The Family Blimp, Klump Company @ Blue Elephant Theatre

21 – 23 June 2018
Klump Company
Chloe Young, Megan Vaughan-Thomas, Ulima Ortiz, and Arthur Dumas

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The Blimp family has moved to the UK, and mother Evelyn and father Phillip struggle with opening the door to their new house, let alone controlling daughter Emily and baby Dioxyne! The beginning of this show seemed innocuous enough – straightforward slapstick clowning and buffoonery, with the support of a few novelty props and classic white facepaint. For these first five or ten minutes, dialogue was minimal and/or in exaggerated French, but then the character of community leader Jocelyn Price was introduced in the form of a booming voice emanating from a picnic hamper… and things started to really get interesting!

These four recent graduates of Ecole Jaques Lecoq, Paris’ internationally famous physical theatre school, devise and perform as a collective without any director. According to the theatre manager, they were a pleasure to host at Blue Elephant, and almost manically cheery throughout their time there, though this may have had something to do with the gallons of coffee they powered through every day… And honestly, I can see why they needed it, as this performance was chock-full of creative and physical energy. This was both a strength and a weakness: sometimes the action onstage seemed to hurry through conceits and plot points which would have been more effective if explored at greater length, and as a result the story sometimes felt quite disjointed and oddly paced (for example, I loved the family game show section, however it began and ended so suddenly that I couldn’t really get into it as I’d have liked to). I also felt that the ending of the narrative was a little abrupt and not particularly satisfying; personally, I’d have closed it off with the family coming full circle, and appearing on a new neighbour’s doorstep to sinisterly welcome them to the community…

Really though, the fact is that this show had far too much to offer for it to all cram into 45 minutes. The Blimp family’s trials and tribulations may have been grotesquely, cartoonishly comic, but they did also provide some very astute commentaries on the experience of new migrants to the UK navigating the unspoken expectations of British social life and its concepts of respectability. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of the disconnect between British attitudes of welcome to our neighbourhood, we value multiculturalism and we expect you to assimilate and learn to play by our rules. We were provided with a unique viewpoint on all of this by the positioning of the audience as both within the Blimps’ home, witnessing private scenes, and also as part of the wider community looking in from the outside and judging. The periodic breaking of the fourth wall kept us on our toes, particularly when the creepy, malevolent baby Dioxyne started taking an interest in audience members! Speaking of Dioxyne, she and her sister Emily really stole the show from their onstage parents; I don’t feel that this was a reflection on any of the actors’ abilities, as they all seemed very evenly matched, but rather that the two children were given the wilder roles, while the parents were often stuck playing the straight man.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable short performance which left me wanting more, and even thinking about the meat of its subject matter afterwards – unusual for a clowning show! The Klump Company artists certainly have a bright future ahead of them, and I hope they keep developing The Family Blimp to best showcase their obvious comic, creative, and sociopolitical talents. I’ll be looking out for them at the Edinburgh Fringe, and beyond!

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Finally: my deepest apologies to the Klump Company and Blue Elephant Theatre for the extreme tardiness of this review. This is a reflection on developments in my personal life, and not in any way on my enjoyment of the show.

Peepshow, Circa @ Underbelly

27th June – 18th August 2018
Directed by Yaron Lifschitz
Devised and Presented by Circa Contemporary Theatre
Performed at Underbelly Festival’s Spiegeltent

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Images courtesy of Kurt Petersen

This was, quite simply, phenomenal cabaret circus. I sat transfixed in Underbelly’s Spiegeltent for 60 minutes and forgot the world outside existed, as the six performers – four women and two men – moved fluidly and gracefully through a series of acts encompassing dance, hoops, physical comedy, aerial silks, and superb displays of acrobatics. Unfortunately on the night I was there, the trapeze artist pictured in promotional materials was not performing, but he was barely missed amongst the rest of the extremely talented cast.

