Category Archives: Theatre

Our first London correspondent for Young Critics Wales!

Hannah YC London

The Big Move to London!

Finally, the 4 years of working hard and waiting for my dream to come true is suddenly over. Since I was young I have always wanted to live in London and work in the Theatre Industry. With a BA(Hons) in Performing Arts with modules in performance and arts marketing and events management from the University of Wales, Trinity St David, I created my own city wide business, worked in arts marketing and event management on many projects, worked with countless companies and performers on a personal, professional and educational levels and taken up many opportunities to not only work in box office, front of house and administration but also running the former two in sizable teams.

A little stint in writing reviews for the Theatre Royal in Plymouth added another string to my bow. When moving to Cardiff to complete a masters in Events Management (particular interest in cultural/theatre events), I aimed to continue my experience in Theatre with front of house work in a couple of venues, working in hospitality at the Wales Millennium Centre as well as devise and create my own work, still running my business from one city to another till finally handing over and leaving my company behind for bigger and better things. My determination lead me to pick up my interest in writing reviews and a little social media contact with Young Critics Wales lead me to becoming a young critic over the last 6 months, giving me many opportunities to see fantastic performances, be part of huge events and meet some incredible people. It also gave me the kick to start my own website and blog and delve into art journalism as a whole. A meeting with many in this industry opened my eyes to the reality of how art journalism is suffering in Wales and I then felt that my passion should be spoken about, and from my own words (something I continue to strive in).

With only a dissertation left, which I am basing on theatre events in London, I am moving to the big smoke in less than two weeks. While I’m there I’m hoping to work in the industry and soon work my way up, something I feel I have the determination and drive to do to build an even more fantastic career. In such a dynamic and diverse theatrical city, I hope to continue my work as a reviewer and art journalist as a correspondent for Young Critics Wales and with my own freelance work. The excitement and buzz that theatre gives me and the opportunity to write about it has and will be nothing but a joy to do!

What is only left to say is to thank Young Critics Wales and particularly Guy O’Donnell, the project coordinator, on the fantastic opportunities this scheme has offered me and hopefully will offer more in the future. It is a shame to miss out on great Welsh theatre in our fantastic venues but to see more theatre as a whole is an opportunity that is hard to miss!

If you are a London based venue or company please get in touch with Hannah at the contacts below.

Check Hannah Goslin out at the following websites :

http://gozzers.co.uk
http://gozzers.wordpress.com
http://hgozzers.wordpress.com
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/hannah-goslin/67/263/173
Twitter – hgoslin_2

Review Bianco No Fit State Circus

No Fit State Circus perform Bianco at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. ©Richard Davenport 13

 

Photograph credit R Davenport.

Bianco’, performed by ‘No Fit State Circus’ was the last show I went to see at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I left the circus tent shaking in awe. When a performance has given you a lump in your throat that makes it hard to even cheer or clap, you know they have done well. Every section beautifully designed that was enhanced by the power of the live band.

There were no individual stars but an ensemble of talented performers, each bringing their own expertise to the stage. Even though this was a stereotypical contemporary circus show, they brought so much emotion to the way they performed that it stood out from any other circus acts. The music and the lyrics especially helped create this emotion and made mini-narratives for each section. There were moments in this show where I felt I’d left reality behind and stepped into a dream. It was aesthetically pleasing in every sense that I couldn’t believe it was happening before me. I never wanted it end. What was more interesting is that I felt like I was part of the production myself. The constant change of positions to re-arrange the performance space made it become even more immersive. Sometimes it took away from the essence of fantasy, yet it was necessary.

It was evident that every aspect of the show was well thought out and infused with professionalism. Every person so physically fit it was inspiring to watch. Overall ‘No Fit State Circus’ is heightened with pure talent, innovative imagery and a set to be admired at. Step into this tent and leave reality behind.

