Review, Not I and Scorch, Sherman Theatre by Lauren Ellis-Stretch

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

An audience constrained and submerged. Betty Jane Walsh graces a Beckett classic and leaves her audience weightless, like a punch bag.

Admittedly I will confess that until this evening I had never watched or ever read a Samuel Beckett play, so I don’t know if it’s normal to find one’s self in a state of fervent suffocation. Although written in 1972 the date is irrelevant Patricia Logue proves that Not I is timeless, unfortunately.

Walsh relentlessly grasps at a language of ferocity and intention transfixing an audience, enticed by her mouth, for the entire piece. In thirteen minutes we’ve lived a life, however messy and misunderstood – a hurricane of passion slammed into your chest. Not I pierces and cries of that lost, but leaves only an awe for the resilience of a woman.

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Scorch
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Scorch is electrifying. It alights, and it shocks and it launches you, and it takes no prisoners.

Kessy and Kez are two very different people. Self-confessing and selfless. Simple and complex. True and false. Female and Male. We’re all just chasing happiness. But, what happens when we play within the vortex of a technological stimulated world?

Emma Jordan stimulates a circle of trust and the truth. Congregated around a grey carpet on a black stool, infected by an optimism and energy, Amy McAllister consumed me, as well as entire audience. We smirked and laughed as we saw clarity within the murk of a societal taboo – ‘you’re nodding!’ McAllister rejoiced. Never have I wanted an actor to look me in the eyes more than Amy McAllister. She was fierce without anguish, and she was light without compromise. She is your friend.

Sharp, succinct and slashing in movement. Choreography by Nicola Curry frees and enthrals, but always beats with the raging undercurrent of sexual identity and gender fluidity confessed.

Stacey Gregg’s words run. They drive and they dig and they stick. In the fragmented speech of a teenage stirring, Kez is heard clearly, bound to his knowing of self – dialogue erupts and translates a tale of our generation. Gregg exposes a sheer insignificance of your life, yet grounds and cements you in your very being, all at the same time. If all writers were as generous as Gregg, and all writing was of such sincerity, and humanity, the world might become a better place.

This season at the Sherman has already proved to be epic – don’t miss any of it.

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