According to director Yaron Lifschitz, Peepshow explores the concept of “looking and being seen”; the performers navigate through light and darkness, visual effects and illusions, and the states of observer and observed. Classic cabaret tropes and techniques are twisted and subverted – I was pleasantly surprised to see that two of the acrobatic bases were women, and it was wonderful to see a break from the usual convention that only male acrobats must be strong and muscular while their female counterparts are small, lithe, and sexy. (Side note: one of the performers looked for all the world like a fourth Hemsworth brother and the most attractive, not to mention the most physically talented!) Which is not to say that the women in this show weren’t sexy – at times they were, but they were not confined to this. And although there were some classic displays of performative masculinity, including a gracefully choreographed dance fight, there was also a feeling of gender and sexual fluidity, not to mention homoeroticism. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the objectification of the performers was equal, deliberate, and self-aware, all of which only made it more devastatingly effective. The style flirted with the seediness of a burlesque peepshow, but poked gentle fun at it as well. And the music was phenomenal!

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Images courtesy of Kurt Petersen

My only criticisms of this production are mild, and are actually focused on some of the more traditional acts in the show: the miming and juggling were not quite as seamless and engrossing as the more innovative acts. In addition, the lack of any stronger through-thread, plot, or theme, meant that in the very few weaker moments, the show lost momentum somewhat. However for the most part, this production was absolutely exquisite and breath-taking. I would highly recommend making your way down to the Southbank in time to see Peepshow before its run there ends in August!

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Belly of the Whale, Ockham’s Razor @ Greenwich and Docklands Festival

23-24th June, 2018
Directed by Tina Koch – Ockham’s Razor

Produced by Turtle Key Arts
Devised and Performed by Amanda Homa, Nathan Johnston and Stefano di Renzo

Photo by reviewer

It’s hard to believe that this performance was not originally devised for the space in which it was performed yesterday. The backdrop of the docks and the soaring masts and rigging of the Cutty Sark set the scene perfectly, and the maritime creaks and sighs woven through the soundscape completed the setting. Despite its name, Belly of the Whale, this show evokes images of ships sailing on high seas rather than anything particularly biblical. The rocking and rolling of the central set piece (sort of like a… seesawing half-pipe which also became a climbing scaffold… look I don’t know circus terminology, okay) beautifully evoked the sensation of waves and tides, with interruptions to the rhythm serving as a reminder that the ocean can be unpredictable and even playful.

There was no narrative or real dialogue to this show, which meant it did tend to feel a little directionless at times, but it was wonderful to recline on the hot pavement (glad I brought a picnic rug!) and immerse myself in the visual and aural feast before me. The performance was  billed as circus and was by circus troupe Ockham’s Razor, however as in the case of much modern circus, it was almost more like a mixture of dance, acrobatics, and performance art than what people classically think of as circus. The performers leapt, wobbled, climbed, rolled, ran, stumbled, tumbled, and even play-fought around Thomas Loriaux and Eric Abadie’s versatile setpiece, transforming it by use of ropes, pulleys, weights, bars. Classic circus skills made their appearance mainly through tightrope walking and aerial silk acrobatics. I was particularly impressed by performer Amanda Homa and her effortless supple grace; even when performing clumsiness, her movements were so beautifully fluid and perfectly in time with the music. The show was at its strongest towards the end, when the pace and rhythm picked up, all three performers shared the stage in a wonderfully chaotic but tightly choreographed dance – at other times the pace slackened somewhat and the performers began to lose the attention of some of the audience (particularly its junior members), but for this finale, everyone was absolutely entranced.

It would be remiss not to make special mention of the on-stage musician: combining electrical keyboard, a string instrument which I think may have been a sitar?, various digital samples and effects, live looping, and many more audio techniques of which I am ignorant, he created the perfect soundscape as a backdrop for this performance. At times I was tempted just to close my eyes and sink into the aural world he created, where sailors still sing sea shanties, you must never shoot an albatross, and sea serpents lurk on the edges of maps…

Belly of the Whale will continue touring the UK and Europe throughout 2018 – I doubt any of its other settings will be as perfect as the docklands, but I am convinced that it will still shine in more traditional spaces, so catch it if you can! You can see a list of performance locations and dates here.

