Review: Orlando, Pit – The Vaults, (Vaults Festival 2019)

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸

A charming and vivacious exegesis on love, identity, time and of course, Virginia Woolf.

Having surmised the entire plot of Virginia Woolf’s classic 1928 novel Orlando, published just a year shy of the Great Depression, Lucy Roslyn goes on to deliver a witty, if somewhat jumbled and misguided comparison of ‘her own’ circumstances to those of Orlando. She both imagines the character as if in front of her, suggesting what Orlando would say when experiencing the world today, whilst symbiotically taking on that role herself and acting as the character. We’re sure there is meant to be a clever commentary on the ideology behind characterisation and the adoption of different guises here, but unfortunately it gets lost as we scramble to try and understand the point to Roslyn’s nebulous conversationals. It’s kind of ironic that the piece starts with her asking when and how does a play start? and how do we define the beginning and the end? when it’s difficult to define her version of Orlando, was it simply an analytical delivery of the plot, mixed in with a modern comparison? Or was the offering deliberately vague as an overall commentary on identity and labels? It’s a long stretch, but as Roslyn navigates the changes in gender of the character and ‘her own’ choice to shy away from the label of bisexuality, we begin to understand the overarching theme of identity as a choice. Orlando could therefore have been presented as deliberately open to interpretation, open to be what you want it to be. As much as the novel promotes being seen for who you choose to be.

Despite this, Lucy Roslyn herself is a competent and exuberant performer and storyteller, commanding the space well whilst dynamically holding her audience’s attention, making it all the more frustrating that the work seems to have no solid through-line. Don’t get us wrong a through-line exists and there are interesting explications on the aforementioned thematics, whilst Roslyn fosters a genuine warmth on the subject of love and lost love. The piece just needs more focus and overall clarity. It does however craft a beautifully balanced love-letter to Woolf’s original novel, building on the motifs and symbols found within. Allowing for an acknowledgement of the novels relevancy even today, a stand against the ‘identitarian bullshit of 2019’.

Orlando plays until Sunday at Vaults Festival. Click here to book.

Written and performed by Lucy Roslyn
Directed by Josh Roche

Producer: Jessie Anand
Designer: Sophie Thomas
Lighting Designer: Peter Small
Sound Designer: Kieran Lucas

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Review: Drought, Pit – The Vaults, (Vaults Festival 2019)

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Hauntingly beautiful!

Theatre-maker Kate Radford is a true artist, visionary and storyteller. Navigating the ancient mythology surrounding Caenis, a woman known for her beauty, charm and knowledge, Radford veraciously explores what it is to be a women, through the lenses of both consent and expectation. Utilising this age old story of submission as a vehicle for her bright, bold and witty sound offs, noting of the tale’s consistent repetition and the fact it should be dutifully learned from. No doubt inspired by this erupting #MeToo era.

From the offset it is abundantly clear that Radford is an immensely talented spoken word writer and performer. Regaling her audience with an informative and well-crafted anarchistic dialogue, she speaks with masses of passion and conviction in metered prose, rightfully leaving her spectators in awe. Not only is her dialogue impeccable, she is also insanely musically gifted, turning her talents to song throughout and blending her chosen styles expertly. The spoken word, storytelling and musicianship mix with digital aspects to bring this retelling prominently into the modern age and pinpoint its utter relevancy. With this in mind Radford spiritedly utilises a looping system to craft vibrant soundscapes, layering variegated sounds and colourful harmonies, whilst projections of images and landscapes help further to locate Caenis’ story. Sound and visualisations thus engender a series of exciting ‘digital landscapes’, these digital vistas gently entwine and cohere to the explored thematics. Caenis’ narrative traversing both water and sand, ocean and desert, wet and dry, the drought and not, yes and no, a simple black and white explorative, yet raging discussion on consent. These elements all therefore surmise into an atmospherically powerful piece that promotes the generation of new narratives for women, an end to this ‘drought’ as it were.

The story does at points somewhat deviate from Caenis’, making it intermittently difficult to follow. However this is forgivable as the character’s experience can be seen as that of a universal female experience, the work promoting the need for a change away from this. The crafted soundscapes also tend to drown out Radford, though again, at points this is necessary to promote a sense of women being seen as ‘secondary’, not the heroes of their own story something simply to be had by men.

To conclude Kate Radford is hugely talented and Drought is an artistic delight, beautifully blending Ancient mythology with performance genres and digital elements aplenty. You can catch the show at Vault Festival until Sunday, click here to book.

