Taking inspiration from the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, HOME Manchester present Andrew Upton’s beautifully touching translation of Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya.
The shapeshifting Kathryn Hunter plays each character with such spirited passion and vigour, with no crossover in between, each character is a personality in their own right. Her voices and mannerisms bring the characters to life in an inspiring and vast performance, transforming herself completely.
Based on the book by Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński tells the story of the downfall of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. This production directed by Walter Meierjohann is creative, passionate and intense.
It has been an exciting year for Upstaged Manchester and I feel blessed and nostalgic as I remember the productions that have lifted my heart, helped me to question and generally captivated me this year. Here is a list of my theatrical highlights for 2015.
There are not many performers who could accomplish what Kathryn Hunter has achieved in this version of Kafka’s A Report to The Academy, interpreted for the stage by Colin Teevan and masterfully directed by Walter Meierjohann – her transformation to a monkey is beyond physically impressive. Hunter is wholly mesmerising throughout the performance- from the top of her jaunty bowler hat right down to the tips of her crooked fingers when she extends her hand to greet. She holds a command over the language and projects it with a rich and expressive tone of voice and incredible physicality. From the moment that we first see her shuffle across the stage, her body depicts a bewildered beast trapped halfway between ape and human. Hunter performs with wit and precision – furrowing her brow, her arms swinging and contorting uncomfortably and her loping gait – every sinew of her body works to create an entity trapped between the two different states of being. Startled by the world, she exhales heavily through her nostrils admitting that questioning freedom “leads to the most profound disillusionment”.
Manchester’s newest arts centre HOME thrust open its doors for its official HOMEwarming celebration last week. Following the merger between the Manchester’s Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company, the first theatre production at the new venue is perhaps a fitting fusion of old and new.