Tag Archives: frontpage

Review Tell Me Anything, On The Run, The Bike Shed Theatre by Hannah Goslin

Image result for on the run theatre tell me anything

 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

A simplistic staging – we are greeted with a blank space, the floor filled with cylindrical tubes and in the corner, a dolphin.

Immediately this is comical and  theme of comedy runs through this clever piece to counteract the raw topic. Tell Me Anything is the theatrical adaptation of David’s teenage years with his first love, who happens to have an eating disorder. This takes over their love and their relationship, as we see his side of the story. This is a new take on such a topic, seeing it through the eyes of a loved one, without the character whose disorder it is. David makes it very clear that his development of the piece isn’t without his former girlfriend, and now friend, Kate’s input and knowledge of the piece.

With mostly a true narrative, excerpts from his diary, emails and memories, it’s hard not to feel warmth in the piece and the love he had at the age of 15. Unfortunately the only thing with this is that is feels a little fairy tale; the ‘true love’ tales of conversations, feelings and interactions seem so blissful that at times it’s hard to really believe such things; the performance then feeling a little fantasy like – or maybe that is just the cynic in me talking?

David interacts with us constantly – his narration directed to us, involving us by asking us questions and also asking us to close our eyes and put ourselves in his shoes – this feels intimate and struck a chord with myself as being asked to envisage someone we love just as he describes his love for Kate, bringing up personal feelings of loss, love and all the in between.

The lovey dovey nature, soon takes comical turns when he creates satires through his energy and vocal inflections to show the silly nature of 15 year olds. And then it gets dark – his anger, his hopelessness and his pain shines through, even 14 years later it is evident on his face and in his performance. A theme throughout is that it isn’t about him, it’s about her, but this shows exactly how invested he is in his story to show both sides, without the other participant.

The lighting is simple, and it changes to flicker when anxiety and anger rises. The tubes are like a minefield, or like ‘treading on egg shells’ as he manoeuvres himself through them– the more the story deteriorates and their relationship does, the tubes and their movement by David as less controlled and begin to fall. An interesting representation of control and descent of happiness. And of course, the dolphin. The representation of being the dolphin who gently helps and nudges those in need, is brought in as support, strapped to David’s back, and later, is let out of air and crumbles as David does.

Tell Me Anything is full of theatrical symbolism, heartfelt emotion and a real life and raw story. A piece of theatre that resonates with anyone who has tried, hopelessly, to help someone they love.

https://www.bikeshedtheatre.co.uk/shows/tell-me-anything/

 

Review Give Me Your Love, Ridiculusmus, The Bikeshed Theatre by Hannah Goslin

Image result for ridiculusmus give me your love

 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

Back into the underground bunker of The Bikeshed Theatre, this week sees the company Ridiculusmus who have been bringing funny yet thought provoking theatre to venues such as Battersea Arts Centre, Soho Theatre, Barbican, National Theatre, Royal Court and The Arts House, Melbourne for around 20 years.

Artistic directors and performers of this piece Give Me Your Love, Jon Haynes and David Woods take a look at PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) within a former soldier of the most recent of wars in Iraq, basing this in West Wales. They take a humorous look at this condition but filling it with strong metaphors which in balance work well to really make us think about the disorder.

The majority of the 1 hour show is mostly purely a conversation between Zach who is in a cardboard box, for his own safety (or so he believes) and his friend, Ieuan, and occasionally his wife Karen. With all of these characters, we never see their faces. Karen is in a different room shouting through the wall; Ieuan Is trying to get into the room through the chained door, his only presence represented by his speech and his hands/arms peeking through and of course our main character, Zach, is always in the box. This interesting take on theatre is brilliant and simplistic. It takes a lot within creation, writing and the skills of the performers to be able to bring such comedy, the issues and pure emotion to an audience without much physicality or facial expressions.

The narration is great; it is as if the characters are having a simple chat, going back to the issue at hand but occasionally having a moment of off topic interaction. Somehow this makes the unordinary visuals seem very naturalistic – with Welsh accents as well, are perfect and I guess with the sing song nature of the Welsh accent, adds to the humour.

Taking my parents, we later discussed how clever and important this piece of theatre is, and whether the performers themselves were Welsh as they seemed to be on point with Welsh humour. I do wonder whether some humour was lost a little on the audience as it did touch upon things that we agreed may be more comical to the Welsh or those familiar with Welsh culture and humour. Despite this, there was plenty of comedy and strong emotional moments that visibly effected the audience in obvious ways.

