THEATRE REVIEW: Scenes From The End, Tristan Bates Theatre

running until 10 December

Heloise Werner Scenes from the End

Jonathan Woolgar, previous winner of the BBC Young Composer’s competition back in 2010, has teamed up with soprano Heloïse Werner to present a reflection on endings and grief – from individual loss to the end of the universe. It’s an ambitious project and showcases Werner’s versatility and boldness, yet the show is too conceptual and undefined to provoke real emotion.

Werner’s voice is undeniably powerful, a rich soprano that reverberates around the small black box of the Tristan Bates and grabs our attention immediately. With an innovative use of percussion, she creates a varied solo soundscape. Her poise and almost confrontational, open stare are also arresting: she engages us at once and from the opening moments, I was intrigued about this solo performer. However, the content of the next 45 minutes soon left me adrift.Read More »

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THEATRE DIARY: December 2016

I can’t believe we’re there already, but Christmas is coming! Family shows and pantos are spreading Christmas cheer and sparkle (we hope) everywhere, but luckily there’s plenty of other theatre continuing throughout the month as well. Take a look at my theatre schedule for December:

Peter Pan, National Theatre (Fri 2nd)

nt-peter-pan

For the festival period, the National brings back the story of the boy who never grew up, after its sell-out run at Bristol Old Vic. I loved the imagination behind Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre, which made the same transfer, so I’m excited to see what she brings to J.M Barrie’s much-loved tale that promises “magic, mischief, music and make-believe”. It’s suitable for ages 7+, but I’m sure big kids will find much to enjoy too. Click here for more information.

Scenes From The End, Tristan Bates Theatre (Weds 7th)

Moving away from any twee Christmas theatre, soprano Heloïse Werner’s monologue uses a blend of vocal and performative arts to reflect on themes of death and grief. Yet there is also the promise of comedy added into the mix. It will be intriguing to see how Werner (along with composer Jonathan Woolgar and director Emily Burns) balances the different aspects of performance in this patchwork of stories from throughout history, all focused on ‘the end’. Click here for more information.Read More »

CAMDEN FRINGE REVIEW: The Real Girl, Tristan Bates Theatre

running until 20 August

The Real Girl - Camden FringeCherise Stefanie returns to the stage as The Curious Girl, The Sexy Girl, The Have-It-All Girl, The Lonely Girl and, eventually, The Real Girl. Her smorgasbond of trips down memory lane encompasses glitter, dance routines, nail-painting, break-ups and more in a reflection on what has made her the woman she is today.

On her opening night, Stefanie’s performance does come across as a little nervous; her patter with the audience is occasionally stilted and she seeks to explain away the few technical niggles or props errors that creep in, rather than continuing her flow. It would be wonderful to see her hone her stage presence a bit more, as all the ingredients are here for a successful show.Read More »

PREVIEW: Camden Fringe – Theatre

The Camden Fringe has been playing for a week with plenty of theatre, comedy and more popping up all over the borough. You can find out more about the festival here, and catch up on the comedy highlights here, but below is a run-down of some of the theatre programme continuing throughout August:

Sonder – The Cockpit | 6-8 August

This piece of physical theatre focuses on the concept of ‘sonder’ – the realisation that each stranger and passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Centrality theatre company are presenting the piece in conjunction with Birmingham charity St Basil’s to raise awareness of homelessness in Britain. Performers Grace Bussey and Rosanna Stanton told me “it’s about opening your mind to the people around you on the street. You can see the same people everyday and you never talk to them and don’t register what’s going on with them.” It’s a striking concept to bring to London, notoriously the city where no-one speaks to each other on the tube, and it will be interesting to see how the show link this idea with the aim raising awareness for the homeless.  The company is made up of recent graduates from the Birmingham School of Acting, and Sonder is their debut production. Catch them at The Cockpit tomorrow night for their final show. More information here.

Garden of Eden – Hen and Chickens | 8-9 August

Garden of Eden - Hen and ChickensThis contemporary adaptation of the Adam and Eve story is all centred on power struggles within a relationship and had a rehearsed reading at the Rag Factory a couple of years ago. Read More »

CAMDEN FRINGE REVIEW: Journeys, Tristan Bates Theatre

playing until Saturday 6 Aug, then at the Edinburgh Fringe (Gilded Balloon) 8-29 August

In their first outing at the Camden Fringe, Buckle Up Theatre’s latest physical comedy presents four characters on a mysterious journey as they move from being a group of strangers to a tight-knit unit. It’s fun and captivating, with a scattering of poignant moments that draw the show in another direction. The piece is at its most successful when there is no dialogue, and the cast are free to show their exuberant facial expressions and detailed physical movements.

Journeys - Buckle Up TheatreWe begin with a vibrant section of joyous physicality, as the cast of four shuffle and scuffle past each other in the guise of travellers caught in a crush, all to the backing of lively Spanish music. The colliding, ducking and pushing will be hilariously familiar to anyone who has to negotiate the London transport system on a daily basis. Read More »