Review: Keala Settle Live, Club 11 – Lola’s Underground Casino, The Hippodrome Casino

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

If you don’t know about them, Club 11 regularly provide affordable, high-quality, intimate and ephemeral sharings from Broadway and West End performers alike. Delivering wondrous, once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences in unique locations, encounters that will simply never be replicated again. This past Thursday it was the turn of Keala Settle, (selling out in a matter of minutes), who having rushed straight from performing in Hugh Jackman’s live show, The Man. The Music. The Show. at the O2, delivered an epic powerhouse set. The perfect mix of showtunes and contemporary music, Settle choosing to first perform several self-arranged songs from her ep, Chapter One released in 2017. Alongside homages to both Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, Settle not only demonstrating her humility but her extreme vocal prowess. Intertwined with witty rebuttals and numerous standing ovations, she truly verified that she knows how to work a crowd, letting her superhuman talents speak for themselves.

In this very special cabaret evening she was supported by an exquisite band and incredible singers Kayleigh McKnight and Jenna Lee James, (all of the aforementioned can be seen live with Hugh Jackman). Speaking of which, Settle was warmly cheered on by her tour cast mates, friends and family, resulting in a genuinely humbling atmosphere and series of magical, dynamically-charged and high-energy performances. The set also including Waitress’ She Used To Be Mine and Enough is Enough, (The Last Duet) sung with Kayleigh McKnight. There’s not much more to say, if you get the chance to see Keala Settle perform live, go! Her delivery is unparalleled. Oh and check out Club 11 for more explosive cabaret sessions, click here.

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Review: Amélie the Musical, The Watermill Theatre// New Wimbledon Theatre

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Amélie the Musical, The Watermill Theatre.

Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

Masterfully created, delicately stylistic and emotionally real.

Amélie, based on the five-time Oscar nominated, French art- house film of the same name, is an uplifting Parisian tale about human connection, through both solitude and love. It follows Amélie from her unusual childhood, to her present day escape to Paris, a city in which she works in a cafe, examining the world going by around her. It is Amélie’s aberrant ability to see the positive side of anything with her abundant curiosity and quietly observing nature that leads her into a cycle of anonymously helping the city’s inhabitants one by one, ‘like Lady Di’. A chain reaction that soon sparks Nino’s interest and the game of cat and mouse is afoot. With a whimsical score and tantalising design, the show has the complete winning formula, an exceedingly talented cast, wit and humour to boot and a faultless composition.

Hartshorn-Hook and Selladoor’s new production seen at The Watermill Theatre is a absolute triumph.Audrey Brisson is delectable, she delivers Amélie’s story with measured sincerity and passion, a twinkle in her eye throughout, not to mention her voice is stunning. Supported by a mind-blowingly talented cast of actor-muso’s, all of whom portray a wide assortment of characters with ease and frivolity, there really isn’t anything this company aren’t capable of. What we are left with is a perfectly charming, audacious and uplifting tale, conveying the fragility of the human condition and jovial sentiment of the film, enacting much like an intimate treasure trove full of wonder and surprise, driven by intertwining narratives, intricate and affecting moments of detail, and exciting bursts of choreography and puppetry. The atmospheric impression and folk-pop score is much like that of Once The Musical or even Come From Away. This magical, feel-good masterclass in musical theatre is quite simply unmissable, the skill level is off the charts and sincerity envious.

Amélie the Musical, New Wimbledon Theatre

We caught up with Amélie once more to see how it’s scaled up for a national tour, going from playing to a 220 capacity on a much smaller stage at The Watermill in Newbury, to that of 1600+ seats here in its London-based venue and we are pleased to say that the show remains intrinsic in its intimacy and intricacy. The measured moments of silence and exceedingly inventive puppeteered or choreographed sections affect and endure as before. The set having been opened out, now leaves more room for the actors and their various instruments at weave and intertwine between each other, the cast (having been joined by a few fresh faces, now numbering 16 actor-musos in total) thrive in their larger, but not too large, playing space.