Give Me Your Love is such an important production to see – Zach is seen to say that he has put himself in the box – and while this is represented physically, it also has huge representation to how we see PTSD ourselves. How society coaxes suffers into this one box and not taking in that each person is human and different. If you do not get a chance to see this production, so many emotions and thoughts will be starved of its theatrical influence.

http://www.ridiculusmus.com

 

Review Alien Covenant by Jonathan Evans

 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

Alien was always about the something in the dark that jumps out at you. But it masterfully crafted the art of anticipation and the jumping, as well as what it is that jumps out. Ridley Scott returned to his this world with Prometheus, which was more about the origins of us as a species rather than Alien itself. Now with this one it will definitely satisfy the people wanting the big bad creature back.

This has a lot more in-common with the other Alien movies, mostly because it’s definitely seeking to startle you in you seats. But it also comes with a few existential questions. So I guess this is a hybrid of what Scott created years ago and the questions that he wants to ask now.

The plot revolves around the spaceship Covenant, that is traveling through space to colonise another planet, a freak storm hits it and it takes a beating, the crew members wake-up but a few die. They then learn that there’s a planet nearby that could serve nicely as planet for them to settle down on. A search party lands and they find that there are things waiting for them when they arrive.

Katherine Waterson as Daniels

For the role of leading lady we have Katherine Waterson as Daniels. She does something a little different than other leading characters in an action horror. She fully displays her emotions, I don’t mean that there aren’t other examples of main characters in these types of movies having feelings, but they were more stern and gave hints of their vulnerabilities. Waterson is dealt disturbing information and one of the greatest terrors of the movies and it shows, you can see all the confusion and terror on her face but she also endures and deals with the situation knowing that she has a strong core to her. Not many people embrace so heavily showing their action stars in such a state, I applaud them for it and hope to see more.

Original Xenomorph design by H.R. Giger

The Xenomorph, based on the H. R. Giger illustrations, is one of the greatest creatures ever created. It’s shape and shiny black colour makes it instantly recognisable while having intricate details close-up that makes every inch of it fascinating to take in. Whether it’s melting into the darkness, camouflaged within machinery or fully lit it is terrifying because of it’s ferocious nature and in-human body. Unlike in Prometheus, there is no ambiguity, it’s here, we see it and the characters must deal with it. It seems like it’s one-hundred-percent computer generated this time but Scott and his effects team don’t go overboard with it. They still shoot it’s scenes like they would have back then, with build-up, followed but quick shots of a slash or a burst of blood. It’s able to move faster than anyone in the suit was and they utilise that so that the threat is in it’s deadliness.

There are some images within the movie that are inspiring and thought provoking. Others that are overblown and so far beyond practical that they’ll just drawn too much attention from what happening, others where it is gruesomely terrifying.

This is Ridley Scott returning to his roots. Alien, though as masterfully made as it was, was only Scott’s second movie, since then he has gotten a lot more experienced. This shows a man who’s has years to perfect his craft and think about the subject matter to deliver a very mixed bag but comes together as a strong whole.

Whoever said that what the human mind will think of will always be more scary. That person had never seen a Xenomorph in action.

An interview with artist Kyle Legall

The Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to chat to Kyle Legall. We discussed his career to date, theatre in Wales and his new production RATS (Rose Against the System) which plays at Wales Millennium Centre 02-03 June 2017.

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2017-2018/other/rats/?view=Standard

“Hi Kyle great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?”

Kyle Legall spray paints Planet Rock, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force. T-shirt, Higher Graphics.

“I believe you are currently preparing for a new production at The Wales Millennium Centre called RATS (Rose Against The System). I wonder if you can tell us more?”

Kyle was inaugural artist of the year with National Theatre Wales. This information below is taken from Klyle’s blog post on the development process of RATS which was posted on the NTW Community.

Kyle with a RATS cast member

“I will be presenting a glimpse of my Rats project; Rose Against The System. This is an animation I have been working on over the last year. The rats of Butetown have got wise and decide to fight back. I am planning on showing how far I have gotten by trying out a performing version for the first instalment to see if it could work as a theatre piece as well as an animation.”

“I have involved local musicians and spoken word talents such as Wibidy and Weller from Degaba. Music score by Dafydd Ieaun, from ‘Catatonia’ and ‘Super Furry Animals’ performing with his new band ‘The Earth’ introducing a new talent I discovered whilst in Edinburgh Fringe, Sam Porter. Guest Voice by Rhys Ifans.”

http://community.nationaltheatrewales.org/profiles/blogs/higher-graphics-exhibition-1?xg_source=activity

A live trailer for an earlier version of RATS (Contains strong language)
Voices by Rhys Ifans, Weller, Wibidy, Sciddy, Sam Porter. Music by Dafydd Ieaun from Super Furry Animals

“What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?”

