Advert
Advert

Tag Archive | "Theatre"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Review: The Malcontent, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Posted on 17 April 2014 by Camilla Gurtler

The Malcontent

In September 2013 the Globe held auditions for their Globe Young Players, a new initiative aimed at giving new young talent a once in a lifetime opportunity to train with the theatre’s professionals, nurturing the next generation of actors in the UK and working towards a performance of early modern drama, in this case The Malcontent by John Marston.

Consisting of some of the finest young actors in the UK aged between 12 to 16-years-old, the Globe Young Players end the Globe’s first winter season in the newly constructed Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a beautiful new space only lit by candlelight, enchanting its audience with an authentic 15th century charm. Originally performed by a company of child actors, this performance will mark the first time The Malcontent is staged by young actors in the UK in 400 years since its premiere with the Children of the Chapel at Blackfriars Playhouse.

Altofronto, the rightful duke of Genoa, has been banished by his brother Pietro and is left in exile. Determined to win back his title he disguises himself as a ‘malcontent’, a sarcastic jester named Malevole. At court he learns that Mendoza, the power behind the throne, has committed adultery with Pietro’s wife and plots to dispose of the Duke and take the kingdom himself. Malevole, sent by Mendoza to kill Pietro, instead reveals the plot to the Duke and together they plan to take the power back from Mendoza and expose him and his crimes at a masque for everyone to see.

The Malcontent is a funny, epic masterpiece that suits the intimate Sam Wanamaker Playhouse perfectly, atmospherically half-lit, making it a space for intrigue, passion and play. The play suits the Globe’s programming beautifully and the Young Players take on the massive challenge with professionalism, sincerity and bravery. All the young actors are incredibly talented, skilled in verse and text as trained adults, and they take you back to a time where Jacobean plays were as relevant to children as adults and accessible to both. Joseph Marshall has charm, wit and an engaging stage presence as Malevole, Sam Hird is a comical natural as the snobbish, ageing Maquerelle, and Ben Lynn delightfully naïve as Duke Pietro. However it is Guy Amos’s venomous and scheming Mendoza that steals the show. His presence is impressively professional, he holds the audience in a firm but cunning grip and like a young Iago he controls and manipulates fellow actors as well as the audience. He is intriguing to watch and will no doubt go very far in this industry.

Angela Davies’s design is traditional, inventive and suits the space, and composer Olly Fox creates a score that both drives and supports the text and action. Director Caitlin McLeod has taken this very challenging idea of The Malcontent played by young actors and shaped it into something very grown-up, professional and exciting. However, that might be the play’s problem too – it’s very grown up, and funny as it is it does contain adultery and sexual puns en masse. Played by young adults – some 12 and looking even younger, it does jar a bit and it feels like the children on stage are trying to be too grown-up too soon and not celebrating what they do have – youth, innocence and energy that could have been explored even more in a play not about sex and politics.

That said they do live up to it as actors, and hats off to the Globe for doing such a great initiative fuelling the next generation of great actors in this country. Hopefully we’ll see more projects like this in the future. 

The Malcontent is playing at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe until 19 April. For more information and tickets, see the Globe Theatre website.

Camilla Gurtler

Camilla Gurtler

Camilla is currently training as a director on the Young Directors’ Programme with StoneCrabs Theatre Company. Camilla has worked as a director, actress and writer in Denmark and London, and loves Shakespeare, greek tragedies and children’s theatre. She’s obsessed with coffee, dislikes ranting on stage and hates the colour yellow. Especially mustard-yellow.

More Posts

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Review: Secret Cinema 21, Secret Location

Posted on 15 April 2014 by Amy Merrigan

Secret Cinema 21

Secret Cinema events are, as my friend commented “quite the strangest evening” you can imagine. This is the second Secret Cinema event I have been to, and I have to say they do kind of puzzle me. The whole thing, as you may guess,  is a great secret, so I don’t want to tell you too much, but let me set the scene. My friend and I arrived at an undisclosed location and were split up; I lucked out and was directed to a private underground jazz bar, while she was taken in for interrogation at the police headquarters.