 

Written and Performed by Kate Radford
Video composition and design by Kate Radford
Photography – Bryony Good
Associate Artist – Laurence Alliston-Greiner

Review: Club Mex, Hope Mill Theatre

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

As many of you avid theatre fans may know, hidden away in the Ancoats area of Manchester is a rustic-looking, musical theatre metropolis and imperatively successful fringe theatre venue, quaintly named Hope Mill Theatre. This warehouse space has been artfully renovated in order to facilitate the presentation of innovative new productions, whether these are intelligible, well-thought out revivals or brand-spanking new works. Aptly self tag-lined as a ‘factory of creativity’, Hope Mill has thus become a kind-of Mecca for outstanding British musicals outside of London, and Club Mex was no exception to this rule.

This sassy and scintillating, immersive night club experience took audiences on a wildly poptastic, Mexican party-holiday to Cancun. Think The Inbetweeners, (well a female version), mixed in with flavours of Love Island and Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents, all set to a hell-raising pop score reminiscent of many club classics. With spine tingling vocals and flashy choreography, this witty new production can only be commended for its display of talent and for the way it fully absorbed its spectatorship, enveloping them into the action and providing something truly explosive.

Club Mex, a girl-power, coming of age comedy sees Mel and her two best friends take to the dance floor, alongside the audience, on a hen-do they are certain to remember despite all of the booze, sex and hangovers. Wonderfully heart-warming and vivacious, it is an emotional rollercoaster filled to the brim with hysterical moments of clever comedy, impending tragedy and uplifting instances of euphoria. Amounting to a guilty pleasure-esque level of entertain-ability and inescapably relatable narrative, commendations must thus be given to writer Tamar Broadbent and composer John-Victor for their stellar work. Whilst Julie Atherton’s direction is infallible, breathing life into the piece and gifting it with the immersive nuances needed for the engendering of the club atmosphere. Whilst the versatility of the design, complete with a DJ booth, two long platformed stages leading to a hotel room, the space being decked out in neon strips of lighting and framed by projections aplenty, allowed for the creation of varying party locations, whilst specially adding to overall immersivity of the performance, (particularly the club-style lighting). Resulting in a magnificently atmospheric side to the work.

It is difficult to find anything to hate, the young cast were all faultless in performance, hitting each accent of the choreography, energetically bounding around the performance space and audience, whilst humorously delivering the barrage of witticisms embedded within the script. Most importantly each and every one of them showing off their vocal prowess through the punchy musical numbers written by John-Victor, all commanding the stage and as a result seeming eerily at ease when toying with their audience. Jade Johnson’s Mel is a joy, she is vocally stunning and endlessly powerful, whilst Alison Arnopp is equally as vigorous and strong. Alvaro Flores’ Antonio ultimately providing the cherry on top of the carefully constructed comedy drive.

To conclude this self aware piece isn’t mind-blowing, but it still absolutely shines as it knows it is there simply to provide a light-hearted, fun evening out peppered with TV-esque levels of comedy, and it does just that! Whilst of course boosting a wide array of talent and hit after hit in the song department. We hope this short run wasn’t the end for Club Mex and look forward to another visit to Hope Mill soon.

To find out what else is happening at the theatre click here.

 
Composer: John-Victor
Writer: Tamar Broadbent
Director: Julie Atherton
Choreographer: Genesis Lynea
Set & Costume Designer: Emma Bailey
Sound Designer: Max Hunter
Lighting Designer: Francis Clegg
Musical Director: Sarah Morrison
Casting by Pearson Casting.
Produced by Global Musicals, in a co-production with Aitch Productions.

Jade Johnson – MEL
Alison Arnopp – TIFF
Emma Louise Hoey – LOU
Alvaro Flores – ANTONIO
Jeremy Sartori – JOSH
Bradley Connor – GRAHAM
Jonathan Cordin – Ensemble
Jessica Shaw – Ensemble

Review: Inside Voices, Pit (The Vaults). Vaults Festival 2019

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸

Inside Voices is a challenging, enchanting and wonderfully uplifting piece presented by international and multicultural collective Lazy Native, who self proclaim to champion Southeast Asian work, something they wholeheartedly achieve by showcasing Nabilah Said’s provocative writing. Focussing on three variegated Muslim women Nisa, Fatima and Lily, Inside Voices sheds a light on the three’s different perspectives and shared experiences as women of their faith and culture. Situating the dialogue on a fantasy plain reached through slumber or a mind place, the writing conjures a vibrant world of impossible dreams in which Nisa, Fatima and Lily regularly meet to discuss the constraints they feel due to their gender and subservience, momentarily together they wish for something more, or simply different.