“Many thanks for your time.”

Review The Importance of Being Earnest, Theatr Clwyd by Gareth Williams

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

There are certain smells that have the power to transport you to a certain place. Before the action had even started on the stage of the Anthony Hopkins theatre, I found myself standing in the middle of a bookshop, browsing the shelves and in my element. Clearly, the ingredients for the opening scene – consisting of an oak desk, antique tea trolley, red leather sofa and chipped wood wall panelling – had combined to create a most evocative scent. It was the perfect metaphor for my relationship with The Importance of Being Earnest. Suddenly, this play, which I had only previously encountered on paper, was coming to life right before my eyes, and in glorious detail too.

The costume department at Theatr Clwyd has once again excelled in creating the most exquisite outfits. The actors look positively fabulous, and the periodic detail is simply sublime. They capture the regal nature of the Victorian aristocracy perfectly: elegant, smart and, particularly in the case of Lady Bracknell, excessive. The Scenic Artists have clearly been inspired to compliment these gorgeous outfits with some spectacular scenery. In Act II especially, the Manor House garden is breathtaking. With huge green hedges and colourful flower beds, it is a wonder the stage is big enough to fit it all in. It is a real work of art, worthy of a horticultural (never mind theatrical) award.

Thankfully, this colourful production also contains some vibrant acting. It is not just the brilliance of Oscar Wilde’s script that is hugely affecting. The addition of physical expression means that the wit and wisdom contained within it are greatly enhanced. The humour is at times bitingly satirical, at times far more slapstick. Yet whether it is the mannerisms of Matt Jessup as John Worthing, the animated physicality of Nick Harris (Merriman), or the snobbish ignorance with which Hilary Maclean plays Lady Bracknell, this production certainly delivers on comedic value. It is infectiously enjoyable, in part from the fact that the entire cast seem to be taking such pleasure in performing Wilde’s work. They never seem to be overindulging in this opportunity though. They embody their characters brilliantly, and the strength of relationship between them is evident.

This seems a timeless play. One hundred years on, it still feels fresh. I still meet people today who care deeply about their public appearance, their social status and financial expression. It also feels like a timely political play too. One wonders, at least from media portrayals, whether today’s politicians aren’t the spitting image of Wilde’s characters. In both cases, director Richard Fitch has hit on something which makes this production enjoyably and humorously infectious. It is a beautiful production. A treat for the eyes, ears and (for me at least) the nose.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Review Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat by Jane Bissett

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a familiar story taken from the bible. It is the tale of a younger son, of a favoured wife, being elevated by his doting father and put above his eleven brothers. The brothers, already jealous of their younger brother finally are pushed to action and when their father Jacob gives Joseph the gift of a wonderful new coat and their outrage is complete. The brothers plot to kill Joseph and thus dispose of the problem. However, they fail to complete their plan as they cannot bring themselves to actually commit murder. The answer to this dilemma comes in the form of a travelling slave trader from Egypt and they decide to sell Joseph into slavery. On returning home the brothers tell their father, Jacob, that his beloved son has met with an accident and has been killed by a wild beast and they show him the bloody torn coat as evidence. Meanwhile Joseph has been sold into the household of an Egyptian noble where he works hard and becomes a trusted slave.

However, he catches the eye of the Noble’s wife and is soon accused of wrongdoing. His master has him thrown into prison from which there seems to be no escape. In prison Joseph becomes know for his gift of being able to know the meanings of dreams and this quickly comes to the notice of Pharaoh through his butler, a man who has first hand experience of Joseph’s ability. Joseph is summonsed to Pharaoh’s palace where he is given the task of explaining the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams. Clearly nervous, Joseph tells Pharaoh what his recurring dream means. Egypt will have seven years of bumper harvests followed by years of famine. When the dream comes to pass Pharaoh places his trust in Joseph and puts him in high office and he becomes a trusted Egyptian. During the famine the people are starving and Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to try to secure food for their family. The last person they expect to see is Joseph and at first they do not recognise him. Joseph doesn’t make the reunion easy but the family of brothers are eventually reconciled and reunited with Joseph’s parents, so there is a happy ending.

Joseph is a roller coaster ride for the theatre goer of any age. From the moment to curtain rises the production is a vibrant mix of colour and sound to stimulate the senses. From the pens of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Joseph is a triumph. They have successfully taken a biblical tale and transformed it into a secular story that bridges the gaps of time and its message has as much meaning now as it had when it was written. Its appeal spans the generations and this was evident by the diversity of the audience what ever their age, gender or religious belief.

