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Jo Tomalin

Jo Tomalin
Dance & Theatre

Robert Wilson’s The Old Woman with Baryshnikov & Dafoe

By Jo Tomalin
above: THE OLD WOMAN Pictured: (r) Mikhail Baryshnikov and (l) Willem Dafoe star in Robert Wilson’s The Old Woman, Friday & Saturday, November 21 & 22, 2014 and Sunday, November 23, 2014 in Zellerbach Hall.  PHOTOS: Courtesy of Cal Performances

Review by Jo Tomalin

Breathtaking Abstract Theatre

THE OLD WOMAN Pictured: (r) Mikhail Baryshnikov and (l) Willem Dafoe star in Robert Wilson’s The Old Woman, Friday & Saturday, November 21 & 22, 2014 and Sunday, November 23, 2014 in Zellerbach Hall.  PHOTOS: Courtesy of Cal Performances

The collaboration of three extraordinary creative artists – Robert Wilson, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe offers a breathtakingly precise and visually stunning evening of absurdist theatre. Based on the 1930s political novella by Daniil Kharm and adapted by Darryl Pinckney, The Old Woman is a black comedy about a disillusioned writer and a visitor – playing November 21 – 23, 2014 in Zellerbach Hall through Cal Performances.

THE OLD WOMAN Pictured: (r) Mikhail Baryshnikov and (l) Willem Dafoe star in Robert Wilson’s The Old Woman (PHOTOS: Courtesy of Cal Performances)

Brilliantly conceived and Directed by Robert Wilson, the renowned experimental theatre director who brought his acclaimed Einstein on the Beach to Cal Performances in 2012, this visually sensory production sweeps the audience up on an evocative wave of stark, rich, geometric, melodic, abstract – yet always fascinating – encounters, superbly performed by legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov and stage and screen actor Willem Dafoe. There’s never a dull moment as Baryshnikov and Dafoe expertly interact together, with snappy dialogue, precise movement and emotive monologues taking the audience on a journey – somewhere!

THE OLD WOMAN Pictured: (r) Mikhail Baryshnikov and (l) Willem Dafoe star in Robert Wilson’s The Old Woman in Zellerbach Hall.  (PHOTOS: Courtesy of Cal Performances)

Baryshnikov and Dafoe seem like magicians at first, mysterious with only their faces lit against a black stage. Both are dressed in identical debonair black suits and white dress shirts (Costume Design by Jacques Reynaud), full white face clown makeup (Makeup by Marielle Loubet and Natalia Leniartek), and dark gray hair. Each is distinguished by a large curved quiff of hair (curving up to Baryshnikov’s left who wears a black tie, and curving up to Dafoe’s right who wears a black bow tie), appearing next to each other each is half of a whole. In fact, they complete eachother’s sentences, repeat eachother’s text and movements with strange reactions all underscored by an eclectic range of ethereal to jazzy music including selections by Tom Waits and Arvo Pärt (Music by Hal Willner) or dramatic sounds (Sound Design by Marco Olivieri).

THE OLD WOMAN Pictured: Mikhail Baryshnikov in Robert Wilson’s The Old Woman in Zellerbach Hall.  (PHOTOS: Courtesy of Cal Performances)

There’s humor in this piece, too, with a charming touch of vaudeville, eccentric dancing, switching characterizations, playing female characters, Baryshnikov’s singing, all evoking a sweet genteel spirit in their idiosyncratic universe.

Undoubtedly the set and lighting are as astonishing as the two performers in this piece with bold quirky Set Design and an exquisite Lighting Concept by Robert Wilson with Light Design by A.J. Weissbard.

THE OLD WOMAN Pictured: Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe star in Robert Wilson’s The Old Woman in Zellerbach Hall.  (PHOTOS: Courtesy of Cal Performances)

I wonder how long we will wait until another production comes along that is so remarkable. If you missed it, try to find it – it’s well worth it!