Staged in the round, this piece is incredibly immersive, the three actors consummately pro-teming as storytellers informing each other and their audience, in a personable manner, of outside expectations and of their struggles. Often shown by the three women chattering amongst themselves and speaking over each other, consolidating the audience into their gossiping collective. Allowing for the development of a balanced and witty ensemble driven delivery. With much of the conversing revolving around food, the smell of ‘Fatima’s cooking’ wafts throughout the playing space and engulfs the audience, representing her laborious completion of domestic obligations over the years, something later indicated by her weaving a garland of flowers. Another domestic act and symbol of marriage, but one that seems to reflect the way she feels about her existence, the picked flowers are strung onto a garland, their beauty momentary and doomed to wither and eventually die, much like her youth. The construction of this imagery, thus beautifully engendering an overall sense of the character’s regret and obligation.

Whilst Fatima seems to deplore her choices, the characterisation of Lily is intriguingly constructed as a free spirit, a contrasting counterpart. She is astonishingly unapologetic, piquant and ebullient. The rebel as it were, with her refusing to ‘play by society’s rules’. For instance, Nisa and Fatima discuss the importance of being good in the kitchen and looking nice in order to keep your man, whilst Lily pointedly remarks that though it is expected, nobody can be good at everything and how exhausting it is to try, questioning why things can’t be different. Leaving Nisa as the youthful, idealistic middle ground. She clutches the youth Fatima laments and is seemingly heading down the same path already married, whilst her utopian thoughts occasionally align with Lily’s. Said must thus be congratulated on creating such effervescent and driven characters, manifesting as both raw and risible. Whilst the delivery from Siti Zuraida, (Lily), Suhaili Safari, (Nisa) and Nur Khairiyah Ramli, (Fatima) is equally as strong and beguiling.

The overall drive of the commentary is importantly focussed on that of intersectionality, Islamophobia and the #MeToo movement. Though these thematics start out as little nuggets hidden within the piece, we are eventually force-fed a lot of the ideology, unfortunately not allowing the work to subtly speak for itself. That being said there are wonderful moments of sisterhood and solidarity, for example when Fatima rubs Nisa’s belly to help her digestion, demonstrating her seniority or, when the women take a moment to remember those who had fought for them, such as Joan of Ark and Malala Yousafzai. Similarly, there are fleeting and poignant mentions of domestic abuse, miscarriage and the wearing of the burka, an exegesis on identity, the female experience and freedom. Culminating in an interesting excursion, but one that perhaps doesn’t have quite the dramatic climax it deserves, instead it is an ethereal and haunting dialogue, all set on one level.

To conclude the witty and often sad conversing of the three women, does much to for the most part foster a clever and emotive dialogue on the world of women, particularly of Southeast Asian Muslim women. It is jovial, but overall dark and piercing.

 
Siti Zuraida – Lily
Suhaili Safari – Nisa
Nur Khairiyah Ramli – Fatima

Writer: Nabilah Said
Director: Zhui Ning Chang
Designer: Rana Fadavi
Lighting: Raycher Phua
Sound: Nicola Chang
Production: Deanna Dzulkifli for Lazy Native

Review: It is a truth, New Wimbledon Theatre, Studio

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸

The audience were transfixed as a women in a prom dress and slightly orange make-up dmonstrated the various flaws, struggles and fears of Austen’s female protagonists and explicated on how they are directly parallel to many of our own today, it’s seems times haven’t truly changed. A moment of unexpected genius. Let’s just say looks can be deceiving.

In a room full of chattery Jane Austen fans the buzz is certainly palpable. Jayde, (Jaleelah Galbraith), a loveable Bristolian, who likewise idolises Jane Austen, is as conversational as her crowd, commanding attention from the outset and jovially entertaining for the duration of her performance. In a stand-up comedy show like no other, Jayde is here to spiritedly help her audience navigate the expectations placed on modern women through an anecdotal lense and with a period twist. Think Bridget Jones, Colin Firth, the world of online dating, and much more, as Jayde hilariously justifies how Austen’s ideology is still relevant today, stating that feminists should look to Sense in Sensibility rather than Single Ladies for validation.