At this point I began to rather worry that this might be the last I’d see of her all evening; in accordance with Secret Cinema’s policy we had handed over our phones on entry so I suddenly realised we had absolutely no way of reconvening. Hey, kind of like actually being in the 1920s! Crazy!

However, we found each other surprisingly quickly, which was a relief because I was envisioning an evening of searching around the many corridors of this American city council building, and there certainly was a lot of it to explore. Secret Cinema events are strange but they certainly do it properly. I find that with a great deal of immersive theatre I just want to curl into a ball and cringe, as it’s too easy to see the cracks: the actors falter, you’re clearly being spoon fed an experience, but Secret Cinema 21 is quite a cut above.

The building is unnervingly authentic  – the design team have clearly done a cracking job.  The actors (with the exception of one or two slightly dodgy accents) slipped into the night seamlessly. There were moments when I literally could not work out if some were actors or audience.

At the past Secret Cinema event I went to I felt that I got bored at the tail end,  but here more was going on. It felt like in every room you’re likely to run into some other unique experience – there was a greater performance element. At one point I felt like I was in an American law drama and at another my heart was in my mouth as someone got shot right next to me. Seriously. I got blood on my dress and that is certainly not something I’ve ever been able to say before.

It’s very strange to go to an event with no idea what to expect, what film you’re going to watch, what your evening is going to be like at all. It’s also exciting to get off the tube, notice the hordes of others dressed in 1920s attire and join the throng. I can’t tell you what the film of the night is, but it is certainly worth a watch. However, the attraction of the evening has to be everything that goes before it.

So, I think I’ve realised the point. Have you ever felt so entirely enthralled by a film that you just want to be inside its world? Well, that’s what Secret Cinema does. If you fancy time travelling, this is an evening for you.

Secret Cinema 21 is playing at an undisclosed location until 25 May For more information and tickets, see the Secret Cinema website. Photo by Hanson Leatherby.

Amy Merrigan

Amy Merrigan

Amy is a 17 year old Londoner who has just finished her A-levels. She is looking forward to a gap year of theatre trips, some teaching in Malawi and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.

More Posts

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Amy Merrigan

Oprheus

Have you ever seen a jazz clarinet playing Hades? Or a mincing French Hermes? No? Funnily enough, I thought not. To fill that almighty hole in your life, you should get along to the Battersea Arts Centre and see Orpheus. Staged in the art deco depth of this old town hall, Orpheus tells the story of this famous Greek myth re-imagined as a 1930s Parisian music hall.

Little Bulb Theatre’s  production is an all playing, all singing, all dancing, if slightly bizarre and chaotic, wonder. ‘Django Reinhardt’ (who, my programme tells me, is actually a jazz musician born in 1910, so not too sure what is going on there)  plays Orpheus,  the legendary poet and prophet who here is our guitar-wielding, moustached romantic hero. We are hosted for the evening by Yvette Pepin who switches seamlessly between an aged French songstress and the wood nymph Eurydice, wife of Orpheus.

You don’t realise quite how authentic the whole thing is until you get home and have a proper look at your programme. Reinhardt the character is playing Orpheus the role. Through layers of theatre we are transported first into this jazzy music hall underworld, then introduced further into the famous story of Eurydice’s death by snakebite and how Orpheus, armed only with his guitar, journeys into the underworld to save her.

I would not normally be so candid with the plot details here.  However, in this case do not fear spoilers because in true Greek epic style we are given the story outline in the first ten minutes of the show via the prologue. This story is all about the delivery and not the suspense, although this did not stop me being on tenterhooks when it came to crunch time.

The prologue, along with much more of the show, is sung by the genius trio of Claire Beresford, Miriam Gould and Shamira Turner. The leads of Orpheus are truly wonderful but I must admit it was the ensemble who made it for me. They (along with Tony Penn and Alexander Scott) are the band, the chorus and a plethora of gods, monsters and men. Memorably, they create the three-headed dog Cerberus and the most surprisingly moving performance of Persephone (trapped wife of Hades) you could imagine.

