Advert
Advert

Tag Archive | "Theatre"

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Shellshock, Waterloo East Theatre

Posted on 13 April 2014 by Ruby-isla Cera-Marle

Shellshock Waterloo East Theatre

The musical Shellshock opens with a talkative young girl called Emily (Ana Martin) fit to burst with excitement at the prospect of her father, a soldier, returning from the front-line in Dhofar, Oman. However, when her father Mark (Peter Willoughby) arrives home he is irritable, short-tempered and clearly traumatised by the brutalities of war that he has witnessed first-hand. The musical charts a family’s struggle to adjust to way that shell-shock can alter a person’s nature as they learn to acknowledge that the father and husband that they once knew has now been replaced by a shadow of his former self.

From the opening number the character of Emily is quickly defined as a chatterbox who enjoys singing, dancing and generally being the centre of her parents’ attention at all times. Emily’s general need to cause a racket clashes with her shell-shocked father’s constant request for quiet. Martin embodies Emily’s precocious nature well and sustains a high energy and extremely externalised performance throughout the piece. At only 14-years-old Martin is clearly a young talent with a strong singing voice, yet as her character lacked any real depth she was unfortunately limited by the material that Tim Thomas had created.

Mark, the other protagonist within the work, was also frustratingly one-dimensional and consequently difficult to connect with emotionally. As with any emotional state I had expected the portrayal of shell-shock to be multifaceted, but instead it was stripped back and Mark appeared to be in a perpetual state of rage throughout the performance. This lack of any character development or range was particularly apparent during his main song during which he simplistically described his emotional state as “too much makes me mad/too much makes me sad”. Considering that shell-shock was the show’s central theme I was disappointed that its depiction lacked any light and shade, and consequently I didn’t feel that deepened my understanding of said topic in any way.

Alongside the main storyline a subplot runs parallel wherein an elderly grandmother recounts her memories of the First World War to her grandson. She reveals the shocking secret that her husband, who suffered from undiagnosed shell-shock, was shot for being a deserter. Personally, I found this narrative thread and the grandmother Ada (who was played brilliantly by Maggie Robson), more intriguing than the main storyline and it was a shame that it was not explored further.

The score contained 14 original songs, of these Robson performed a memorable number entitled ‘I Fell for a Boy in the Band’. Musically the melody was reminiscent of the wartime era and this worked well, but I couldn’t help but feel if Thomas had stuck to this genre throughout the rest of songs would have sounded less like a homogenous mass.

In short Shellshock was a simplistic portrayal of the aftermath of war that left me feeling underwhelmed. Although the concept showed promise, I was left disappointed.

Shellshock is playing at Waterloo East Theatre until 19 April. For tickets and more information please visit the Waterloo East Theatre website.

Ruby-isla Cera-Marle

Ruby-isla Cera-Marle

Ruby isla Cera Marle recently graduated from Royal Holloway University of London where she studied Spanish and European Literature and Cultural Studies. Currently Ruby is working as Press and Marketing Assistant at Rambert Dance Company..

More Posts

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Hidden, Cockpit Theatre

Posted on 10 April 2014 by Lucy Bishop

Hidden is the story of six strangers, who are all hiding something. We follow them as their paths cross and we learn about their secret selves. Written and performed by Laura Lindsay and Peter Carruthers, who make up the theatre company Black Toffee, Hidden is the first theatre production by the company. It was a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 and is currently on a UK tour.

The performances of both Lindsay and Carruthers are outstanding. Lindsay’s comedy timing is excellent, particularly when playing Claire, a Scottish supermarket worker. Her one-liners about struggling to find a shag are the comedy highlight of a very funny production. Carruthers is a charming performer whom the audience instantly warm to, making his performance of Colin, a man trying to hide a dark side of himself, particularly heart-breaking. His portrayal of James, a London commuter, is a joy to watch and clearly strikes a chord with the London audience. The multi-roling is superb as the actors transform before our eyes, and you are never confused where you are or who you are with. Both performers sustain the energy throughout the 70-minute production, never dropping the ball and always keeping the audience on side.

The writing is brilliantly witty and the stories themselves weave together seamlessly; they give enough to make small rewarding connections but rarely give anything away. A lot of the text is directly addressed to the audience, sometimes creating a sense of observational comedy. It is also easy to find yourself empathising with the characters and involved in the problems they are trying to solve. The strong relationship this creates with the audience draws us in and makes the comedy even more hysterical. The set’s pop art style creates all the locations efficiently and its simplicity, together with that of the costume changes, creates new places and characters, highlighting the skill of the performers and never allowing the production to drag.

Some of the narratives are slightly clichéd, such as Nina, who faces the modern woman’s dilemma of work versus children before “its too late”. However they are acted sensitively and written with depth, so the initial cliché is easily overlooked.

Hidden takes character and situations to which everyone can, on some level, relate to and presents them in a charming, witty and all round enjoyable production. I would highly recommend this dark comedy and Black Toffee are definitely a company to keep an eye on.

Hidden is playing at the Cockpit until 12 April. For more information and tickets, see the Cockpit Theatre website.