This quaint character piece is a wonderful evening out for Austen fans and feminists alike, providing a relevant and relatable commentary upon modern ‘courtship’, from its soaring highs to its tragic lows. Galbraith’s style of comedy is exquisite, she is both expressive and gregarious, though Jayde is a stereotypical character and comically so, she comes across incredibly real and raw, as she lays bare all of her heartbreaks, embarrassments and failures. Yet her comedy is wonderfully backed up by literary wit and factual knowledge. Additionally, Galbraith is an excellent storyteller, something required to keep up with her various and elaborated anecdotes, interwoven throughout her piece, with smatterings of improvisation and moments conversing with her audience, the performance doesn’t feel recited or pre-written, the mark of a truly talented comedian as she manages to stay on track despite minor deviations, all whilst maintaining her character’s familiarity and like-ability.

As aforementioned the piece is wonderfully entertaining and at points, laugh-out-loud funny, yet Galbraith could do with working on her pacing, she speeds though many of her stories as if not coming up for a breathe, (trying to cram her script into a single hour, perhaps?) And it thus, becomes difficult to keep up with her train of words, let alone train of thought. Furthermore the modern thematics such as Harry Potter and the implications of speed dating are sporadically chosen, feeding well into comparing and contrasting Jane Austen’s world to the world we live in today, yet they also appear to detract a little too much from Galbraith’s clever utilisation of Jane Austen, her circumstances and her words. These modern exertions do not need to be taken out entirely as they are necessary for relevancy and ground the piece, but instead toned down a touch in order to streamline effectively and give the literaric research a larger much presence.

Nevertheless, It is a truth is a clever and tangible piece, decompartmentalising the modern female experience.

Review: Dear Elizabeth, Gate Theatre

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

So unbelievably playful and strong!

Tamsin Greig and Angus Wright provided a memorable masterclass in storytelling, emoting and reactivity on January 24th 2019 at the Gate Theatre. An evening of pure electricity never to be repeated again. (Though it was recorded for archive purposes).

As two actors, (Greig and Wright), enter the long rectangular space at opposing ends surrounded by audience members on both sides, they address the room as friends and beam at each other knowingly, a twinkle in their eyes. Safe in the knowledge that they are in this together and though the evening ahead may be a bumpy ride, that mistakes are okay, they are human and that is the whole point of this experiment, to create and present something truly anthropoid, not perfect and neat but raw and ephemeral. Ultimately reflective of true life.

With that in mind, Dear Elizabeth is presented to its audience by two different actors each night and most intriguingly, in every performance these actors have no idea what is going to happen, they simply follow any written instructions and read the real letters of American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, letters that amounted to over 400 in number. Due to to the work’s very make-up, it would be easy for one to liken it to a script reading session that happens to be in front of an audience, two actors trying to stumble their way through the first read, but Dear Elizabeth is certainly not that. Sarah Ruhl has carefully curated the real words of Elizabeth and Robert, yet the designed presentation of them here is profoundly exciting and thrilling. The rehearsal room devisers and strong creative team’s work, leaves the groundwork for the actors to feel encouraged to read and enact the letters appropriately, following instructions and periodically receiving the text in a variegated manner, as well as various accompanying props, (or technical elements). These details being indicative of the letter’s content or the standing of the character at that time in their life. This dispersive and playful effect, makes for quite the opposite of strenuous readings of lengthy paragraphs of text with little stimulation coming from the delivery. Often the other actor is left looking amused at what they are faced with, or forced into something their instructions haven’t yet warned them about. An excellent nod to the unexpected nature of life and human relationships, whilst remaining hugely entertaining. As things get messy and props mount up, we are discernibly faced with the sporadic and convoluted nature of Robert and Elizabeth’s connection.

The vibrancy of the performance in these carnalised moments is thus matched by the utilisation of a joyous instrumental soundtrack and of strategic black outs or transposing  lighting states, the lighting and sound doing much to not only emote and accent the piece, but more importantly to convey this overall ‘playfulness’. The atmosphere here enacting much like the dance of flirting, another aspect of Elizabeth and Robert’s relationship, though it was platonic, their words indicate an underlying intensity, something deep, sensual and romantic. The aforementioned physicalisations of the letter’s content, thus paint wonderfully vibrant pictures of Elizabeth and Robert’s affection towards each other, as well as their cutting pain and suffering, or brisk euphoria. These are beautiful and fleeting glimpses into two lives, lived very much apart, yet connected by words. It is the apart nature of their lives which is prodigiously demonstrated though the design. The two character’s being given their own domains, writing desks at either end of the playing space. The middle ground being utilised to indicate real-life meetings or simply a particular closeness between them. Plastic sheeting, tinged with a turquoise blue sparkles along the floor, it represents the continents and therefore bodies of water that were often between Elizabeth and Robert, added to by the distance of the actors.