Joe McEdderry, gave a convincing and captivating performance as Joseph, his energy on stage is infectious and his smile and demeanour grabs the audience from curtain up right to the last number when he and the cast received a richly deserved standing ovation.

Henry Metcalfe’s choreography was creative and inspiring with many unexpected twists in the tale and lead us to expect the unexpected on several occasions. The costume design was creative and complimented the performances of the actors against a backdrop of scenery which was uncomplicated and did not distract from the telling of the story which in parts had distinctly modern twists and turns and some unexpected characterisations.

The Narrator, Lucy Kay, linked the scenes and lead the viewer on an unforgettable journey of characters, places and far away lands. With the added voices of the children it is a magical experience in which the audience is absorbed into playing an active role and ends in a well deserved standing ovation.

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2017-2018/DonaldGordonTheatre/Joseph17/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review The North! The North! The Bike Shed Theatre by Hannah Goslin

Image result for the north! the north! bike shed

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

Entering into the underbelly of The Bike Shed Theatre, we are greeted by a solo man dancing vigorously to unidentifiable music. The North! The North! Sees the story of one man in a post-apocalyptic / alternative universe to our world as we know it. The story features a narrative that is wildly imaginative and creative, and extremely unusual. People have deformities, the world has had shortages and events during the 1970’s/1980’s that never happened in our world – essentially anything and everything is possible.

This one man show is full of energy, changes in characters which still always feel like that have a sense of the main character, adding to the strangeness of the story and is impressive with the detail from speech to action to stage and how It is all memorised.

Speaking of stage – while small, the stage is full of technological surprises. Projection is used heavily with a Mighty Boosh-esque cartoons to give place, to show props and add to the storyline. This involves being precise and well-rehearsed which he is. Each time, it brings a new joy and intrigue.

The performer himself is endearing and speaks to us like we understand this world – something so extraordinary, he does not dumb down his tale and we feel engaged and interested.

A strange but interesting production – my mother who attended said she felt as if she had ‘been involved in his own personal acid trip’ – which easily sums up this adventure.

https://www.bikeshedtheatre.co.uk/shows/the-north-the-north/

Review, Rob Auton The Sleep Show, Exeter Phoenix by Hannah Goslin

Related image

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Rob Auton’s The Sleep Show is like something I have never experienced before. This sounds negative but it is meant in every positive way.

The premise of the show is looking at sleep through comedy and spoken word. Beginning with a ‘support act’ which is Auton himself, we are eased into his unusual sense of humour and warmth as he engages with us personally. The support act is against the show’s title, but more giving us an introduction, a literal warm up to pumping music, and made us feel as if Auton was our friend, not just a performing stranger.

The Sleep Show itself was a roller coaster of emotions. Moments are of elation with comedy, ad libbing and times of going off topic. Auton is not afraid to come away from structure and script to find different paths, always returning back somehow but this shows skill and a comfortability in his performance style.

Other parts see a real deep and meaningful look into sleep, into the way we live, metaphorically and literally and brought new perspectives, poetic and theatrical approaches to the subject and was a beauty to listen to and watch how invested he is in his skill.

We found during the show the unfortunate events that come with such performances – hecklers. A woman who openly shunned the performance and Auton to his face, showed little respect and perhaps a naivety/lack of understanding of the performance type. Auton does well to change this into humour, taking my tweet to him earlier in the day and assigning the reviewer status to her. Without owning up, it was interesting to see how he used life events not only in my contact with him but in the relationship building with this woman and how he is able to think on his toes to come back in control.

Auton reminds me a lot of a mixture of James Acaster, The Mighty Boosh and Rick and Morty. A certain cup of tea, I really enjoyed the new and interesting approach he brought to the stage and encourage everyone to try him at least once.

http://www.robauton.co.uk/sleep-show

Review: The Request Show – The Cooperativa Maura Morales by Helen Joy

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Smart hand-drawn backdrop. Black and white lines of a kitchen-living-room. Strange distorted dystopian home of the bored and disaffected. With a loo off the side. A few spots of red from some flowers in a painted jar. She is black and white too.

This is a very odd start. A woman neatly dressed piddling noisily, then stroking her hair back from her head with her wetted hands. What a thing to remember so clearly. How shocking it is. How very very personal. And so it continues.

Intense, in your face, curiously flamboyant. Radio triggers a reminder of passions unspent. English at first. German later. This is an extraordinary physical breakdown of a woman tried by her own life, afraid of engaging with the outside world, trapped in her silence. It is her world and she seems ok with that.