Regarding the overall affect of Madeleine Girling’s set, the design is incredibly malleable whilst faithful to both the film and overall stylistic sentiment of the piece; remaining the same throughout, the set pieces can be moved and changed to create various locations such as the Two Windmills Cafe, (Amélie’s place of work), the Paris metro and all things in between as Amélie runs around the city to accomplish small acts of kindness. Yet the contestants are the most poignant, Amélie’s window leading to her room and the photo-booth. Her circular window looms over the playing space a signifier of her solitude and place of safety that she often retreats into and dreams within. The photo booth alternatively remains as a connection between her and love interest Nino, as the location of their first encounter. Yet the photo booth, much like the pianos becomes so much more, all three turning and adapting to become various other locations, such as the sex shop in which Nino works, a merry go round, tobacconists, phone-booth and front doors to name but a few. A playful offering. Girling proving herself to be both innovative and bold, creating a practical and exciting set that also engenders the Parisian backdrop through it’s art-deco composition.

Audrey Brisson is still a sparkling dream! Her characterisation is unparalleled whilst her voice is simply stunning, there could be no other Amélie. Equally, Danny Mac‘s Nino is wondrously understated and pure, his vocal tonality just pours into you. As previously, the ensemble are the most talented performers around, quadruple threats each unique, providing a range of characters and caricatures. As aforementioned, the piece retains the sprit of the film, visually through both its set and sepia lighting, a foggy haze that captures the art-house idea of Paris phenomenally well. Whilst over all the film’s sentimentality is delivered by the inherent surrealism and blunt humour in the direction, amalgamated by the wacky costumes and use of wondrous puppetry and movement.

A particularly beautiful through-concept is Amélie’s heartbeat, we hear it when her heart ‘fills with love’ at the point of what she sees as affection from her father, the result is a fast melodic motif, made of racing violins, drums and keys with a series harmonised vocal beats. The sound bite recurring on each and every occasion in which she sees Nino, even before she can decipher her feelings, we know what they are. Demonstrating her inward expression, plus the difficulty of her own vehemence and struggle to communicate her emotions. All whilst the piece is colourfully communicated and moved along by the ensemble, who are not only all indomitable performers, they are equally vehicles for the plot, clear narrators in Amélie’s sporadic journey between secret acts and toying with Nino, wonderful grounding points for both the stylistic nature of the work and overall narratorial arc, connecting point A to point B.

To conclude the work is portentously inventive, brimming with talent and enviously unique. Pure and simply beautiful and unmissable. Now embarking on a national tour! Click here. 

Cast –
Audrey Brisson – Amelie
Chris Jared – Nino Quincampoix – Watermill performances.
Oliver Grant – Lucien/Mysterious Man.
Samuel Morgan-Grahame – Joseph/Fluffy.
Sioned Saunders – Gina.
Johnson Willis – Collignon/Dufayel.
Caolan McCarthy – Hippolita/Elton John
Faoileann Cunningham – Georgette / Sylvia
Kate Robson-Stuart – Suzanne
Josh Sneesby – Blind Beggar / Gnome
Jez Unwin – Raphael / Bretodeau
Rachel Dawson – Andamine / Philomene

 

(Tour changes)
Danny Mac – Nino Quincampoix – on tour
Sophie Crawford – Gina
Nuwan Hugh Perera – Jean-Yves
Chris Jared – Raymond
Charlie Magalit – Cecile
Emma Jane Morton – Delphine

 

Daniel Messé – Music and Lyrics
Nathan Tysen – Lyrics
Craig Lucas – Book
Michael Fentiman – Director
Madeleine Girling – Design
Tom Jackson Greaves – Choreographer
Barnaby Race – Orchestrations and arrangements
George Francis – Musical supervision and direction
Elliot Griggs – Lighting design
Tom Marshall – Sound design

 

Review: Anna, Dorfman Theatre, (National Theatre).

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

The Dorfman Theatre, in a turn of magnificent place-making manifests into a 1968 German Surveillance Centre, complete with headsets to listen in and a two way mirror. Ella Hickson’s new play Anna is not only a benevolent thriller, the design added by Ben and Max Ringham creates a theatrical atmosphere that has never been seen (or heard before). This is innovation in theatre.

As with any good thriller, there are a plethora of serious spoilers involved, but we were told ‘KEEP US SAFE’ ‘NO SPOILERS’, so, we of course won’t ruin the ridiculously well-written, suspense filled twists and turns of Hickson’s masterpiece. That being said, what we can tell you is that the trajectory is thrown off kilter by several gut-wrenching plot distortions, the likes of which engage and shock aplenty. Anna is set in East Berlin in 1968, just prior to the toppling of the wall. The work intriguingly focussing on what it was like to live under the communist rule of the German Democratic Republic. A time riddled with suspicion and fear over who to trust and who was listening, hence the surveillance thematics and the mentions of the party being a ‘safe space’. The action all takes place on one evening which we watch from Anna’s perspective. She and husband Hans are hosting a party at the suggestion of his new boss. The evening having been arranged for Hans’ work colleagues to celebrate his promotion. The guests subsequently arrive, whilst Anna’s mother’s unjust death in 1949 at the hands of Russian soldiers comes back to the forefront of her memory, the unexpected ensues as the two events collide.

As aforementioned the evening is shown from her perspective, this is intricately and beautifully built through the miraculous design, particularly that of the sound. Anna is mic’d and her audio is amplified and thus, all we hear, played directly into our headphones, (the reason for which comes abundantly clear). This creates an ASMR-style cacophony of sound, the perfect nod to this viral trend featured heavily on Youtube right now. The style allowing us to not only hear what Anna can hear, but her breathing, speaking and the sound of her movements combined, creating a listening experience that almost allows us to feel her movements through sound. This combine wondrously with the set design as its orientation blocks the bathroom, hallway and bedroom of the flat from total view, whilst the kitchen and lounge are central and visible, so when Anna is hidden spaces we are only able to listen in, engendering a scintillating sensation of spying, much like the reality of the time. Perpetuated further by the division of the stage, (Anna and Hans’ flat) by a perspex panel, parting the audience from the actors, the couple’s windows becoming a two way mirror through which we can look in and spy. Furthermore it is the moments Anna is out of view that build an exhilarating juxtaposition, whilst she is speaking of tragedy and loss, the party continues and the guests are shown to be jovially enjoying themselves, utter turmoil is contrasted by recreational enjoyment.

Much like Rosmersholm, (now playing the West-End, Duke of York’s Theatre), the piece ultimately pits politics against the personal. In Anna’s case political affiliation and involvement is secondary to personal ambition, much like many independent female character’s that have gone before her, she is willing to act in a typically ‘masculine’ manner, demonstrating the volition to sacrifice her morals for hot-headed revenge, however just it seems. And in this powerful role Phoebe Fox is an absolute joy, a maelstrom of emotion and utterly convincing, supported by a superb ensemble. Anna is one hour of pure thrills and physical gasps. With the most adroit innovations in design seen this year! You won’t want to miss it, click here to book now. 

 

Cast
Phoebe Fox – Anna
Paul Bazely – Hans
Michael Gould
Diana Quirk
Lara Rossi
Nathalie Armin
Max Bennett
Jamie Bradley
Georgia landers
Dwane Walcott

 

Creatives
Author: Created by Ella Hickson, Ben and Max Ringham (story by Ella Hickson)
Composer: Ben and Max Ringham
Director: Natalie Abrahami
Designer: Vicki Mortimer
Lighting: Jon Clark
Sound: Ben and Max Ringham
Movement: Anna Morrissey

 

Review: A German Life, Bridge Theatre

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

Maggie Smith triumphantly returns to the stage! Captivating as ever, she sensationally holds the crowd in the palm of her hand from start to finish. Illiciting an instantaneous, well-deserved standing ovation in response.

‘Maggie Smith, alone on stage’. This aforementioned statement about the production that features on Bridge Theatre’s website, is perhaps the perfect description of A German Life. Christopher Hampton’s new play is just this, Maggie Smith, a magnificent storyteller, on her own terms telling the story of a German life, from it’s humble beginnings, through to it’s glory days and finally to its decent, using the vehicle of a direct address memoir to vibrantly convey this life in its totality. And this is not just any German life we are talking about, the testimony here, is that of famed short-hander, typist and secretary for propaganda propeller Joseph Goebbels, Brunhilde Pomsel. Drawn from Christian Krönes, Olaf Müller, Roland Schrotthofer and Florian Weigensamer’s 2016 documentary interviewing Pomsel, (also entitled A German Life), Hampton uses his writing to toy with the idea of the human condition, from an ingrained selfish ability to turn a blind eye to injustice or believe in a scapegoat, resulting from a lack of empathy or inclination to care, combined with the governing classes ability to withhold or falsify information, sound familiar? Our Brexit senses are tingling! Set in 2016, (the year of the EU vote), the character ironically remarks how ‘the people’ would never fall for a cover up today like the allusion before the atrocities of the concentration camps. The title itself, A German Life, does much to paint Pomsel as an ordinary German, though extraordinary due to her association to one of the most evil men in history, she was by her own admission much like many Germans of her time, duped by the higher powers into thinking nothing bad was actually happening. ‘I had no idea what was going on. Or very little. No more than most people…’. This presented ordinary nature of the character, is thus nuanced-ly represented through Anna Fleischle’s design. Pomsel is sat at an ordinary table, within an ordinary kitchen, drinking an ordinary cup of tea and ordinarily indulging in a little cognac as the evening progresses, losing herself in her story. The deeper she goes into her reminiscing, the further she gets away from the kitchen and the present day, it’s as if she is envisioning her past. Fleischle, therefore cleverly makes the table at which she sits mechanically edge slowly towards the front of the stage throughout the performance, whilst the remaining set pieces move further away, falling into the background. A movement that is so slick and unassuming that it is almost impossible to document during the piece. A beautiful visualisation of the transgression of Pomsel’s life and story, as well as a physical wiping away of the setting that does much to sinisterly suggest these kind of things could happen anywhere at any time.

The play itself displays the ageing Pomsel, sitting in a kitchen, she, disorientated by her years and experiences stumbles chronologically through her life, which spanned the twentieth century. From labouring to make ends meet as a secretary in Berlin during the 1930s, through her many employers including a Jewish insurance broker and the German Broadcasting Corporation, to the eventuality that was, Joseph Goebbels and the repercussions past that. Jonathan Kent’s valorous direction sees Smith endearingly and humorously bring Pomsel to life, (Hampton aptly ensuring that there are several one-liners to wondrously accent the vibrancy of the character). Brunhilde Pomsel is there in the auditorium with you, Kent, Hampton and Smith ensure it. Whilst Fleischle echoes this, her design floods Pomsel’s table with newspapers and pages of writing, an indicator of her work in both Broadcasting House and in the Press offices, particularly her typist abilities, the cognac she places on the table demonstrates some of the frivolity she enjoyed under Goebbels, whilst the books demonstrate not only her intelligence, but the education she could have had, should her father have allowed her to study past the age of 15. Small visual glimpses into a variegated life. Something Paul Groothuis’ sound also cohesifies with, a subtle integrity. He chooses to sprinkle beautiful sound bites throughout, without overdoing their frequency. These are enkindled echoes of Pomsel’s life, for instance we hear the roar of a crowd formed after Hitler was made Chancellor, a rally Pomsel was dragged to by an a boyfriend at the time, as well as parts of a speech made by Goebbels, Pomsel again being forced to attend due to her avocation. Sewn throughout Groothius’ work is astonishing and so very apt for the overall sincerity and tenderness of the piece.

To conclude, the composition is well-balanced and deeply enthralling. Smith expectedly astonishes, whilst both the direction and design around her make it so. A German Life is a moving, momentous must see!

 
Cast
BRUNHILDE POMSEL – Maggie Smith

Creative Team
DIRECTOR – Jonathan Kent
WRITER – Christopher Hampton
DESIGNER – Anna Fleischle
LIGHTING – Jon Clark
SOUND – Paul Groothuis

 

Review: Grief is The Thing With Feathers, Barbican Theatre

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Wayward Productions see’s Enda Walsh’s enigmatic adaptation of Max Porter’s award-winning novel land blindingly onto the Barbican Stage. This exhilarating proverbial staging written and directed by Walsh, intelligibly manifests grief, from the very sensation of it, to its affect on the human condition. The remarkable delivery of which, leaves audiences both shocked and enthused.

Situated in a London flat, GITTWF introduces it’s audience to a father. A father not unlike any other parent of young children, except here we are presented with a man that is consumed by sadness. Left lost, empty and despairing, he glances towards his family’s future now that his wife, the mother of his children has suddenly died. Imagining it to be filled with endless streams of sympathetic visitors and a thick, black emptiness. However, whilst he and his two young boys face their desolation, they are visited by Crow – described as the ‘antagonist, babysitter, trickster and healer’. A ‘sentimental bird’ that is drawn to the grieving family and somewhat menacingly threatens to stay until they no longer need him. (This threat, enforced by a ‘mythical’ being, is aberrantly reminiscent of that of the walking of the monster in Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls, which received its own stage adaptation last year). Both, on stage, wonderfully enacting as theatrical epics, intertwined with emotion and poeticism aplenty.