There is not much more to say about the work as it is something that you have to experience to truly understand. A tenderly crafted commentary upon genuine human connection, using two real individuals and their own words, brought to life in an incredibly human manner. The delivery is both exhilarating and palpable, you won’t ever see anything else like it. Let Dear Elizabeth take you through tender moments of compassion, quickly followed by witty instances of hilarity and delight, bookend by absolute heart-wrenching sorrow, the show runs until February 14th, click here to book.

 

Angela Clerkin – Performer
Helena Lymbery – Performer
Isabel Adomakoh Young – Performer
Leo Bill – Performer
Chris Thorpe – Performer
Lucy Ellinson – Performer
Sue MacLaine – Performer
Nadia Albina – Performer
Emma Frankland – Performer
Jo Clifford – Performer
Jo Horton – Performer
Emma Dennis Edwards – Performer
Seiriol Davies – Performer
Temi Wilkey – Performer
Amelia Stubberfield – Performer
Charlotte Josephine – Performer
Phoebe Fox – Performer
Caoilfhionn Dunne – Performer
Annabel Baldwin – Performer
Sarah Ruhl – Writer
Joseph Akubeze – Performer
Nigel Barrett – Developer & Deviser
Hannah Ringham – Performer/Developer & Deviser
Angus Wright – Performer
Kwame Owusu – Performer
Linda Broughton – Performer
Dickie Beau – Performer
Sule Rimi – Performer
Lucy Bairstow – Performer
Nina Harding – Stage Manager: Props
Jonjo O’Neill – Performer
Lucy McCormick – Performer
Jade Anouka – Performer
Nina Bowers – Performer / Developer & Deviser
Tamsin Greig – Performer
Travis Alabanza – Lodetti
Christopher Green – Performer
Christopher Brett Bailey – Performer
Lois Chimimba – Performer
Thalissa Teixeira – Performer
Tim Crouch – Performer
Kayla Meikle – Performer
Emun Elliott – Performer
Shalisha James Davis – Performer
Hattie Morahan – Performer
Ellen McDougall – Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive
Moi Tran – Designer
Sam Spruell – Performer
Jon Nicholls – Sound Designer
Elizabeth Chan – Performer
Ed Borgnis – Production Manager
Phil Massingham – Production Electrician
Jenny Skivens – Stage Manager: Book
Sally Hardcastle – Design Assistant
Yasmin Hafesji – Assistant Director
Lucy Morris – Stage Manager: Props
Frankie Henry – Performer
Jessica Hung Han Yun – Lighting Designer

Review: Leave to Remain, Lyric Hammersmith

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(Photo: Johan Persson)

 

Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Described as a modern love story, Leave to Remain, blends vibrant compositions by Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, with a stylised poignant book by writer Matt Jones. It spiritedly navigates the complexities of modern relationships, mixed with toxic masculinity, multiculturalism, recreational drug use and penetrable city culture. A diverse story for our time and our city, wouldn’t you say?

The narrative tenderly follows young, gay couple Obi and Alex, who decide, after only a ten month relationship to get married. The immediacy, a result of Alex‘s visa coming to an abrupt end as he chooses to not move with his company to the Middle East and wishes to stay with Obi, decisively not returning to America either. Marriage to Obi, thus giving Alex his International Leave To Remain, ultimately providing the work with it’s namesake, whilst broaching the difficulty of relationships that span cultures and continents. A worthwhile commentary considering the cultural vibrancy of London, (the city setting of the work). However as the pair seek to form a union, it appears they don’t know much about each other’s past and must face their families together. It is here we learn of Obi’s strict Nigerian father who cast him out at 16, and witness a piercing exegesis on ingrained cultural defamation towards homosexuality and its psychological effect, particularly with Obi hiding this from Alex. As Obi laments his family missing out on all of the important moments in his life and tries to persuade them to attend, Alex’s family are seemingly more open, flying across the world to be there for the big day. Yet, even his family aren’t as united as they appear, and Alex’s past addictions and life attempts come to light. Making Leave to Remain a powerful portrait of the modern concept of self, consanguinity, the gay lifestyle and parental relationships. Think Kinky Boots’ Not My Father’s Son with a fresher, more indie vibe. (*Listen to Shame from the show).