Review ‘The Greatest Liar in all the World’, Familia De La Noche

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‘The Greatest Liar in all the World’ performed by the Carmarthenshire based company, Familia De La Noche, take the story of Pinocchio, after becoming a real boy. Conrad Sharp, playing the older Pinocchio looks back on his life with grievance. Throughout his life he’s told lies to get him out of trouble and now his last request is to tell the truth, the story of his past. This is a well thought out story that merges farcical tales with romance, truth with pain. They use a variety of different arts such as puppetry, physical theatre, clowning and live music. Each craft, perfect for the story line making their work unique and immersive.

This highly comedic play has touching moments that emphasise the pain of Pinocchio’s past and his search for the one he loves. These moments are so contrasting with the comedy before hand, that it moves the audience so much more. The skilful Dot Cotton whom dances with such elegance is entrancing to watch. She is accompanied by a simplistic but highly emotive piano melody performed by Max Runham, a wiz with all things musical. He knows exactly how to create the perfect tune to accompany with the action on stage. However, the highly emotive section would be Conrad Sharp’s monologue and the very end scene, the unexpected heart-wrenching twist. Truly outstanding to say the least. After being through a journey with them, learning about his true life, this thought-provoking twist was a beautiful end to a magnificent piece of theatre.

This story, perfect for all ages captures the beauty within many forms of acting. Their high level of talent and the imagery they are able to produce makes it spell binding performance. I’m excited to see what they produce next.

Review Last Christmas, Dirty Protest

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I never thought a one man story could grab me by the stomach and twist it and turn it as much as Matthew Bulgo’s ‘Last Christmas’ did. Performed by the hugely talented Sion Pritchard, both these men have achieved something many others would strive their whole life to achieve, an audience in complete awe. A script, carefully structured with such humanity that everyone could relate to, it had many moments of sheer comedic genius which resulted in hysterics of laughter.

Sion Pritchard’s characterisation’s shone as we travelled through a journey with him. His presence on stage captured the audience and the way he spoke made it unbelievable that this story wasn’t based on his own experiences. Sion had to rely on just his voice and actions to tell this story without the use of any props or scenery. Sion did this remarkably, not once did I lose interest, he had everyone of the edge of their seats throughout, engulfed in his demeanour and the strength of his voice. The performance space wasn’t the best for this work as you had to strain to see at times. However it was well worth a cricked neck to be able to capture every facial expression Sion delivered.

No wonder this show sold out on most nights, it was a wonderful experience and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Review Adrift, Infini productions by Kaitlin Wray

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Adrift

Infini productions.

Well what can I say about this show? The first free comedy show I saw and it was at a higher level than some of the shows that I’ve paid to see. Three guys, stranded on a raft at sea after failing a mutiny. How does their fate end? You’ll have to see! George Infini, writer and director of ‘Adrift’ knows just how to entertain people. The storyline, though simplistic was endless in comedy, from one-liners to the individual personalities of each character. The back stories were carefully constructed which complemented each other completely. Even though this is a tragicomedy, there were many warm moments where we saw a beautiful insight to the characters past and emotions. These moments really stood out for me as we got a feel for the situation they were in and couldn’t help but wish for a happy ending.

Paul Cammack, playing Mr. Henlow, was the obvious leader in this trio. His casual demeanour of their situation made it even more comedic. James Beaumont, playing the Welsh Doctor Mr. Roberts, was the most affected by their situation. His frustration and rage at the other characters provided realism to this piece. Sam Harding, playing the simpleton Mr. John showcased an impressive West Country accent which was kept throughout. Each actor impressed me fully with their ability to captivate an audience through words, mannerisms and even complete silence. Their standing ovation was greatly deserved as it was evident each one of them put their time and effort into this show.

Overall the guys from Infini Productions certainly should be proud of themselves as they excelled into creating and producing great work. We will certainly be seeing more from them in the future. As for me, I can not wait!

