Tag Archives: Kiera Sikora

Review Blackbird The Other Room by Kiera Sikora

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All photographic credits Kirsten McTernan

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Set in an office break room, as unclean as their past, ‘Blackbird’ begins with Ray (Christian Patterson) and Una (Sophie Melville) on opposite sides of the small and intricate room, both wanting to speak whilst both unsure of what to say or where they can look.

With a firstly faltering light and some seriously uncertain small talk, a head-to-head confrontation begins between the two. They tell us of their past, how Una and Ray shared an illicit relationship which began and ended when Una was 12, and Ray 40, and how they both ended up here in Ray’s new life’s occupancy, after Una saw a photograph of him in a magazine. She tracked him down. And the past in put in front of them, staring at them in the flesh.

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What’s both horrendous and horribly beautiful about this play is how David Harrower has us question who the hell the victim is here. You see, Ray is not a monster- at least there was no sign of one at The Other Room for me. But his actions are undoubtedly monstrous. To abuse, a word prized from his own mouth by Una, a 12-year-old which has harmed her both emotionally and physically is evil. And there are more than a million of different kinds of evil in this world but I saw not just one on that stage, I indefinitely saw a few more. You see it seems that it is the cruelty of feelings that conjured up these horrendous events and emotional sky scrapers. Ray tells us that it was his genuine, non-tactical and uncontrollable desire to speak to Una. That ‘speaking’ lead to what they ultimately became. He would purposely look for ways and reasons to talk to Una not because he thought profusely about what she looked like naked but because he was emotionally attracted to her understanding of human feelings. Ray is likeable. Disturbingly likeable. You may well sit in the audience and see how he could be a very nice man to have a very nice chat with. He believes that Una ‘understood love’.

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But, for Una, it is that understanding of human feelings that could’ve been one of the ways in which she felt that she could and did love Ray. And it could’ve also been the reason why she thought he loved her too. From the beginning of the play we see that she is a girl who feels things on a deep and sensual level. That quality in a person is usually something that when discovered by somebody else can be a quality that helps them thrive together. But we can see here how that quality is what made her bleed for Ray. Una is delicate, a shadow of her youth who, though beautiful, is internally beaten. Seeing her at 27 with her heart pouring out of her mouth allowed us to see her as a 12-year-old. And seeing both her Ray (now 55) in the same room meant that what was put in front of us was two people who share a time that was both forbidden, but almost admittedly for both exclusively sometimes savoured.

This play is in very many senses difficult, wonderfully so under the direction of Rupert Hands who’s delicate and detailed direction compliments the script and its disorientating duologue of wretched honesty. It’s bright, bold and dissimilar design by Ruth Hall, with lighting designed by Alia Stephen and sound designed by Sam Jones commend the intricate space at The Other Room.

Christian Patterson and Sophie Melville are a credit to Harrower’s words making you throw your moral compass in a ditch and leave you wondering to the bar with no way of seeing what’s right and what’s honest.

Blackbird runs at The Other Room at Porter’s until Friday November 4th.

Prepare to be left in a concrete conflict of emotions.

http://www.otherroomtheatre.com/en/whats-on/seasons/autumnwinter-at-the-other-room/blackbird/

 

 

Review Fear of Drowning Black Sheep Theatre by Kiera Sikora

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Black Sheep Theatre’s debut production ‘Fear of Drowning’ opened at Chapter this week and it is not what you expected. (Whatever that was.)

Elli’s the runaway bride, Tim’s her doting brother who’s most definitely a Hufflepuff and Steve’s Elli’s should-be husband. Sounds pretty straightforward really- but there’s also Deano. He’s not so straightforward. And it only takes one shark to scare the fish.

The play begins with a man’s cries and the sounds of him drowning, those two things being the physical metaphor of the ideas that this piece expresses and examines. In a basic, budget but brightly lit hotel we meet Elli (Sarah Jayne Hopkins) in a wedding dress and Tim (Keiron Self ) in a sharp suit, who at first we’re not quite sure of. But we soon find out that they’re siblings and after a little chat about a horrendously large bath, naughty lightbulbs, expensive alcohol and a Harry Potter reading being a deal winner we see that the hotel room they’re in is one they’ve fled to following Elli’s run from the altar.

