of an alien transvestite, the games he plays with his goody-two-shoes visitors and him creating his ideal man in a camp satirical comedy that will blow your mind.

The New Theatre with its old-fashioned charm makes for a marvellous venue that helps Luscombe’s interpretation of the hit musical shine even brighter. As usual, the fans form a community that seems just as much as part of the show as the characters, even having their own witty replies to lines in the show. Spicing up the script, the insertion of topical jokes gives the script, which most of the audience had sworn to memory, an unexpected twist.

Philip Franks, as the narrator, takes the audience on a thrilling ride adding his own twists and turns through banter with the audience and makes what seems like a small part, one of the most significant parts of the show. As well as this, Liam Tamne made the character of Frank-N-Furter come to life and lives up to and sometimes beyond those who’ve portrayed the character before them. Altogether, the cast are incredibly talented and their love for the show was as visible as that of the fans.

Rocky Horror is a cult classic that’s as fabulous as ever! If you need anything to secure your faith in musical theatre, then this is it. A magical show that can be enjoyed with so many people and brings the audience together in the most incredible way. Reserve your tickets now because they’ll be flying away fast and you need to see this.

 

Review Shirley Valentine, Light House Theatre Company by Danielle O’Shea

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3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell is the story of a middle-aged woman escaping the mundane cycle of her suburban life and finding out what it means to truly be alive.

Evan’s interpretation of Russell’s modern classic was charming in its simplicity. The one-woman show has its desired intimacy due to the short distance between audience and actress as well as there only being two settings. However, sometimes this simplicity turned to limitation where certain elements of the settings gave the suspended reality of the theatre a run for its money.

The majority of the audience had been drawn to the performance by the 1989 film however in the confines of the theatre some attempts at humour struck as outdated rather than nostalgic. As well as this, the charisma of Shirley Valentine was missing leading to a different view of the main character which came off more as pitiful than the relatable pop-culture symbol that many have grown to love.

It was a pleasant performance but due to theatrical limitations as well as the burden of being the sole cast member. Despite this Sonia Beck gave a good performance especially considering the pressure on her. But it seemed to fall short.

Shirley Valentine

Gwyn Hall, Neath

21st November 2016

Theatre Company: Lighthouse Theatre

Author: Willy Russell

Director: Dee Evans

Design: Anna Kelsey (Designer) Tony Davies (Sound Designer) Jonny Rees (Lighting Designer)

Stage management: Lisa Briddon (Company Stage Manager) Naomi Turner (Deputy Stage Manager)

Lead Technician: Andrew Merrell

Cast: Sonia Beck

Running Time: 2 hours

 

Review Choosers The Bread and Rose Theatre, Clapham Fringe, By Hannah Goslin

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2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

In the top of this theatre pub, the Clapham Fringe has been conjuring an array of performances. This day, I happened to be seeing the show ‘Choosers’.

Choosers sees the meeting and friendship between two homeless men. Spanning only a few months and based all around one park bench, these two unlikely kindred spirits meet, and we are introduced to their past present and future.

The set it simple – one bench, the younger homeless man with a suitcase of bits and pieces, the other with only what is on his body. There are leaves pinned to the staging and strewn across the rostra to give that ‘park feeling’.

Our younger performer is a university student who has run away from his course, his home and his responsibilities, feeling unloved and unseen in comparison to his marine brother. The older, full of secrets, some of which we never find out, has been homeless for 5 years out of choice.

Both with a different story to tell, yet both choosing this life, our views on the homeless are challenged, from not only why they have chosen to become homeless, but to the way they live – the older actor says that begging isn’t right and that it should not be done. He makes friends to find food and we soon warm to him as he warms to the younger performer. The younger performer is annoyingly young – perhaps slightly stereotyped, he is bouncy and full of naivety. At times it’s hard to keep up with his fast paced approach to the character, and becomes a little exhausting with consistent pacing.

Overall Choosers is a lovely performance, full of friendship and warmth, contradicting the world views on the homeless. Well worth a watch if you are able to keep up with the speed of the university character.