Review Llais/Voice, Cynyrchiadau Pluen / Flake Productions by Kaitlin Wray

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Llais/Voice

Cynyrchiadau Pluen / Flake Productions

Llais/Voice, A perfect example where music and performance complement each other completely. Elgan Rhys devised this piece based around Amanda Todd’s YouTube video, where she uses placards to tell her story of bullying and depression. Without the use of spoken word, Llais/Voice incorporates dance, multimedia and live music to express Elgan’s own past experiences. This performance was cleverly constructed and pulled on my heart strings. His passion captivated the audience and immersed us into how growing up is probably one of the hardest things to do.

As I’m a lover of live music in shows, Llais/Voice was a perfect show for me. Josh Bowles accompanied Elgan with music that made the performance all the more beautifully striking. His talent for composing and his high level of musical ability made this show elevate its professionalism.

The maturity and elegance Llais/Voice had makes it a wonder that they are just a young company. One thing I would have liked to see was the beginning to be just as insightful as the rest. It took time to get into the body of the work, yet it was well worth the wait. The progression kept going until I was spellbound. Llais/Voice is a must see if you want to see beauty from pain.

Review Last Chance Romance, Kitsch & Sync Collective by Kaitlin Wray

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This fun-filled 50’s themed extravaganza was just what I needed to top off my first night at the Edinburgh Festival.

Three stunning girls,  dressed up in typical 50’s clothes infused dancing with comedy, singing and love booths. The audience interaction, though highly entertaining I felt got a bit over the top at parts although it did leave most of the audience in stitches. The girls kept their charismatic roles throughout while being accompanied by carefully picked songs that went perfectly with the action on stage. One thing that would enhance this performance was a more in depth story line, a carefully structured plot that would capture the audience even more. However it was a lovely night of light hearted fun, an informal space where you could be as chilled as you want.

If you’re looking for love or just a bit of classic fun then this show is a must see.

Review ‘An Audience with Shurl’ Sue Bevan by Kaitlin Wray

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‘An Audience with Shurl’, the first ever show I went to see at the Edinburgh fringe festival. This performance hit me unexpectedly. The once bubbly energetic Sue Began, making us all crease with laughter changed so dramatically it felt like I stepped into a different performance. I realised the comedy we once originally saw, was really just a mask to her true self underneath that we were now invited to step into. Even though the topics raised wasn’t something I could feel empathetic towards, the way Susan spoke so passionately about her past, made my heart wrench out.

This one woman show, written and directed entirely by the wonderful Sue Bevan herself, had me on the edge of my seat throughout. She showed me a true insight to her life growing up. This bittersweet play was storytelling at it’s finest. Can’t wait to see more of Susan’s productions in the future.

Review Toast/Ken & Steve by Velvet Trumpet, Chapter Arts Centre by Kaitlin Wray

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After experiencing many different forms of comedy I have come to realise that this genre is completely broad. Comedy can derive from many forms, from sarcasm to stand up comedy. There’s black comedy to farcical comedy. One thing that’s evident is that even though most people love a good comedy they probably won’t enjoy every type. As I sat in the audience to a two part show put on at Chapter Theatre for this years Comedy Festival, I realised that I too have specific preferences on which comedy I enjoy.

As I entered into the theatre to a simplistic set with the instruments to make toast laid out on the table, I at once felt hungry. The memories I have of waking up to a piece of toast warmed me up inside. This notion is what carried the first act successfully as every person could relate in more than one way. This twenty minute skit’s premise was based on one guy who had a nasty break-up with his former-wife which escalated into having a love-affair with his toaster. It wasn’t until half way through the act that we came to find out that the toaster, ‘Tessa’ was his new girlfriend. Though absurd this may sound, the way it was performed was carefully timed to perfection. Every punch line was hit which left the audience in stitches. The actor, whose name wasn’t mentioned anywhere took the audience by storm. His story-telling was believable and the warmth he portrayed through his character gave us an insight to the barbarity of his love-affair. Even though this was a skit there were a few things that really made this piece stand out. Firstly was the smell of toast wafting through the air that made the audience long for it even more. The other was a particular line in the skit, “We objectify women all the time so why not go the whole hog and womanise objects.” This line hit me as women tend to objectified mainly in the media, making it feel like its acceptable for this to happen. This line brought a deeper meaning to the skit and left the audience questioning how we act.