The whole thing is a masterclass in comic timing. As well as the cast, hats must go off to the crazy creativity of director, Alexander Scott as well as the whole design and lighting team. Charlie Penn is a delight on the piano and organ, and the music (thanks to musical director Dominic Conway) is a show in itself.

Developed over two years as part of Battersea Arts Centre’s Scratch events, Orpheus seems to have hit perfection. It caused me to snort with laughter, shift to the edge of my seat in suspense, broke my heart a little bit and even made me rather terrified of a puppet snake (yes, really). It is an utter, irreverent joy and should not be missed, even if only for the dancing pig, rabbit, donkey, birds and bear. They are hilarious.

Orpheus is playing at Battersea Arts Center until 17 May. For more information and tickets, see the Battersea Arts Centre website. Photo by John Hunter for Ruler.

Amy Merrigan

Amy Merrigan

Amy is a 17 year old Londoner who has just finished her A-levels. She is looking forward to a gap year of theatre trips, some teaching in Malawi and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.

More Posts

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Review: Minotaur, Polka Theatre

Posted on 13 April 2014 by Camilla Gurtler

Minotaur

All children want their parents to be there for them, to care for them and protect them. But when a parent is deployed and leaves for military service, the balance is disrupted and it’s hard to predict how a child will react in their parent’s absence. Some will cope by defending themselves, distancing themselves from the absent parent, believing themselves to be abandoned; some might create a defence mechanism by living in their own imagination.

Freddy’s dad is fighting a war far away, leaving Freddy and his mum to deal with his absence. One day Freddy receives a mysterious text from his dad who’s in trouble, and only his son can help. Freddy finds himself transported through time to the labyrinth of ancient Minos, on a quest to save the people from the terror of the Minotaur – half-man, half-bull – who is devouring the young boys sent to his labyrinth. With the help of Ariadne, a young girl who can see into the future, he must face the Minotaur and his fears in order to save his father in the mythical world as well as the real one.

Polka Theatre is famous for creating world-class children’s theatre, and they certainly don’t disappoint with Minotaur. It’s an action-packed, energised and beautifully designed production with a very talented cast, who understand the difficulty of connecting with a young audience and who carry a piece all the way through without losing any of the children in the auditorium. Ben Stott brings fantastic energy, youth and commitment to Freddy, who as the young Theseus of ancient Greece has to endure trials and quests in order to save his dad. Carla Langley is a sweet and feisty Ariadne, and the rest of the cast double impressively as characters from both worlds encountering Freddy/Theseus in the fight against the Minotaur and his longing for his dad.

Using puppetry, Tim Lutkin’s brilliant lighting design and Lily Arnold’s magical set and costumes, which fit the age group perfectly, director Michael Fentiman shows that he doesn’t just master complexity, but that his story-telling skills are clear and engaging with one of the hardest targets: children, who need clarity and stimulating visuals in order to not get bored. Kevin Dyer’s script is touching and exhilarating, and writing about children’s experiences of a parent going to war using ancient Greek myths is a genius combination that you would hope to see more of in the future.

Minotaur is a great show for children, but adults will find themselves just as entertained and moved by the story.

Minotaur is playing at the Polka Theatre until 24 May. For more information and tickets, see the Polka Theatre website.

Camilla Gurtler

Camilla Gurtler

Camilla is currently training as a director on the Young Directors’ Programme with StoneCrabs Theatre Company. Camilla has worked as a director, actress and writer in Denmark and London, and loves Shakespeare, greek tragedies and children’s theatre. She’s obsessed with coffee, dislikes ranting on stage and hates the colour yellow. Especially mustard-yellow.

More Posts

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

Join our E-Newsletter

---
Exclusive offers, opportunities and updates from AYT.

---


Supporting: