These posts are gradually getting later and later in the week… I’ll try and get back on track for next week, but in the meantime here’s the round-up of the last hectic few days.
I was interested to see this adaptation of the classic Spanish play, having studied the text at A-Level (and then again at uni) but never seen it performed. The enjoyable production by Dreamcatcher Theatre at the Bread and Roses has all the drama and tragedy that I remember; it’s the tale of a doomed wedding, and its characters really don’t stand a chance from the start. The play was first performed in the 1930s and contains some pretty old school views on various issues, particularly gender roles, but it’s also strangely relevant at times to the world we live in today.
The Backward Fall
Part of the Camden Fringe, this play about two sisters packing up their childhood home after the loss of their mother to Alzheimer’s packs quite an emotional punch. The strained relationship between the sisters is convincing and well portrayed, and the play makes a powerful point about the ongoing impact of this life-changing condition, not just for the sufferer but for those around them as well. The Backward Fall, by Penny Productions, is based on stories, research and interviews with real people affected by Alzheimer’s, which only increases its power for the audience.
So much brilliance I don’t know where to start. Consolation, by Théâtre Volière, is funny, devastating and educational all at once. The unlikely friendship of a middle-aged woman who thinks she was a Cathar heretic in a former life, and a young re-enactor from the local visitors centre takes us on an emotional journey that spans several hundred years, and ends with a totally unexpected but brilliant twist. The cast are incredible and the set is simple yet ingenious. There are a couple of plot details I missed, but I’d happily head back to the Bridewell Theatre and do it all again (all three hours) to make sense of them – which just goes to show how good this play is.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona / Hay Fever
Kent-based Changeling Theatre never disappoint; this year we enjoyed a double bill of Shakespeare and Noël Coward at the lovely Boughton Monchelsea Place. Changeling interpretations, directed by Rob Forknall, are always mischievous and full of humour, with a brilliant and adaptable cast who seem to be having the time of their lives. And a ridiculously cute dog, who got the biggest cheers of the day without actually doing anything.
Spirit of the dance
A spectacular show, featuring the Irish dancing made famous by the better-known Riverdance, but also including other dance styles too – flamenco, tap, ballet, and even a bit of the Highland Fling – Spirit of the Dance is colourful, energetic and entertaining. Besides the cast of eighteen dancers, this show at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford also welcomed special guests the Three Irish Tenors, who – while slightly detached from the rest of the show – get the audience singing along to a few crowd-pleasing classics while the dancers have a well-earned break.
Next week’s theatre
Twelfth Night (Oddsocks) – Castle Cornet, Guernsey