Lucy Bishop

Lucy Bishop

Lucy is orginally from Bristol and is currently in her final year studying Physical Theatre at East 15. She is part of a comedy Music duo called "Silly People" and is a lover or scramble egg, Louis Theroux and puppets

More Posts

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Review: My First Ballet: Coppelia, Peacock Theatre

Posted on 10 April 2014 by Samuel Sims

Coppelia

Coppelia is a comic ballet first performed in Paris in 1870, enjoying great success until the run was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and siege of Paris, which ultimately led to the tragic death of the show’s star, 17-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi. Eventually though, it was to become a huge triumph and has since been performed all over the world.

The My First Ballet series, created by the English National Ballet and performed by its school for children, has already produced versions of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. These are two of the most popular stories ever told so how well does a lesser known tale about a mechanical doll and an eccentric toymaker fare?

A graduate of the ENB School himself, director and choreographer George Williamson has done a tremendous job at producing a child friendly version of Ronald Hynd’s original production. The dancers are almost as professional as if they were on the stage at the Royal Opera House or Coliseum – with a few mild but forgettable wobbles, and the interaction with the audience, which is arguably the most important factor here, is really great to see.

Michael Coleman’s Narrator and Dr Coppelius leads us through the story and ensures the audience (some of whom were very young) are constantly stimulated and aware of more than just the pretty dresses. The young principals glide beautifully across the stage but Swanilda goes above and beyond to create a fully well-rounded and impressive character.

Most wonderful is the set design by Louie Whitemore who has worked on numerous professional productions. The two set changes are perhaps not particularly effortless but what she has achieved in terms of grandeur and breathtaking beauty is very impressive. Coppelius’s toy room mixes gothic terror with other-world wonder without being too much for the kiddies.

There were some technical glitches that could have been easily avoided, but overall the concluding part to the My First Ballet series is a beautiful one. I’m much older than the target audience and yet I very much enjoyed and can appreciate that this would be great to watch for anyone seeing their first ballet.

My First Ballet: Coppelia is playing at the Peacock theatre until 19 April before touring the UK. For more information and tickets, see the Sadler’s Wells Theatre website.

Samuel Sims

Sam is Reviews Co-ordinator for A Younger Theatre as well as a freelance writer and editor who hails from Hull, though he has been in London for roughly 300 years. He enjoys multi-coloured socks, eating sausage rolls and seeing as much theatre as humanly possible.

More Posts

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Review: Lest We Forget, Barbican Centre

Posted on 08 April 2014 by Vikki Jane Vile

Les We Forget

There are few evenings of dance that leave me still unable to think of anything else the morning after, but now 12 hours since viewing Tamara Rojo’s most ambitious commission as artistic director to date,  I am still marvelling and processing the emotional impact Lest We Forget had on me.

This brave programme, which includes three new works from young choreographers Liam Scarlett, Russell Maliphant and world-famous contemporary choreographer Akram Khan, focuses on the gritty intensity of the Great War, with two of the works homing in on the role of women during this time.

Pleasingly, for a ballet purist who feels a lot more comfortable around tutus and tiaras, the evening opened with Scarlett’s No Man’s Land, a piece inspired by the separation endured between men and women and that has its roots firmly in the classical vocabulary. The piece begins with the women preparing for the departure of their loved ones. There is a powerful image of the women standing behind the men with their arms folded up in front of the men’s chests representing the straps of their backpacks as they prepare to trudge off to war. What follows is a series of visually beautiful pas de deux, climaxing in the moment where one of the women finds no-one returning for her and she shares one last duet with her partner. My first ever live viewing of lead principal Alina Cojocaru (on this occasion partnered by Zdenek Konvalina) was truly mesmeric with its acrobatic lifts and her fairy-like touch making for a heart-breakingly beautiful denouement.

Although widely criticised for its inclusion in the programme was George Williamson’s Firebird. I’d argue the piece provides some colourful light relief after being so emotionally spent during the last piece. It’s still a mythical treat for the eyes with its colourful costuming and the title role is played superbly by Ksenia Ovsyanick showcasing her athleticism and flexibility.

Russell Maliphant’s Second Breath left me a little cold; it is by far the most stark and simplistic of the pieces, set against a totally bare set. The piece doesn’t take any narrative shape and the subtleties were lost on me. It includes another pas de deux featuring Alina Cojocaru; however, nothing as powerful as that seen in No Man’s Land.

The evening concludes with impact in the much-anticipated new work from Akram Khan, Dust. It is another piece that focuses on the role of women, this time portraying them as a powerful workforce with repetitive pumping movements to the pulsating rhythm of the beat. The men leave them, clambering over into no man’s land to experience life in the trenches. The final duet features Rojo herself in another repetitive series of stomping movements that peters out into floating waltz steps as she is finally left twirling by herself, as if under a trance.

Lest We Forget is a highly original night in the English National Ballet’s history and might just be remembered as the time when this company, used to touring the classics such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, really re-invented itself.

Lest We Forget is playing at the Barbican Centre until 12 April. For more information and tickets, see the English National Ballet’s website. Photo by ASH.

Vikki Jane Vile

Vikki Jane Vile

Vikki Jane Vile is a theatre lover and freelance writer specialising in dance, regularly writing for Dance Today magazine and LondonDance.com. In 2010 she won Dancing Times Young Writer competition. Her career since has included work for London Children’s Ballet and South East Dance in administration and marketing capacities. Next year she is looking forward to attending the UK’s biggest dance event, Move It as an official blogger and reporter.

More Posts

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

Join our E-Newsletter

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

---


Supporting: