Review: #Haters by Odd Eyes Theatre

Haters#Haters is the first professional play by Odd Eyes Theatre, written and directed by Artistic Director, Emilia Teglia, and takes at its subject the real-life incident in 2014 in which a young Hackney man was stabbed and staggered into a local bar, covered in blood. The bar owner called emergency services, saw to the victim’s needs and, afterwards, in an effort to lighten the tone, tweeted about the incident with the hashtag #Welcome to Hackney. The backlash on twitter was immense.

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Review: Pig by Silent Uproar

PigSilent Uproar are a Hull-based, New Diorama Emerging Company and, as such, presented their latest production Pig at the London venue in September 2015.

Pig is a clever title for a clever production. It’s a show about cops and robbers: Ted and Coral are jobbing cops, beat-bobbies who want to rise through the ranks and know all too well the downside of policing in the UK in the twenty-first century. Gaz is a likeable career criminal, who names his pet pigeon in hommage to the way in which the young hero of the Ken Loach film names his pet kestrel, hence the title of the piece.

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Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by the National Theatre

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been on my must-see list of shows for quite a while, so when I found out it was going on tour, I happily headed out to the New Theatre in Oxford to cross it off the list.

Based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Mark Haddon, the show concerns autistic teenager, Christopher, whose mother died several years previously, and who lives on his own with his Dad. When a neighbour’s dog is murdered with a garden fork, the body left on the front lawn for all to see, Christopher sets out to act detective and find out who committed the heinous crime, becoming more and more determined as the world tries to convince him to leave well alone. What transpires when he finally discovers the perpetrator and motivation for the crime, changes his life forever.

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Review: Fake It ‘Til You Make It by Bryony Kimmings

Bryony Kimmings makes work about things that are personal to her, and things that make her angry. In her latest show, that’s male depression. More specifically, why men don’t seek help in dealing with their depression, resulting in a frighteningly high suicide rate amongst that gender. And why is it personal to her? Because, six months into her relationship with her fiancé and father of her unborn son, Tim Grayburn, she found that he had been hiding severe depression from her, and from the world, for ten years.

Typical of Kimmings, instead of screaming ‘betrayal’ and running away, she confronted the situation with her usual sensitivity and understanding, and set to work to do something about it. The result: Tim left his highly-paid job as an advertising executive to collaborate with her in making a show documenting the way in which his depression affected their relationship, learned to play the guitar (not very well, but that’s part of the charm of the piece), and joined her on stage to tour the show around the world for a year.

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Review: The Point of No Return by BeFrank Theatre

The Point of No Return follows BeFrank‘s tradition of verbatim theatre, based on real-life interviews with a range of people on all sides of modern stories of conflict. This show tackles the recent events in Ukraine, pre-empting the current crisis, in which Ukraine’s position as the geographical and ideological pivot between Russia and the West divided the country.

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Review: Shooting with Light by Idle Motion

In the last few years, Idle Motion have been taking the world by storm with their particular brand of physical and visual storytelling, and their newest show, Shooting with Light, is the latest, and most mature, in their exceptional canon of work.

Shooting with Light began as a piece about photography, but came alive during the research period when the company uncovered the remarkable story of Gerda Taro, the pioneering war photographer who has been almost forgotten by history, largely because of her gender.

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Review: Push and Citizen Puppet by final year students at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

There isn’t much to link these two pieces, other than that they are showcases for students graduating from Central. Push, directed by Catherine Alexander and Grainne Byrne is a devised piece based on the novel of the same name by Sapphire. Citizen Puppet is also devised, in collaboration with acclaimed puppet company Blind Summit, and is a whimsical piece of (allegedly) verbatim theatre centring around the events of a well-known fairy-tale.

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Review: Joan of Arc by The Faction

I’m a big fan of The Faction, and their production of The Talented Mr. Ripley, with which Joan of Arc is playing in repertoire, is my must-see show this Spring. Sadly, though, Joan of Arc doesn’t meet the same standard.

The Faction are dedicated to producing the works of Schiller, and their previous productions of Mary Stuart, Fiesco and The Robbers have done much to revive the playwright’s reputation as relevant to modern theatre. Unfortunately, Joan of Arc, based on Schiller’s The Maid of Orleans adds nothing to this.

Partly, it’s down to the play. One cannot help but compare it to the George Bernard Shaw masterpiece, and it doesn’t stand up well. Gone is the trial scene, the pivotal dramatic crescendo of the story in which the audience is drawn into a natural empathy for the underdog, borne of outrage at the unfairness of her treatment, and admiration for the way in which she faces it.

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Review: The Talented Mr. Ripley by The Faction

The Talented Mr. Ripley is something of a departure for The Faction, being more modern than their usual source material, and also an adaptation, by Faction Artistic Director Mark Leipacher, of a novel by Patricia Highsmith. But the choice of subject is not the only departure for this New Diorama Associate Company. One is used to seeing The Faction perform on a bare stage, but in this production the space is dominated by a raised square platform, painted white and filling the black box space, with only a small corridor around the outside and a square pit in the centre. Gone, too, is The Faction’s fluid, shifting ensemble – the whole weight of this production rests heavily on the shoulders of Christopher Hughes, who plays the creepily obsessive Ripley.

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Review: Borges and I by Idle Motion

This is the second time I have seen Borges and I, but it definitely bears seeing twice! The beauty and fluidity of the physical language perfectly enhances the interwoven stories of Spanish poet and writer Jorge Luis Borges, told through the eyes of Alice, and her book-group friend, Sophie, who finds romance just as tragedy strikes.

The parallels of the two lives, both blighted by the onset of blindness are told through narrative and metaphor, and every visual image is created with books. The tiger, which Borges admired above all other animals, and which features again in Sophie’s favourite childhood book, is illustrated with flicking pages. Books become butterflies, cityscapes, aeroplanes and dominoes; pages flutter down like rain, and we literally see the images contained within the words and feel the power of literature in a way that no other play has ever achieved.

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