 

Review NDCW Autumn Tour ‘Folk’ by Tanica Psalmist

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A surreal world, with fanatical weight

Performed eight, Eastern-European dancers, with different mental state’s

With significant traits, they all took us on a visual journey

Dancing their way through a contemporary, dynamical theory.

Whilst individually reaching their peak, through dancing only did they speak,

Expressions, Tones, intertwined mixed emotions frantically

Erupt, corrupt you saw poison in each character’s guts

Each motion, devastation, made you attentive to their synchronisation

Each subtle flow, every blow, every dramatic move, each hard gesture that looked smooth

One scene was a circular pattern with no gaps, just them walking in bare feet,

Tight, narrowed direction they walked, as the drumming tone hit home

Witnessing to all, who gathered interpretations of their own

Mine was the constant spinning of a world, that we live in

Formulating different connections and identities to who’ve we’ve grown in.

The elements of every dance move, physically so strong, gripping you at your feet as they exhilaratingly, followed along.

Enchanting your mind, through the multiple conventions,

The tree upside down, made you wither into your own imagination

Native tongue, of French descent, grasped a different interpretation.

Charismatic music echoed, as the dancers moved in utter fabrication.

Different themes of love, social dynamic’s was explored in a world of dark, comic indication.

Animated features, made you laugh, a penguin and its posture, of what the dancer conveyed it to be, was interestingly unique.

Another power scene, portraying to the viewers that your interpretations to what exists, in your head is how it ought to be.

Freedom to express, talk as you like, stand up, obnoxiously move in a crowd, being big, swaying loud, being persistent in what you do and speaking in your comfortable native tongue in a community, where no-one understands accept you, Is entirely down to you.

That was my connection with Folk, and the production design as well as the dancing crew, grew on me.

So fortunate to attend, and watching the dancers pull through till the end.

Folk to me is living in a surreal world that mentally, emotionally and physically, comes alive as a believable, existing world where you desire to survive and let your feelings stay alive.

Review The Sewing Group, The Royal Court by Hannah Goslin

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5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

After being away for a while, my Royal Court cravings were high, so to be back and excited to what I was about to see was a lovely feeling.

As always, the Royal Court produces performances that make me feel as if I am entering a new theatre. Their spaces are so transformative, even the proscenium arch. However, this time we were upstairs and this space continues to be new, disorientating me in a good way as I try to think back to previous productions and how it was styled. It’s like a completely new place.

The Sewing Group begins exactly as it sounds. We feel intrusive – the staging a simple wooden box with 2/3 women sat on stools sewing. Dressed in Amish style clothing, I begin to feel apprehensive – would this be a really intense piece? It did not seem at first as if this simple set up would be funny or surprising… boy was I wrong.

Directorially – this piece is brilliant and clever. Short scenes – and I mean short, perhaps only a few minutes are stylised with immediate black outs and tingy music. Each time it’s as if we see a snap shot, creating the element of passing time. The two women sat sewing at first, limited speaking or movement, remind me much of the beginnings of a horror film – quiet yet concentrated, not revealing much, the entry of a third woman, an outsider brings home this element as she reacts to their strange ways just as we do. The character’s quickly become more 3 dimensional – revealing more about themselves, their village and with the new arrival, some comedic moments come out.

Without any spoilers, these performers bring such interesting characters and elements to the piece, that you cannot fail be engaged. As the relationships and events progress, the scenes become more intense, more comedic, more emotional and to do this in short scenes is a triumph to the actor’s capabilities.

The Sewing Group is surprising and enjoyable. Something that begins with apprehension to its creativity and a feeling that it may not be liked, soon becomes fantastic, intelligent and makes you wonder why you ever doubted The Royal Court’s brilliance.

The Sewing Group

Nora, The Bread and Rose Theatre, Clapham Fringe by Hannah Goslin

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1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

Written and performed by Portuguese artists, Nora is a take on Ibsen’s classic ‘A Doll’s House’. Taking the female character, David Silva has created this piece, highlighting the past and present of the character and her question of who she is. We see Nora when with her husband and family to once she has left them to find herself. This abstract piece crosses the boundaries of both past and future and takes a look at the female’s identity.

This performance is basic with its design in staging, costumes and movement which at first is lovely and exciting. Both performers have studied physical theatre and there is an attempt to bring this into the piece. Heavy footed, the physicality does not seem well executed and at times seems as if it is thrown in to make this piece weird and wonderful when it doesn’t need to be. Trying to blur the lines, there is interaction between the two Nora’s but alleviating to no real event or conclusion.

Both of the performers are very different and perhaps with the time state that each are meant to be in [past and future] it is this way to show the difference between the progression of these characters. However, there needs to be some similarity to the characters and unfortunately there is not, making it feel as if we are just watching two unhinged characters wearing similar clothing – and that being the only similarity.

I really wanted to enjoy this piece – you can see what they are trying to do and where they are trying to go but unfortunately it does not hit the mark and you find yourself either waiting for some big change in the piece or for the production to end.

 

Review NDCW Autumn Tour ‘Folk’ by Helen Joy

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Profundis, They Seek to find the Happiness they Seem, Folk

Profundis

In whispered tones of reverence, I am told: it is, oooh, wonderful, you’re in for a treat…

A woman in purple stands hugging herself in dance. She is singular, beautiful.

The spot light shifts to a gloriously sexy scene, a woman in white revelling in her spot-lit body writhes on the stage. She is right in front of me, I can see into her eyes. I am mesmerised. Carted away by men in black, the performance erupts into a fantasy of colour, dance, commentary, music and comedy. It is at once surreal, curious and charming. Sinister. Younger audiences find this funnier; we are awkward, we laugh in the wrong places. The dancers say that they find their voices in dance not in language but have enjoyed this challenge, being free to be themselves, to speak, to interpret freely within the confines of the psalm. De Profundis.

It is the creation of genius. It has the feel of a masterpiece. It is an abstract painting come to life. It is Kandinsky dancing. Of all the images, I am left with the man in red knuckling his way across the floor, man as ape as movement to music. A treat, indeed.

The Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem

Dance partners in black and navy and they trip through the dark, faces lit like portraits looming out of Rembrandt. Oh, this is exquisite. They are so lovely to watch. Perfectly in unison, Fred and Ginger ducking and diving and dancing in front of us, I can feel the warm swoosh of air across my face as they sweep past.

To Richter, they fail, their sense of loss and confusion is complete.

Folk

Bosch. It is a Bosch in all its painted madness cavorting in front of us. It is a crazy world. It rises from the soil of Autumn leaves into this crepuscular land. It is a topsy turvy place, a slight inversion, sensitive to struggling personality, to groupings, pairings and isolation.

Something warm and heavy, muted and visceral, carefully cadaverous, so beautiful from a distance but gently sinister close up. It is a convoluting palette of earth. It is breathtaking.

To see these dancers up close and personal, the bandages on their toes, the straps around their knees, the sweat on their faces, each muscle flexing, is to see perfection. To hear their feet feel the ground, to see expression in every tiny movement, is to see beauty.

I want to pull this piece into the night air, I want to let them free to scatter real leaves, dancing under real trees.

I want to press Stop: I want to fix them like statues and examine every moment. I cannot watch it all and I have missed so much but oh, I have taken something magical, ethereal, wonderful away with me.

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en

Enjoyed:         14th November, 2016 at NDCW, Cardiff

Profundis

Choreography:             Roy Assaf

Music and Sound:       Uoon I, Alva Noto (Vrioon Electronic)
Enta Omri, Umm Kulthum (Original 1964 Live Recording)

Lighting Design:          Omer Sheizaf

Costume Design:          Angharad Matthews

Costume:                     Deryn Tudor

Angharad Griffiths

 

They Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem

Choreographer:        Lee Johnston

Music:                                    Max Richter

Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher

Costume:                   Zepur Agopyan

Dancers:                    Matteo Marfoglia, Elena Thomas

Folk

Choreographer:        Caroline Finn

Visual Artist:             Joe Fletcher

Music:                                    Assorted (see website below)

Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher

Costume:                   Gabriella Slade

Dancers:                    Josef Perou, Camille Giraudeau, Matteo Marfoglia, Mathieu Geffre, Angela Boix Duran, Elena Thomas, David Pallant, Josie Sinnadurai, Ed Myhill

 

 

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/what-s-on/autumn-tour-folk/

 

Review Lost Souls and Lunatics, The Bread and Rose Theatre, Clapham Fringe, By Hannah Goslin

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3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Back again to this wonderful spot. The Clapham Fringe, with all its’ wonders is something that should definitely be looked out for by all artists.

