Madhouse re:exit, Access All Areas @ Shoreditch Town Hall

13 – 28 of March

Created by Access all Areas
Directed by Nick Llewellyn

MADHOUSE reexit, Shoreditch Town Hall, credit of Helen Murray (8)

Photography by Helen Murray

Everybody needs to see this show.

It is an outstanding piece of political theatre. Interesting, captivating, and heartbreaking.

MadHouse is created by Access All Areas, an award-winning theatre company who work with artists with learning disabilities. The show is an immersive show performed in Shoreditch Town Hall.

When I got to the venue, there was an interesting exhibition on Haperbury Hospital, an ex-hospital for people with learning disabilities. The facts and pictures were shocking, and it does raise questions as to why this history isn’t taught in schools. I was also given a leaflet to ‘Paradise Fields’, a new corporate care facility, some pages were scarily relevant to the modern world.

The audience were going on a tour of ‘Paradise Fields’. I have to admit I felt slightly scared going down to tour this care home, there was a very eerie atmosphere but a feeling of curiosity within the audience. As the audience were toured around the care home we were exposed to the glossy, creepy staff and rooms in the modern day care home. It all felt too good to be true and the audience were expecting and waiting to see what happened next. As the tour went on the audience were taken away from the tour guides by ‘The Escapist’ played by David Munns to be given a different tour of the shocking truths behind ‘Paradise Fields.’

As we continued to move around the space, we met five characters who all told there own stories about living in the care home and the stories also linked to the modern society we live in. These five characters were all captivating actors and the scenes were interesting, all very different and heart-breaking. All the different scenes were devised by the cast members based on the research for the play and there own experiences as learning disabled artists. My particular favourite were ‘The Goddess’ played by Imogen Roberts and ‘The Eater’ played by Dayo Koleosho. Both these scenes had an incredible concept and set design behind them which was very unique. The performers were also captivating and relatable.

There were some  pacing hiccups however. There were times when the audience were waiting for two minutes to be moved on. I felt that these needed to be faster so that the audience could stay in the world the show created.

Do not miss this show.

The immersive world the company has created is brilliant, as are the performances. The show makes the audience question England’s current society but also makes you question your own perceptions of people with learning disabilities.

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Das Fest @ The Vaults

28 February – 4 March, 2018

Created and performed by ‘Vienna’s Master Illusionist’ Phillip Oberlohr

Philipp Oberlohr's Das Fest at VAULT Festival (courtesy Daniel Haingartner) (7).JPG

Photography by Daniel Haingartner

The Vault Festival is a very cool place. If you haven’t been yet, you need to go.

Last night I attended Das Fest by Philipp Oberlohr and I have to say it’s one of my highlights of the festival so far. On a snowy winter’s night, I went out in the cold to make my way to the show. I’m a sceptical person and I must admit I felt a little unsure about the prospect of going to a mind reading show. It’s all a trick surely? However, when I left the theatre an hour later, I felt happier, slightly confused and my mind was pulsing with questions like ‘How did he do that?’ and I felt very glad I had come to the show that evening.

Das Fest is the sequel to Das Spiel which was awarded the People’s choice award in 2016. I was excited and curious to see what was going to happen in this new show. The atmosphere was buzzing when I walked into the room, the audience were waiting, slightly nervously too see what was in store for them.

Now, the best thing about Das Fest is the surprise element. I don’t want to ruin it so I’m not going to write about what is going to happen to the audience in the show. However, what I can say was that Philipp Oberlohr is a charming performer. He is captivating, likeable and trustworthy. Despite the underlying fear the audience felt like they could talk to him, with one audience member staying on stage for most of the show! There was some wonderful imagery created in the show, my particular favourite involving a white umbrella and a black umbrella. The images created on stage were beautiful.

I thoroughly enjoyed Das Fest and would recommend seeing it for an entertaining evening. The physical theatre elements used in the show were excellent, as was the imagery and the performance. Go to the show, take some friends with you and then enjoy the ‘But how did he do that?!’ conversation which will inevitably happen in the bar afterwards.

 

 

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Be Prepared, Ian Bonar/Rob Watt @ The Vaults

7 – 11 February, 2018

Written & Performed by Ian Bonar
Directed by Rob Watt

 

Be Prepared - Edinburgh Fringe 2016 (Photo by The Other Richard) 6

Photos courtesy of The Other Richard

 

A heart-breaking but hilarious play about one man struggling to remember while another finds himself unable to forget.

Be Prepared is a return of Ian Bonar’s first play, first shown at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016. An alumnus from the acclaimed Royal Court Writers group, Be Prepared is very well written and you can appreciate the language and the text as an audience member.

An equally talented performer, Bonar is engaging and sensitive on stage and  takes the audience on a whirlwind emotional journey. The performance is gripping through a majority of the piece, only suffering from an occasional hiccup in pacing. Despite this, Be Prepared keeps the audience on their toes with some very funny and unexpected surprises throughout the play.

The concept of ‘one wrong digit can change a person’s life forever’ could have been clearer in the piece; however I would recommend this show for its brilliant script, storytelling, and a hilarious and engaging performance from Ian Bonar. It’s definitely a show not to be missed at the Vault Theatre Festival.

 

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Monster, Worklight Theatre @ The Vaults

24 – 28 January, 2018

Written & performed by Joe Sellman-Leavas
Directed by Yaz Al-Shaater

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Worklight Theatre are an internationally acclaimed theatre company formed in 2011 who focus on contemporary social issues. The company rose to success with there previous show Labels, a show exploring identity which won the VAULT Festival 2017 award.

Worklight’s latest show Monster explores violence and masculinity and questions what happens when the monster that lies within us escapes. Performed and written by Joe Sellman Leava and directed by Yaz Al-Shaanter.

Joe Sellman-Leava is a captivating performer, his intelligent energy is infectious. A very good storyteller, he has a unique style in the way which he tells emotional and personal stories. Sellman-Leava has incredible charisma, the audience like him and feel empathy for his character.

The performer multi-roled the different characters in the story, which created some funny moments. However, there wasn’t much physical change between the characters which would have added to the performance.

A unique show well-worth seeing at the VAULT Festival or catching on tour later this year. The audience left with the curious line: ‘some of the story is true and some of it isn’t and I’m not going to tell you which is which’, leaving us to questioning which is which.

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