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Shitfaced Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet @ Leicester Square Theatre

Developed by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Original Direction and adaption- Lewis Ironside
Director and Lead Producer- Stacey Norris

23rd June- 1st September- Leicester Square Theatre

A Great Night out

shtfaceshakespeare-copyright-al-overdrive-700.jpgMagnificent Bastard Productions have been running shitfaced Shakespeare for eight years. The show is always a hit and a must see at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The unique idea behind Shitfaced Shakespeare is that one actor is outrageously drunk. The other four or five actors are all completely sober and have to stumble their way through the piece. This year it was the turn of the famous love story ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

The actor who is drunk changes each night. Last night it was Juliet who was drunk which was very funny. The actress was an entertaining drunk and came across well, she was very likeable. The first half of the play was great and the audience were in hysterics. The rest of the cast are very strong, particularly Romeo who was very quick at improvisation when Juliet threw some tricky situations his way.

However, as the play went on the focus began to drift and the play got a bit hectic. I feel the company need to add something different and exciting in the second half of the play to keep the audience engaged. This performance was very funny but there were too many sexual innuendos from sober cast members which were not needed.

Shitfaced Shakespeare is a great night out and a must see for all comedy fans. I believe it would be enjoyed more by those who are not sober. So grab some drinks and a couple of mates and enjoy Shakespeare as the man himself would have wanted you too.

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GUY, Leoe&Hyde @ The Bunker

Music, Production by Stephen Hyde

Book, Lyrics by Leoe Mercer

Directed by Sam Ward

16 June – 7 July

GUY is a fun, fresh musical about friendship, love and Grindr. The music was slick, catchy computer pop – think SOPHIE and Sam Smith – and the lyrics were packed with word play and nerd references. It’s a minimalist show, with four actors, an almost empty set and a pre-recorded score but it does so much with this. Each actor displayed a polished, engaging performance – singing, dancing, deploying excellent comedic timing and dramatic chops. I couldn’t identify a stand out performer, since all four were strong talents who were a joy to watch.

It speaks to the the paucity of media by and for queer people, but it was relieving to see a story with no straight people in it. It’s not a story about homophobia or coming out or finding your identity, or even AIDS – all worthy stories to be sure, but it’s nice to see what’s essentially a gay rom-com. Which is not to say the story takes place in a queer utopia – Grindr, the story’s framing device, is famous for distilling racism, sexism and body dismorphia into the callous dismissal: “No fats, no femmes, no asians”. All these issues are identified and addressed in the show – there are shades of Cyrano De Bergerac in that so many characters feel they have to hide themselves from those they love due to perceived prejudice.

The show has the breezy positivity you want from a musical about falling in love, and the exceptional cast keep you engaged throughout an hour and a half run with very little lag. I recommend this show.

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Kiss Chase, Second Circle @ The Bunker

Written and directed by Hannah Samuels

Devised by the company 

11 June – 7 July

Kiss Chase is an interesting piece of interactive devised theatre which combines short monologues and audience participation to present varied and unique perspectives on romance and relationships.

At first glance, the theatre seems like it’s set up for an ice breaking, team building activity that corporate insists will be good for sales. It’s like speed dating, but less fraught by sexual tension. Audience are given numbered labels which correspond to a clip board that waits for them on a chair. Everyone starts the night with a partner, though we’re warned that we’ll be swapping throughout – the point is not to find true love, but just connection. There’s an emphasis, as the show progresses, on secrets: what kind are kept, and for what reasons.

Our “hosts” Ben and Ruth (well played by Topher Collins and Rayyah McCaul) are warm, if a little tense, and talk us through a series of activities designed to get you to spill your guts. There’s some kind of undercurrent between them throughout the show – not exactly romance, but something they need to talk about. Some of the guests are also playing roles – spotlighted and speaking their thoughts to the whole audience. Each of the actors were talented in their moment, and I expect fairly good at improvisation – one of my partners from early in the show turned out later to be a character, which made our conversation about our jobs both weird and impressive. Some audience members volunteered to share their own thoughts on relationships, and I would have enjoyed if this happened a little more. The show would benefit if there was more time and encouragement, because all the actual audience participation was fascinating.

There’s no particular plot or resolution to the show, which accurately reflects the real world – brief connections, half glimpsed secrets, unanswered questions.

It was an interesting, creative and fun show that felt at times a little underdeveloped.

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The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, The Elufowoju jr Ensemble @ Arcola Theatre

7 June–21 July 2018
Directed by Femi Elufowoju, jr

Text (novel) by Lola Shoneyin
Adapted for the stage by Rotimi Babatunde

Credit: Idil Sukan

I am so, so glad that I went to see this play. It was so different to everything else I’ve seen in London – like a bowl of spicy Nigerian yam after a steady diet of bland bubble and squeak. Right from the moment I joined the queue for the (sold-out) Saturday matinee session, I could sense a different atmosphere to that usually found in an off-West End theatre, and I was very conscious that for once in my life, I possessed some of the palest skin in the room. The audience seemed to be comprised of many large groups – families, groups of girlfriends, whole communities crammed into Arcola Theatre’s many-tiered seating. They were quite possibly the most responsive audience I’ve ever seen, laughing uproariously at all the jokes, drawing shocked gasps at revelations, sighing and groaning at characters’ misfortunes, and often (seemingly involuntarily) answering characters’ rhetorical yes/no questions as they soliloquised. It was a pleasure to be drawn along by their energy, which echoed and amplified that of the performers.

Not that the performers were in any way lacking in energy: in fact, they crackled with it. This ensemble troupe is comprised of ten actors, seven women and three men, and each of them plays multiple roles, sings, dances, plays instruments, performs as a chorus-like ensemble, and often sits amongst the first row of the audience, reacting along to the anecdotes and events on stage. Through them, we are introduced to the scandalous story of a household in Nigeria, and its four main characters: Baba Segi and his four wives, Iya Segi, Iya Tope, Iya Femi, and Bolanle. We get to know Baba Segi and each wife in turn, learning about their origins, trials and tribulations, and the decisions and fates which led them to this household. Once we’re all caught up with the local history, we follow the family as it investigates the mystery of youngest, most educated wife Bolanle’s seeming inability to fall pregnant.

Credit: Idil Sukan

This play is belly-achingly funny. Every actor has impeccable comic timing and is able to transform any line into a punchline through playful use of voice, body, and face. Sometimes, this propensity towards comedy can border on the uncomfortable: it is not often that heavy topics such as marital rape and what is effectively female enslavement are played for laughs. (Upon skimming though the script provided with the programme, it is worth noting that a number of relationships and sexual encounters were originally written as unpleasant or non-consensual, but were changed for the positive for the final version. I am very grateful for this!) However, perhaps disguising these topics as jokes was a way of sneaking criticism and condemnation of them into the play without moralising. Or perhaps my discomfort was simply due to my status as a cultural outsider. In any case, such moments were certainly confronting and provocative, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? I do wish, though, that the ending had provided a clearer judgement on the moral(s) of the story, as Baba Segi’s and Bolanle’s final addresses to the audience provided a strange mixture of unrepentant misogyny and enlightened feminist empowerment.

This mix of old and new, tradition and progression, superstition and science, sexual liberation and sexual oppression, form a constant motif of the play and reflects the type of isolated yet rapidly modernising community in which it is set. This divide is explored both in caricature and in nuance, and we see a sympathetic side to every character portrayed, even if they are would-be murders or abusive husbands. There is one notable exception in the form of an unnamed rapist: it is no coincidence that this is also the most Westernised character in the play, and the only one who speaks English without an African accent. This play, for all its mockery of antiquated gender roles and superstitious/religious clap-trap, thrums with pride in West African culture. Sexual courtship is portrayed through dance, grief through ululating wails, and all manner of things from celebration to mourning to everyday cheerfulness through song. The entire play thrums with rhythm, even when drums are not present on stage, and the actors never miss a beat. They don’t need any setting other than a few armchairs and occasional props (a birthday present, a sinister jar, a fetish whip, etc): the performers’ bodies form the foreground and backdrop, their simple yet vibrant costumes providing all the colour needed.

Credit: Idil Sukan

Although the entire cast was outstandingly strong, I feel it fair to say that the standout performers were Patrice Naiambana as Baba Segi and Jumoké Fashola as Iya Segi. Both wove complex characters who were sympathetic despite their chauvinism and nastiness, showing us the festering wounds which caused these defects: loss of innocence and freedom, bitterness, vulnerability, gullibility, fear, insecurity, jealousy. And despite having many of the play’s most poignant moments, these actors were also the ones most likely to have us clutching at our sides with laughter!

Look: if you don’t see this play before its run ends on July 21st, you will be sorely missing out. This is theatre with a difference, with a spirit, which will open your eyes and worldview. We need more like it, but it seems unlikely that anything of a similar style and calibre will pop up on the London theatre scene any time soon, so catch it while you can!

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Cassandra, Found in Translation @ Blue Elephant Theatre

Directed by Ollie Harrington
Written and Produced by Rose Goodbody
12th-16th June, 2018

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Photo credit: Caitlin MacNamara

Cassandra has always been one of my favourite figures in Ancient Greek myth. A prophetic priestess who spurned Apollo and was cursed forever to see tragedy before it unfolded, but never to be believed – the romance and pathos of her story is incredibly affecting. I have always felt that she was definitely the most compelling and underutilised character in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, so I strongly approve of Found in Translation Theatre Company’s decision to refocus the story on her and rename it accordingly.

 

Today, two and a half thousand years after Aeschylus wrote Agamemnon, the concept of a highly gifted woman being punished for refusing to give herself to a man is still sadly relevant in our society. Found in Translation chose a timely moment to produce this play in the wake of #metoo and #timesup, and capitalised on it with not-so-subtle allusions to modern figures (at one point, Paul Irwin’s Agamemnon announces directly to the audience “Make Mycenae great again!”). I loved the reworking of Cassandra’s backstory with Apollo: he may be a god, but his treatment of Cassandra, with all its jealousy, manipulation, and power play, is textbook abusive behaviour and all too human. Hayden Tyler’s Apollo, with his golden good looks and booming deep voice (seriously, I could barely believe at first that it wasn’t digitally augmented), stood in as the archetype of bruised masculine ego, both fearsome in his power and pathetic in his pettiness.

The play’s set design in Blue Elephant’s small space is minimal, and the empty space allowed for some wonderful stage combat/dance choreography. Hanging curtains by the sides of the stage serve both to conceal exits and also to evoke a Grecian feeling, and other than that, the only things on stage are a couple of wine goblets on a small stand, and a long red cloth which is variously and creatively used as a symbol of seduction, victory, holiness, captivity, violence, and pride (most translations of Agamemnon refer to a “purple” cloth, but since there is historical dispute over ancient names for colours, and red works better symbolically today, I think this was an excellent design choice). Costumes were mainly modern, but draped toga-like for the women characters (the Advisor and Watcher were played by women, but effectively served as sexless characters in terms of the play’s gender politics). Other than said costumes, and the Advisor’s clipboard, the play remained very firmly Ancient Greek, which is a shame – I feel that writer Rose Goodbody could have gone a step further in fully transforming this piece and placing it within a modern setting, and cutting even more of the dialogue, which tended Greek-style towards telling not showing. As it is, it sits somewhat awkwardly between being a modern translation and a true adaptation; perhaps “reinterpretation” is the best word.

As mentioned above, I have a long-standing love of Ancient Greek myth and theatre, and was already quite familiar with Agamemnon before entering the theatre last night. This was lucky, as there was a fair amount of assumed knowledge about the mythology, particularly the legend of Troy. I’m not sure if a newcomer to the genre would have followed the plot as well, or caught a number of the relatively oblique references to offstage events and characters. This is perhaps something that needs to be worked on, considering Found in Translation’s mission statement is to “produce work that promotes education in the arts and Classical subjects to those that don’t have easy access.” It’s also a shame that the piece’s complex and sensitive commentary on abusive relationship dynamics and gendered discrimination was obscured by the melodramatic treatment of the play’s plot. The King and Queen, and to a lesser extent the Advisor, were almost cartoonish villains, both in dialogue and acting. Agamemnon’s stupid smirk and Clytemnestra’s rage-filled, twitching eyes did not allow for any exploration of character complexity, and the constant use of shouting to convey anger is always exhausting for both actor and audience. Director Ollie Harrington should have spent more time with these actors, developing layers of subtlety for their characters.

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Photo credit: Caitlin MacNamara

Jade Clulee’s role as the Watcher – the only commoner in the play, and often comic relief – allowed for some more compelling characterisation, and despite some stilted dialogue Clulee managed not only to make the audience chuckle, but also to create a relatable and endearing character. I was always sad to see her leave the stage. However, the standout in this performance was, of course, its lead. Lyna Dubarry as Cassandra was absolutely captivating every moment she spent on stage, in which time she was often addressing the audience directly. She showed us Cassandra’s memories of courtship with Apollo, told stories from her time in Troy, lamented her current situation, prophesied the doom to come, and often simply mused on the helplessness of voiceless, powerless women. Despite Cassandra’s constant apathetic sorrow, Dubarry managed to create a compelling character, pitiful without being pathetic. The soft lilt of her accent (Dubarry is French-Moroccan) serves wonderfully to remind us that Cassandra is a foreigner in Mycenae, isolated from the other characters. Only the Watcher attempts to truly connect with her, in a touching scene which adds a much-needed sense of sweetness and hope to the play.

Overall, Found in Translation’s Cassandra is an ambitious play with some excellent concepts and design, and has great potential to be an engaging and relevant Classics-based text for a modern audience. I would strongly urge the creative team to consider workshopping the dialogue and characterisations further, and to play up the script’s and cast’s strengths: giving voices to the voiceless, and showing us the flawed yet beautiful humanity which drives all tragedy.

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Machinal @ The Almedia Theatre

4th June-21 July 2018

by Sophie Treadwell

Directed by Natalie Abrahami

One of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time. 

Love!- What does it amount to! Will it clothe you? Will it feed you? Will it pay the bills?”

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Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play ‘Machinal’ is set in modern day New York City and at times it is scarily relevant to the climate today. The directorial decision to set this play in the modern world makes for a very interesting and eye-opening evening.

Machinal is inspired by the true story of Ruth Snyder who was executed for murdering her abusive husband. The play is spilt into nine episodes which each give a different insight into the main character’s life e.g business, home and family life. These short bursts of action are intimate and explosive making the play very gripping throughout the entire piece.

The performances by the whole company are very captivating. The ensemble represent a machine in several scenes which is done flawlessly. The leads Emily Berrington and Jonathon Livingston are both excellent. There were times I felt hate for Jones (played by Jonathon Livingston) and both empathy and fear for Emily Berrington’s character. The characters are fascinating and it was very easy for me to connect with them.

The set design by Miriam Buether is stunning. A cleverly placed mirror gives another view of the stage which I found myself watching at times and this portrayed some beautiful imagery.

Every aspect of the theatre process comes together beautifully in this play and the whole piece feels like a machine, which perfectly represents life in a busy city. Emily Berrington’s portrayal of the main character leaves the audience to decide whether they believe she is a victim of circumstance and abuse or a mentally ill person. The eerie play finished on the line of ‘I will not submit’ which feels like a woman rebelling.

I would thoroughly recommend seeing this play for its interesting portrayal of the 1928 feminist play and the incredible set design.

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A Fortunate Man, New Perspective @ Camden People’s Theatre

Written and directed by Michael Pinchbeck

Thursday 14th June- Saturday 16th June- Camden People’s Theatre

Friday 22nd June- The Pound Arts Centre

Sunday 24th June- Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre, Boston, Lincolnshire

Wednesday 1st August- Sunday 26th August- Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

An intellectual look into a Country Doctor’s life

A Fortunate Man Matthew Brown credit Julian Hughes

New Perspectives Theatre Company have developed this play based on the book ‘A Fortunate Man’ by John Berger. The play follows the story of the day-to-day life of a country doctor, John Sassell. John Berger and Swiss photographer Jean Mohr created this book which is still widely read by medical professionals. Sadly, the doctor John Sassell killed himself after the book was published. The play also explores the doctor’s personal life and his mental heath.

The storyline of this play is interesting and the script is very good, some lines are direct quotes from John Berger’s book, and the quotes are very touching. However, it did feel like the audience were given a lot of information at once which made it hard to connect. The information was delivered through a microphone and read as if we were attending a conference. This style was clever but I feel the play would be more engaging if there had been more action on stage.

Both actors Matthew Brown and Hayley Doherty are strong and have a fantastic and energetic relationship on stage together. The performers and storyline make it easy for the audience to empathise with the doctor and also to feel involved in the community in which he lived in.

The set was quite plain and simple which worked nicely and fitted the piece. There are projections of both the life of Sassell but also of the NHS today. These pictures were interesting but the current ones of the NHS didn’t have much effect on the audience.

A very interesting play and an important story to be told.

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