Review: Down and Out in Paris and London by New Diorama Theatre / PIT

Down and Out in Paris and London, written and directed by NDT / PIT Artistic Director, David Byrne, fuses two books, written half a century apart. The first by George Orwell, which lends its title to the production, and the second, Hard Work by Polly Toynbee, a journalist and reporter for The Guardian, in which she researches minimum-wage, zero-hours contracts by living for several months as one of those reliant on them to survive.

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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: Reptember by The Faction

ReptemberThis year, The Faction have departed from their usual Spring repertory season of large-scale ensemble plays, to produce an extra series, or rather three series, of short, one-person performances, adapted from original classics. On 16th September, I saw one of those sets: The Man with the Flower in his Mouth by Luigi Pirandello, Medea, adapted by Emily Juniper from Euripedes and Metamorphosis, by Faction-regular Gareth Jandrell, from the original Kafka.

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Review: Sex Idiot by Bryony Kimmings

Sex Idiot was first created four years ago and, before the performance, Bryony was at pains to remind me that it is part of her earlier canon of work which has matured significantly since then. But I am in haste to make up for lost time and Bryony’s work has been on my ‘must-see-but-haven’t-managed-to-yet’ list for too long, so it seemed fitting that I started with the earlier stuff and can work my way forward from here.

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Review: Where the White Stops by Antler Theatre

Antler Theatre is a new, young company, founded only last year (2012) by a group of students who met at East 15, under the mentorship of their tutor, Uri Roodner. In this way, they follow in the fine tradition of companies such as Trestle and Idle Motion, and their work certainly lives up to that legacy.

Where the White Stops, Antler’s latest show, is the story of Crab, a young girl who dares to step outside the boundaries of her village in the far north, and chance the wrath of the Beast who roams ‘the white’, to search for something else. On her way she meets Carpenters and Kings, makes friends and foes, and battles through cold and blizzards to find the elusive place where the white stops.

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Review: A Strange Wild Song by Rhum and Clay

A Strange Wild Song stillRhum and Clay are a young company who have only been going a couple of years but they have already come to the attention of Arts Council England, as well as other notable organisations who are always on the lookout for exciting new talent to partner with, such as the New Diorama Theatre, the Bike Shed and the Watermill. If A Strange Wild Song is anything to go by, it’s hardly surprising that Rhum and Clay have much more established organisations queueing up to work with them, as they are a hugely talented group of actors with a real flair for storytelling.

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Review: Fiesco by The Faction

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The Faction produce a heady mix of classic, text-based, physical theatre which is a joy to witness.  They are dedicated to producing the complete works of Schiller, but also include other classics in their repertoire, such as Chekov, Lorca, Shakespeare and Strindberg, to name but a few.  But it was Schiller who drew me to the New Diorama Theatre on a cold January evening.  Last year I was privileged to see The Faction’s Mary Stuart, and I had high expectations of this latest production.  I was not disappointed.

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Vision and passion

I am consistently amazed at the meteoric rise of the New Diorama Theatre.  The building opened just over a year ago and has already made a name for itself as THE place in London to see exciting new work.  Much of this is down to the vision and ambition of its team, led by Artistic and Executive Director David Byrne.  It also helps if you have a brand new venue in the heart of Euston, just two minutes walk from seven different tube lines.  Nevertheless, there are plenty of fringe venues in London with a good location which haven’t achieved in decades what the New Diorama has achieved in less than two years.

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