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‘Just don’t expect your journey to be a comfortable one’: THE CONTAINER – Young Vic / Digital Theatre (Online review)

In Immersive Theatre, London theatre, Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

Site specific theatre hasn’t been easy over the last eighteen months – in fact you can take out the first two words of that statement. It’s been tricky enough getting regular venues open, let alone some of the more esoteric settings which were used before you know what kicked off. A production that it would probably be almost impossible to revive now is Clare Bayley’s The Container which happened at the Young Vic in 2009. Set in an actual shipping container near to the theatre it allowed for just 28 audience members each time crammed onto uncomfortable benches around the perimeter with a narrow central strip for the 6 performers to use. 34 bodies in close proximity packed into a metal box with no sense of social distancing and not a mask to be seen; even Covid deniers might baulk.

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‘A mesmeric 45 minutes about humanity’: MEET ME AT THE EDGE (Online review)

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And so, to a piece which has long been on my “to see” list but which has kept getting bumped as a whole host of other stuff claimed my attention. As Meet Me At The Edge is a filmed account of an initially intended theatrical piece there hasn’t been quite the urgency that some other titles have had. And now that summer has finally arrived (in mid-September!) it seems like an ideal time to be visiting Cornwall for this meditative and reflective piece which dwells on the twin themes of isolation and connectedness.

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‘A vivid snapshot’: THE COVID-19 TRILOGY (Online review)

In Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

It was just about a month ago that I observed that considering the dominant story of all our lives for the last 18 months has been the pandemic, there haven’t really been all that many direct responses to it in the form of theatre pieces. A new addition to the Scenesaver platform looks to rectify that particular shortfall with three monologues about individual experiences and response. Called starkly The Covid-19 Trilogy it comes from Elysium Theatre Company which is based in Durham. During the pandemic they released two sets of five monologues and the three pieces in this set are taken from these. Presumably they are a “best of” collection to whet the appetite; the rest are available on the company’s You Tube channel

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‘A highly visual show’: FLUX – DIGITAL (Online review)

In Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

Although I’d still give a best company name prize to recent Edinburgh appearees (??!) Expial Atrocious, running them a close second is Smoking Apples – though I’d be hard pressed to identify why. The group have been around for about ten years and have carved out a definite niche for themselves by making use of puppetry and developing a particular visual style in order to explore issue led topics. Their 2018 show to celebrate the anniversary of women’s suffrage has continued to develop and was taken on tour backed by the Institute of Physics as a way of encouraging teenage girls to go into STEM based careers (science/technology/maths). In its latest iteration it has become a filmed record called Flux – Digital.

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‘Gentle, life-affirming production’: Around The World In 80 Days – Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds (Online review)

In Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Regional theatre, Reviews by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

Around The World In 80 Days is best known for the iconic 1956 David Niven film rather than the original novel by the prolific French writer Jules Verne; this version seeks to restore the original storyline to the centre of the narrative but does so with one playful eye on the theatrical possibilities where much is left to the audience’s imagination.

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‘Thoroughly gruesome but mesmerising’: UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review)

In Edinburgh Festival, Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

The real life figure of Ed Gein looms large in horror films and literature. Most famously he was the direct inspiration for Norman Bates in Psycho and his terrible influence can also be found haunting The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence Of the Lambs. But I’m not sure his real story has been told quite so directly as it is in Under The Floorboards which played live at the Edinburgh Fringe and has now emerged as an online performance film at this year’s Festival.

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‘Taking off in an unexpected direction’: The Little Glass Slipper As Performed By The Queen of France & Her Friends / Metamorphosis – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review)

In Edinburgh Festival, Features, Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

Two well known tales with a twist: The Little Glass Slipper As Performed By The Queen of France And Her Friends and Metamorphosis. The second piece now tops my personal Edinburgh Fringe online chart.

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‘Bolstered by some good renditions of songs of the era’: The Girl Who Jumped Off The Hollywood Sign / My House – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review)

In Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

I set off for Hollywood, California via Edinburgh, Scotland and Adelaide, Australia. No, I haven’t finally lost it, this was my online trip in both time and place courtesy of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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‘Two ecology conscious plays’: Tree Confessions/We’ll Dance On The Ash Of The Apocalypse – Camden Fringe (Online review)

In Features, London theatre, Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by John ChapmanLeave a Comment

Though the big guns which are at the Edinburgh Fringe have now been rolled out, it’s taking some time to pin down what to aim for there. Meanwhile its somewhat smaller sibling is continuing in Camden and so I thought I would take a break from Edinburgh brochure browsing and pick up on a couple of shows from a Festival which is much nearer geographically and boasts some interesting online content. My choices narrowed down to a pair of performances which took ecology as one of their central themes.