More Information:


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Delicate Particle Logic: Indra’s Net Theater, Berkeley

By Jo Tomalin
above: Teressa Byrne (Foss) as Lise Meitner – Photo by John Feld

Teressa Byrne (Foss) as Lise Meitner (l) Janet Keller as Edith Hahn (r)
Photo by John Feld

Provocative Delicate Particle Logic

World Premiere of Delicate Particle Logic by Jennifer Blackmer, directed by Bruce Coughran, presented by Indra’s Net Theater, is a play about science based on real people and achievements – the groundbreaking work of Otto Hahn, a 1944 Nobel Prize winning chemist, Lise Meitner, one of the most brilliant physicists of the 20th century, and Edith Hahn, an artist married to Otto.

While science and the inequality of women in science is the driving force of this story, the underlying themes of each woman’s relationship to Otto – as wife and colleague – and Blackmer’s inventive unfolding friendship of both women late in life bubble to the surface, and become the most intriguing part.

Set in Edith’s Room in Berlin, soon after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Professor Lise Meitner (Teressa Byrne) visits Edith (Janet Keller) and proclaims “Wasn’t the Nobel Prize enough to resurrect German science?” highlighting the importance of politics and international zeal to lead the world. From this moment a series of flashback scenes and returns to Edith’s Room recreate memories and interpretations of Otto Hahn’s life (Michael Kern Cassidy), working with Meitner, and his marriage to Edith.

This captivating memory play covers a lot of ideas and events – not least splitting the atom, the role of women in marriage, society and science, and abstract expressionism. Byrne and Keller are an outstanding duo in their scenes and carry Blackmer’s intriguing story forward into emotional and thought provoking terrain. In one scene, Meitner is curious about motherhood when meeting Edith’s new born son as much as Edith is curious about her work with atoms and ‘the bomb’.

Meitner is a fascinating multi-dimensional character. Byrne is a revelation throughout the play and especially outstanding as she works excitedly through her calculations resulting in splitting the Uranium nucleus. Her huge achievement and the strength she found in this moment is even more poignant when Byrne cradles her joy in her arms, like a baby.

Keller’s Edith is strong, vulnerable and very curious, with emotions ranging from remotenesss to fierce bitterness, compellingly drawn by Keller’s earthy believability. Trusting and mistrusting – she has a tormented mind with the capacity to beautifully weave together ideas from science, art and humanity, through her memory, impressions and illusions.

Michael Cassidy as Otto Hahn (l) and Darek Burkowski (r) as Colleague
Photo by John Feld

Cassidy’s Otto Hahn is suitably formal in demeanor as he builds his successful career and socializes with eminent colleagues. Yet Cassidy also shows an empathetic side – in different measures to Meitner and Edith – of a tightly drawn man dedicated to science. Jeff Garrett and Derek Burkowski deftly play five different characters each, with an accent or two that could be firmer.

Coughran employs slick transitions, imaginative use of space and an attractive, minimal set, consisting of six large paintings in gray, beige and white tones and three chairs (Set Design by Lili Smith), to move this story forward through several different locations. Effective Lighting Design by Beth Hersh includes exquisite narrow focus on abstract moments of the play. The Costume Design of the time period by Beckie Pelkey and Sound Design by Scott Alexander support the production well.

A lobby display provides a detailed timeline of important international scientists and physicists, information about nuclear fission, Kandinsky and abstract expressionism – and even an actual electroscope, similar to the one that Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner used to measure radioactivity!

Indra’s Web Theater successfully takes the audience on a meaningful journey of discovery through an important scientific achievement and time that is surprising in its emotional depth and impact. Bravo!

More Information:


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author

By Jo Tomalin
above – Théâtre De La Ville, Six Characters in Search of an Author (Photo credit: Michel Chassat)

Review by Jo Tomalin
ForAllEvents.com

Théâtre De La Ville, Six Characters in Search of an Author
(Photo Courtesy of Cal Performances)

Evocative Production of “Six Characters…

Cal Performances presented Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello, performed by Théâtre de la Ville, the renowned repertory company from Paris, November 7 – 8, 2014. Théâtre de la Ville brought their highly successful production of Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” to Cal Performances in 2012.

Directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota with a sublimely taut mise en scène, Pirandello’s groundbreaking play, Six Characters in Search of an Author, which premiered in 1921, is a delicious crossover of characters in a play within a play…or is it reality?

This riveting fast moving just under two-hour production (no intermission), in French with English surtitles begins with a realistic company of actors and assorted technicians onstage rehearsing a play.  The text here is spare, the actors speak French very clearly and there is a lot of interesting physical action, which draws us into the production immediately.

The stage is full of bold theatrical visuals, such as a hanging ledge with painters painting clouds on a screen, a seamstress working at an industrial sewing machine, additional furniture and clutter found at theatre rehearsals plus a director’s table and chair downstage very close to the audience. As the play develops, the ‘rehearsal’ is interrupted by the arrival of an intense family of six characters, seemingly out of nowhere.

A large cast of fifteen highly skilled actors plays the ever demonstrative theatre director (Alain Libolt), theatre technicians (Gérald Maillet, Pascal Vuillemot, Jauris Casanova), actors from the original play the company is rehearsing (Charles-Roger Bour, Sandra Faure, Olivier Le Borgne, Gaëlle Guillou), and the family of six intense characters seeking an author for their own painful real-life story (Hugues Quester, Valérie Dashwood, Sarah Karbasnikoff, Stéphane Krähenbühl, Walter N’guyen, Anna Spycher, and Céline Carrère).

While the family of six characters passionately wants to tell the theatre Director and actors their story, they insist on acting it out themselves, because…well, who else can play their own characters effectively? Certainly not actors…and herein lies the core of this fascinating story.

The stage is completely transformed several times through very creative formations that become beautiful, dramatic, illusory and stark, with Set and Lighting Design by Yves Collet. Wonderfully evocative music and sound effects by Jefferson Lenbeye support the production, which has a cinematic quality at times.

This outstanding production effortlessly journeys through elements of comedic, absurdist, bawdy grotesque Grand Guignol, macabre, philosophical and thought provoking theatre brilliantly led by director Demarcy-Mota. At times there are longer speeches which makes reading the surtitles and following what’s on the stage at the same time, for non French speakers, an adventure. However, it’s all very worthwhile – and the questions in Pirandello’s piece may provoke for some time after, a wonderful aspect of theatre!

More Information:


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Review Journal

Sasha Waltz & Guests in Impromptus (Photo credit: Sebastian Bolesch)

Sacha Waltz: Impromptus

By Jo Tomalin
above: Sasha Waltz & Guests in Impromptus (Photo credit: Sebastian Bolesch)

Review by Jo Tomalin

Sasha Waltz & Guests in Impromptus (Photo credit: Sebastian Bolesch)

Cal Performances presented Impromptus by the Berlin based company, Sacha Waltz & Guests at Zellerbach Hall October 24 and 25, 2014

Very well known in Europe as an innovative and avant-garde choreographer, Sacha Waltz’s Impromptus is a seventy five minute lyrical feast of abstract movement storytelling, beautifully expressed by seven dancers in their only US appearance this season.

The choreography for Impromptus by Waltz and her dancers (premiered in 2004), explores movement and emotion through Franz Schubert’s music, beautifully played live onstage by pianist Cristina Marton and mezzo-soprano Ruth Sandhof. Dancers: Xuan Shi, Niannian Zhou, Juan Cruz, Yael Schnell, Michal Mualem, Zaratiana Randrianantenaina, and Luc Dunberry.

These seven dancers perform in ever changing combinations to each of the five short melodic piano pieces, and four also accompanied by Sandhof, singing Schubert Lieders. While this may be seen as an abstract piece, fragments of a storyline expressing life, relationships, society and discord seem apparent.

Dancing, jumping and balancing on two large dramatically tilted platforms with a huge moving gold four sided wooden backdrop – a stunning design concept by Thomas Schenk and Sasha Waltz – pose challenges but result in an amazing achievement by the dancers. Staged with an exquisite lighting design by Martin Hauk, ethereal costumes in white, beige, cream, brown, black and gray, dancers enter and exit, cross, pair up and separate, energetically moving from one level to another.