It is interesting that a piece following the struggle of an ex-drug addict and his relapse in the face of mounting pressure (caused by an uncertain future), opened just as a study was released claiming that eels in the Thames were showing levels of hyperactivity due to large amounts of cocaine presenting itself in waste water. A reflection of the prevalent and very real recreational drug culture in London. Thus, it is worth mentioning that Leave to Remain’s commentary on avocational drug usage is mature and palpable, commendable as many attempts at such, glamourise or over exaggerate. We see Obi and friends trying to hide their use of cocaine from Alex before a party, this is the first act of true compassion we witness from Obi towards Alex, Obi attempting to protect him through concealment. What ensues is an extraordinarily slick and precise, stylised movement sequence, demonstrating the drug’s affect on Obi and friends as they enjoy a night out together. Yet, these movement sequences continue to come thick and fast throughout the piece. They are wonderfully unique and of possibly the best execution we have ever seen in terms of fluidity and power. But most importantly, they do much to tie the work together, linking back to drug use and indicating Alex’s prior substance abuse, demarking it as an important social concept, whilst also generally demonstrating the pain, anguish and euphoria of the protagonists as they navigate the possibility of a future together. These lucid sequences particularly thrive due to the strength of the ensemble who gel together flawlessly, aptly performing the complexities and accents.

The connectivity of these laxations thus conveying the fundamentals of the piece, particularly relationships and the delicate balance required in order to sustain them. Whether they are that of a parent-child/father-son dynamic or of marriage and sanctity. Therefore Leave to Remain provides an excellent exposé on propinquity, not only does it explore the possibility of a marriage between Obi and Alex alongside their dysfunctional relationships with their parents, it also highlights that even marriages that appear perfect aren’t always what they seem. This is where the work delicately fades in on and dissects Obi’s parents marriage, subtly showing his mother’s disagreement with his father’s religiously steered disapproval of his sexuality and the cutting of Obi out of their lives, we are directed towards the love she holds for her son combined with a fear to speak up in order to endure her marriage. Similarly the snide comments from Alex’s father in response to his mother’s excitement and expropriation, tenuously point towards martial problems with separation on the cards. The piece ultimately pointing out that marriage is a giving and taking, reciprocal agreement. It is a commitment to be the other person’s reason to stay. Much like Obi is Alex’s reason to stay in the UK emotionally, as well as literally, as the marriage effectively grants him International Leave To Remain. Therefore the choreography set to Okereke’s score, combines with Jones’ ingenious book eloquently, all vibrantly and sagaciously tackling the subject matter. An amicable venture that pays off, what is presented is gently balanced and sympathetic visual theatrical anarchism, that is not only truthful but affectionate and raw. The vibrancy of the compositions reflecting the millennial, indie, city-slicker/party lifestyle, despite bleak times and adversity, clearly the life-blood of Okereke himself. With the book also giving the character’s much needed dimension and wit.

Though, it is important to note that there is something strikingly undeveloped about the work, Jones’ book is incredibly intelligible, yet the piece seems somewhat predictable. Whilst Okereke’s score neglects a true stand out number, it plays like an indie-pop opera that continuously lands on the same level, not necessary utilising the talents of its performers. Nevertheless, as earlier mentioned the entire cast symbiotically work together incredibly well, whilst Tyrone Huntley, (Obi) and Billy Cullum, (Alex) provide heart-wrenching, gripping and pure performances that both astonish and delight. The set surrounding them, is beautifully understated, compiled of a grungy looking warehouse vibe, complete with upper walk way, some set pieces and screens that are brought on and off, suggestive of a converted building made into flats, (a commonality in the city). Ultimately allowing the performance to speak for itself. The lighting design alternatively coacts, dynamically working well to react and move with the movement sequences. Both techniques appropriately furnishing the overall offering.

To conclude, Leave to Remain still needs work to really push it to the next level. But it’s subject matter is intriguing and relevant, whilst the delivery is effervescent and modern. A clean and ultimately enjoyable watch. To find out more and book your tickets, click here.

*Kele Okereke also recorded the soundtrack and it is now available on Spotify and ITunes.

 

Obi – Tyrone Huntley
Alex – Billy Cullum
Diane – Johanna Murdock
Chichi – Aretha Ayeh
Grace – Rakie Ayola
Raymond – Sandy Batchelor
Damien – Arun Blair-Mangat
Kenneth – Cornell S. John
Brian – Martin Fisher

Written by Matt Jones
Written by Kele Okereke
Directed by Robby Graham
Designed by Rebecca Brower
Lighting by Anna Watson
Sound by Mike Thacker for Orbital
Music Supervisor – Phil Cornwell
Associate Musical Director / Kate Marlais
Casting Director – Will Burton CDG