A one man show, we are introduced to an hour of semi-biographical account of the east end of London and the writer’s response to the Peshwar massacre, reminding the writer of children who are affected by World War 2 and other traumatic incidences. We visit some painful, some funny and some unusual events.

Reminiscent to me of east end/Londoner stereotypes such as Ronnie Barker’s character in the Tv sitcom Porridge, and infamous villains such as the Kray brothers (who are also mentioned as an memorable event), it is a wonder whether this period of time (50’s-70’s) stereotype of hard Londoners is true or a play upon what we already know. Either way, Billy Colvill does a wonderful job of portraying this lost soul – an east ender himself along with writer Johnnie Quarrell, I suppose we can assume that this is more biographical than theatrical.

Colvill’s stage presence is distinct – able to produce an hour long one man show is a feat in itself and is impressive to watch as the cogs in his brain moves from one story to the next. The writing at times goes back to previous stories or references and at times is a jumble to show his deteriorating brain. This confusion in itself is representative of the character and Colvill is fantastic enough a performer to execute this well and without stammer.

Lost souls and lunatics is funny, touching and an engaging piece of work. Without thinking, it is relatable to each person well worth a watch for Colvill’s abundant character.

http://www.breadandrosespub.com/theatre.html

Review Trolls by Jonathan Evans

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3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Trolls is like a sugar rush. Giving you loads of candy. There are so many colors, jokes and popular music but even though there are moments to enjoy you will realise that too much sweetness can make you sickly. No matter the intentions or effort.

In a far off land there is a kingdom where creatures called Bergens (that look a lot more like typical portrayals of Trolls), they are unhappy creatures by nature and can only experience happiness by eating Trolls (looking like their toy counterparts). One day they escape and are able to live in happiness and not fear being eaten.

Years later the Trolls have made their home deep in the forest and now enjoy singing and hug-time with Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick). They have a special ability to manipulate their hair as they wish and others have some other abilities that go by without explanation. However there is one Troll that doesn’t join in on the dancing and singing Branch (Justin Timberlake) who dedicates his life to preparing for the day the Bergens come after them. Which surprise surprise one day they do. So now Poppy and Branch must go on a quest to rescue their friends.

Poppy and Branch serve as a good duo. They are opposites that due to inconvenience have to work together. They have the same goal to work to but have different ideals and morals so they debate which leads to character dynamic.

Dreamworks, typically, is known to cater to the larger demographic, it takes on material that is popular in the public mind now and cast celebrities for their voice cast. This is the prime example of Dreamworks trying too hard to connect with the children and be popular. The premise itself is cute but they feel the need to add all these other pop-culture references and sayings for the children to connect to when what they really do is cheapen and distract.

This is one of the most colourful children’s movie, or maybe just any movie you will find. It really looks like a children’s toy-box come to life. With all the different shades of the rainbow moving on the screen. It’s like Cloud Cuckoo Land from The Lego Movie, but throughout the movie.

As a unique visual gag it gives Poppy the characteristic of doing scrap-booking which lends itself to visually engaging to audience with a mix-up of style. It serves to give the children something to connect with as well as serving as an excuse to have exposition with something interesting happening on-screen.

The soundtrack is composed of covers (mostly) they are the hit pop songs that everyone knows. But also some of them have rapping verses inserted within. They are just so clearly forced and in bad taste. Also there are a few times when a song plays and it doesn’t seem like its the right pick. Just a popular song that doesn’t work for the scene.

The movie is at its best when it is cynical and picking apart the cutesy things that the other Trolls hold so dear. Its a case of everything being too adorable that it becomes sickly so some bitterness is welcome.

Trolls will have the children happy, smiling and probably singing along to the music. A few adults may also smile or even get a chuckle out of the moments that make fun of the cutesier moments.