The second act consisted of Velvet Trumpet’s Ken and Steve as they re-embark their journey from London to Swansea. Ken and Steve reminded me of yin and yang, both completely different in character but their chemistry worked well on stage. What started off as a multimedia performance changed to a presentation into something else entirely different. However the purpose behind this performance was never clear to me, were they trying to get us to raise more money for them? Was it to promote Ken’s new play? Was it just a stand up comedy sketch? Due to this I couldn’t get into this act. I felt the performance was hyperbolic and overly improvised. The reason could be the amount of audience interaction there was.During  one part an (un)lucky audience member got pulled up on stage and ended up taking his top off. This was to re-enact the picture presented of a semi-naked couple posing. Even though I didn’t enjoy it myself most of the audience were in stitches, it could have been my mood that day or the fact I just didn’t understand the concept of what was happening.

I can honestly say though as I sat in the audience everyone around me were fully enjoying the experience Velvet Trumpet Theatre company had to offer.

Review ‘Toast’ and ‘Ken and Steve’ – Velvet Trumpet by Hannah Goslin

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Cardiff Comedy festival has brought many opportunities for a belly laugh over the last few weeks. Being invited to watch comical plays by South London group, Velvet Trumpet was a great opportunity and just what I needed today.

Toast began with us looking at a simple dining room table with all the pieces to the puzzle for Toast eating. What made this short skit special was that the toaster was fully functioning, filling the room with the smell of warm bread and the steam against the simple whitewash lighting. We are introduced to Michael; the usual man, making his breakfast and getting ready for work. His love affair with toast is something that most can relate to. The gluten and wheat intolerant in me could even relate to the versatility and ease of toast eating in a previous time. However toast is only a metaphor for Michael’s failed marriage and his way of coping. Hilariously taken through his story, his take on his ex-wife and his life provided many opportunities for a laugh. Interaction with the audience, bringing one on stage also made us feel hilariously awkward, such as the story at that point in time tried to express and the uneasiness of this made the audience laugh continuously. The actor playing Michael managed comedy in an almost natural way in this story telling style, without trying to bring slapstick into the performance which could have been an easy way out; so when the story turns a strange journey, this provided more comical outlets for the absurdity.

 

A short ten minute break and the change from the original minimalist staging and props turned into an even more simple projection. This longer piece began with a short video of Ken and Steve and their travel of 200 miles from London to Swansea, all in the name of art. However, the support of the Welsh for these two Swansea Jack’s were severely lacking, and during their ‘presentation’ Ken’s anger comes alive. This, what seemed slightly unscripted, piece was a complete turn on the night so far. A simple piece focussing mainly on the telling of a story had turned into the back and forth relationship between Steve – an average and calm man and Ken – a melodrama-ed version of a proud Welshman. More audience interaction, multimedia usage and plenty of slapstick, it was hard to not laugh. Since the actor of Ken was played by the same man as Michael in Toast, himself as a performer was really interesting to watch to show his versatility as a performer; from a naturalist story-teller to a complete over exaggerated being. Ken and Steve picked up many part of Welsh comedy, looking at stereotypes of the Welsh and of particular places in both their telling of their journey, their quips and characters themselves. Combined with high energy movement at times and use of film, this simple but effective piece was a great ending to the night.

Velvet Trumpet had combined the two pieces well by beginning with something so calm and ending with something so solidly humorous – this company sure know how to get their audience and how to combine two different forms of comedy for a fantastic night.