Cillian Murphy, is absolutely exquisite his ability to shape-shift between character’s, changing from the romantic grieving father to the abrasive visiting Crow, is unparalleled. The father, bereaved and anxious, struggling to write a book on Ted Hughes whilst fumbling to look after his sons, is played tenderly and inwardly by Murphy, a passionate yet muted characterisation, that is deeply juxtaposed by his portrayal of Crow. Charging around the space, Murphy here, dynamically commands the atmosphere and displays an extreme amount of skilled athleticism and charisma. Achieving the transition between the two by the simplicity of a hooded black dressing gown, Murphy dextrously metamorphoses into Crow, amending his entire physicality. As Crow he adopts a stooped posture, splaying his feet and bounds on and off furniture and stage levels alike. He even bursts into the audience, breaking the fourth wall and physical stage boundary, through this act the character reminds us that the circumstances in which he is visiting are universal, prolongedly experienced by all. This undeniably adept physical transformation is also accompanied by an intriguing modification in voice, effectuated by the amplification of Murphy’s vocalisations through various microphones, whilst the actor himself reforms his tonality to display an energised lower, rougher quality. His skill tumultuously accenting the fabulous sound design of Helen Atkinson.

Walsh’s inspired decision to have Murphy play both characters, unites the human and animal worlds, demonstrating that their is not much difference between the two. That in both, whilst grief sets in, survival is still a priority. Furthermore, the Crow’s inhabitants emphasises the curative essence of poeticism, nature being a regular feature in liturgical works. The Crow becoming a mythological outlet and at points symbol for the family’s grief. He is a vehicle for the pure fury that the father feels at the premature loss of his wife, as well as the helper who drowns out the sadness that clings and attacks the father’s tender reminiscings of fond memories.

That being said this production is that of excess and theatrics. Something that at times becomes detrimental to the piece. Walsh cleverly, does a lot with the help of the other creatives to generate a sensory overload, importantly with no clear natatorial structure, using the vocal amplifications and Teho Teardo’s compositions, combined with Will Dukes exceedingly detailed and well-crafted projections and Adam Silverman’s dynamic lighting. Resulting in a submerging wall of sound and visual spectacular. Though this sensory overload is key to engendering the overwhelming and at points incapacitating sensation of grief, (something this creative team crafts faultlessly), the result is that it can be difficult to understand Murphy and the direction of the work, leaving the point to get somewhat muddled underneath the hyperactive mutterings of Crow. (Particularly on the projection side of things, as from certain seats these become indecipherable). Nonetheless, the sentiment and atmospheric technique is genius. These profuse afferent sections are wonderfully contrasted by the romantic and anxious recollections of the father, where we hear recordings of his late wife’s voice or see images of her, whilst the father fights to keep it together. A powerhouse performance from Murphy on both accounts, ensues.

Yet, the secondary star of the show is the design. Will Duke’s projections do much to bring the metrical nature of Porter’s novel to life, despite being of a monochromatic persuasion, they are wonderfully vibrant working with the sound design and Walsh’s pockets of poetic speeches to bring to life the mythology and animal iconography of Porter’s original in a stylised manner. Whilst also doing much to illustrate the extent of grief on the human psyche. Alongside these are the exciting intricacies of Jamie Vartan’s design which are prevalent and important. The variegated levels provide the perfect playground for Crow to bound upon and state his presence, whilst the flat, though realistic in contrast to the character of Crow, becomes the perfect white canvas for not only Duke’s artistic intent, but for the family to grow and learn upon, they find teachings in both the tragedy itself and Crow’s lessons, learning to live again and to function as a family unit of three, their anger and naivety can cause messes, (messes we physically see), but the tidying back to white and starting again is possible, (something we again witness). A beautiful message, that it is possible to build something from despair and that you can try as many times as you need to get it to work. Laid on top of this is Adam Silverman’s detailed and at times subtle lighting. A particular favourite is the unassuming cross, a shadow often projected onto the lower back wall, next to the first door. It appears much like a tombstone, an ever-present reminder of death and of the person they are missing. The fact it disappears every so often, suggests that grief though painful does dissipate with time and becomes ever more fleeting.

To conclude, GITTWF is phenomenally well acted and designed, it packs a punch, but remembers to contrast it’s spectaculars with more sustained moments of clarity. It simply needs to slow itself down at points to allow it’s technical skill and execution to speak for itself. To find out more about the production click here. grief sim the thing with feathers

 

Max Porter – Text
Enda Walsh – Adaptation and Direction
Teho Teardo – Composer
Jamie Vartan – Design
Christina Cunningham – Costumes
Adam Silverman – Lighting
Helen Atkinson – Sound
Will Duke – Projection
Cillian Murphy – Actor

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

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