Elli’s confused and hurt, leaving Steve at the altar is something she’s not sure if she’s regretting and so she leaves Tim to find her ex- just to be sure she loves Steve. And so Tim’s left to his own devices…

Until Steve (Michael Humphrey) turns up and questions Tim on Elli’s whereabouts, and with the help of Deano (Lee Mengo) he gets enough information to see him off for the night on his mission to win back his woman. Meanwhile Tim is held hostage by Deano, a ketamine fan with a quick wit, foul mouth and a sick sense of storytelling that victimises Tim even further by making him listen to his drug induced story of how he first saw Elli while aboard the Noah’s Ark Ship on a HMS mission. What’s also mentioned here a little bit about how cats are very laid-back about who sleeps with who in the cat community- Deano’s absurd and perfectly performed speech is not one you’d want to miss out on experiencing.

The play concludes with Steve returning to the hotel room and soon he and Deano are bullying a ketamine-spiked Tim into more torture. Soon after, Elli returns and is back in Steve’s arms before Tim can get to his feet. Which, becomes the reason he falls back down again. This last part of the play shows a strangely strained reconciliation between the characters.. They’ve all dived into a Wonderland of their own. And it is the Wonderland that Tim, Deano and a dream-like Young Elli enter at the end of the play that leaves us wondering what it is we’ve witnessed.

PWR Jenkin’s play is quite an experience, and a world of wonderfully absurd wit. I think its safe to say we can expect the unexpected from Black Sheep Theatre- this debut is definitely one that won’t be forgotten.

Review Scrambled Stories, UWTSD by Kiera Sikora

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Images  by Jennie Caldwell.

At the Halliwell Theatre in Carmarthen tonight I and many others were treated to some magically, musical, modernised, mashed up versions of our best loved fairy tales. Cleverly concocted by James Scannell and performed by BA3 Acting and Design & Production students from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen. The production had a very cheeky guilty pleasure playlist and some wonderful Welsh wit, the telling of many tales begins and we are immediately thrown into the magical world of make-believe.

We race through the rhymes, from Cinderella (Emma Davies) to Snow White (Suzy Hambrige), The Three Little Pigs to Goldilocks (Alex Delaney) and Jack and the Beanstalk to Little Red Riding Hood (Hannah Gray). With some hilarious narration from our constant comic, Jack, (Ryan Edmunds) who’s own story is told later too, and as well as being the Evil Queen’s (Rebecca Hazzleton) most hysterically blunt magic mirror, he also keeps us up to date with where we’re off to next in this scrambled world of magical mayhem.

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In Cinderella’s world we meet a very proper yet fairly pompous Prince Charming (Thomas Halkes) who is much more suited to Cinder’s ugly sisters, and so the lovable Buttons (Abbie Edwards) is finally given his perfect happy ending. From there we’re taken to Snow White’s world where the magic mirror gets a promotion and the huntsman becomes a hero, and in a bright flash we find ourselves the cosy home of The Three Little Bear’s. Here baby bear’s a Bieber fan and guilty Goldilocks gets taken to court, which is where we aptly learn the moral of the story. And of course, a fairy-tale farce is never complete without a little rendezvous into the woods! Here we find our favourite Grandma, (Jessica Kabesh) who’s got some dangerously good dance moves and an admirable love for Mars Bars. She’s waiting for her Little Red Riding Hood (Hannah Gray), who may well have just caught the last train back from Barry, to deliver her Grandma her favourite treats only to be met by the wicked wolf, who doesn’t stand a chance against Little Red and her Judo skills. But last but not least we are met with Jack, his ex-wrestler mother, his cow and his beanstalk. I’d say you know how the story goes but not this time, Jack’s mother tackles the giant (wonderfully voiced by none other than Dave Ainsworth) and all is well again in the world of scrambled stories. Oh and did I mention the Three Little Pigs are in this piece too? They forgot to get planning permission for their houses and so the vegetarian wolf (who, funnily enough, used to baby sit them) has had to pop over and remind them how important it is to ‘always ask first’.

This impressively energetic and wonderfully manic piece of magical comedy is a perfect treat to see for all ages. There’s rewritten pop songs, hysterical dance routines, a contagious energy from start to finish and a whole lot of laughter- a perfect pick-me-up performance and a wonderfully panto-esque affair! 

The tour ends in Laugharne on Friday 11th December after touring to Devon and in and around Wales.

https://www.facebook.com/events/911269012255796
Directed by James Scannell and produced by UWTSD School of Performing Arts.
Stage Manager: Lucie Mitchell
Sound and Lighting: Connor Manning