Till she changes half way. When her hair comes down.

One very able dancer expresses the need for company and contact through a very emotional, tight series of movements which I long to become fluid and sloppy, warm from cold. Which they do, just for a short while, not long before the end, not long before she eats the red roses, dropping their bloody petals onto her green dress. Her mouth crammed with sadness, her tears quite real.

It seems completely inappropriate to applaud. Wrong. Hurtful.

The audience slopes out. A few check out the set, taking pictures, reverently whispering. Me too. I do not ask anyone what they think this time.

Helen Joy for Get the Chance, 3rd Act Critics.

 

The Request Show – Cooperativa Maura Morales

The Request Show (Cuba/Germany)
Performed by Maura Morales
Music composed by Michio Woirgardt

Seen: 6th May, 2017

 

Where: Dance House, Cardiff

 

For tour dates and more information:

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/what-s-on/calendar/spring-dancehouse-the-request-show-the-cooperativa-maura-morales/

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………

 

To support the National Dance Company Wales, please consider their new Lift Lifft scheme at http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/about/support-us/individual-giving/

 

 

Review tic toc, a sharing, Parama2 by Helen Joy

 

All photographs credit Kirsten McTernan

Review: Tic Toc, a sharing

An invited audience to consider, critique and approve a new play from the Parama2 team, staged during Age Cymru’s Gwanwyn Festival 2017.

Examining and delighting in the lives of female factory workers in Wales

As part of a series of creative activities working with factory workers and the likes of us, the public

This time last year, I was one of a small number of women lucky enough to play a part in the MakingIt! creative writing workshops. Loosely addressing the broader project researching the lives of women in Welsh factories, we wrote and acted in our resultant plays. It was fantastic! It opened my eyes to these remarkable women and to the impact their lives had on ours; and a glimpse into the world of writing, producing and acting.

Project Review, Making It! by Helen Joy

So, when I had an invitation to attend a sharing, a mid-way production of a play written and produced by the same team, I was delighted and very proud. It was joyous to meet my writing group again and we are very much looking forward to the next stage in our joint creative development, thanks to Parama2.

And as to the play itself. Well. What a thing.

 

Some things make you feel like you have seen them before. You haven’t. They just have something about them which you recognise, instinctively. They appeal on some very basic level. They are the stories you have heard all your life but never read.

This is how this play makes me feel. I know these women. They are the women I descend from. They would not know me at all. I would be English to them, posh, privileged; and they’d be right. I loved everyone of them. I wondered how my grandmother in the ribbon factory during the war would’ve fitted in.

 

Great characters all and very well played. Each one clearly defined early on, no messing. Nice clear scripting supported by simple direction and uncomplicated acting. Neat storytelling, relying on the punch of the words and their delivery. Everyone different and balancing against each other perfectly. Enough given away to know there is a bigger story or two out there in the wings but that we will have to wait to hear them. A precious ring and a grammar school kid for starters. Great stuff. Nothing spectacular, realistic and homely.

And funny. A terrific bombastic lead with a right few pals around her but no one hogs the show. This is partly because of the singing. We sing. We’re Welsh. We can’t help it, apparently. It turns a play into a musical and in those moments, we get the chance to breathe and to think and to piece it all together. The songs are clever, witty, sad and funny and really well sung. There are some really good voices on that stage and they add to the individuality of the women, they make them even more solid and agreeable.

And as a retired factory worker in the audience said,

‘We were on the bus and this woman wouldn’t stop singing – someone shut that woman up, they said. Shirley Bassey it was.

We all like a tune to take home.

We are shown a film too. A touching vignette of a tea dance in Porthcawl wrapped up with Tom Jones. And there they were, some of them, sitting just in front of me. Truly delightful and very much part of the story of the factory workers but I wasn’t sure how this fitted in with the play. Perhaps it was just a reminder of the continuing zest for life they had, in spite of or perhaps because of, the hard work and their fights for rights. And to remind us that they are not all dead, it is not that long ago. Keep up.

Discussion afterwards is relevant and interesting. It has the feel of an audience wanting to be heard, full of ideas and histories.

More men comment than women. Maybe they still just shout louder. Different people from different backgrounds suggest different angles – more facts, more slog, more reality. There is enough of all of these. These women found fun in what did, they were the trailblazers for our freedoms and quite frankly, we could learn a thing or two from them.

This play will help them teach us, if only we listen.

I loved it.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cofio-remember-tickets-33923529189?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=estw&utm-source=tw&utm-term=listing