Sasha Waltz & Guests in Impromptus (Photo credit: Sebastian Bolesch)

The intricate, muscular, unpredictable and often playful quality of the choreography is well expressed by Waltz’s visceral dancers’ precision of footwork and effortless line. They perform fascinating theatrical dance movement comprising pensive, Butoh slow moves and regards, exquisite partner lifts by both male and female dancers, dynamic and spritely moments, always somehow sinking into the music. Occasionally the dancers continue through silent moments without piano or song, which are very effective and add to the drama of those moments and relationships.

A highlight of this piece is the surprise metaphor when all seven dancers slow motion crawl across the stage, daubing themselves in red paint, and the ensuing scenes of resilience and moving final moments.

More Information:


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe: Spectrum by Seam Theatre

By Jo Tomalin

(above) Spectrum with Maeve Bell and Samuel Lennox  Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Review by Jo Tomalin

 Spectrum ***** (Five Stars)

image Spectrum with Samuel Lennox, Maeve Bell and Dermot Nelson Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Spectrum with Samuel Lennox, Maeve Bell and Dermot Nelson
Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Seam Theatre’s fascinating new devised play Spectrum is based on the life of Temple Grandin, a well-known American scholar, doctor and animal behaviour consultant, with autism. Maeve Bell plays Grandin from a three year old through to adult, and does it with sincerity and integrity.

Bell not only plays the lead character but she also wrote and directed the play. In the US Grandin is a leading spokesperson and activist for autism and a best-selling author, who is also on the autistic spectrum, and Bell is passionate about bringing her inspiring story to the UK, where Grandin is hardly known at all.

Bell’s script is humourous, poignant and enlightening. The play moves along snappily through short scenes with the cast doubling up playing several different characters each. The ensemble of actors speak with American accents very effectively, and Bell is so authentic in her performance that the accent blends in as part of the character beautifully – and never sounds out of place or inconsistent, as is often the case.

image Spectrum with Dermot Nelson and Samuel Lennox Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Spectrum with Dermot Nelson and Samuel Lennox
Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Actors deftly move around two tall metal shelf units that become everything and everywhere in this play.  Sound effects and music add a dimension to this show that takes us to the world of autism – with the loud zapping sounds showing Grandin’s feeling of internal sensory overload when people get near or touch her, and to the US through brief bursts of upbeat American songs during transitions, and the characters Grandin meets on her journey.

Bell has experience working with people with autism – on the spectrum – and it shows in her fine-tuned performance and in how she sensitively brought out several nuances people with autism often experience, in the play – as the actor, author, deviser and director.  When a play is moving, entertaining and enlightening it a wonderful achievement and Spectrum is all these things. Don’t miss it!

  • Location/Venue: theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36)
  • TICKETS: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/spectrum
    BOX OFFICE: 0131 510 2386
  • Performance Time: 17:15
  • Dates: Aug 19, 21, 23
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom – Scotland
  • Group: New Celts Productions and Seam Theatre Company

 


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe: L’enfant Qui…

By Jo Tomalin
L’enfant Qui…   Photo credit: Anne Baraquin

Review by Jo Tomalin
www.ForAllEvents.com

L’enfant Qui…   ***** (Five Stars)

image L'enfant Qui...   Photo by Anne Baraquin

L’enfant Qui…
Photo credit: Anne Baraquin

L’enfant Qui…  an organic and earthy theatrical circus show by Belgian company T1J is wowing audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! Live cello music sets the mood for this extraordinary visual storytelling incorporating puppetry and a fascinating form of hand balance/ acrobatics.

Built around a story based on the early life of Jephan de Villiers, a Belgian sculptor, and how he dealt with childhood illness, this may sound an unusual plot for a show, but it is beautifully told expressionistically through energetic acrobatic movement, brilliant puppetry, live music and an exciting yet poetic atmosphere.

image L'enfant Qui...   Photo by Anne Baraquin

L’enfant Qui…
Photo credit: Anne Baraquin

The cast are multi-talented and highly skilled at what they do. Entering in different combinations they perform clever versions of scenes and acts with a theatrical focus, enthralling the audience.

Wonderfully slow lighting changes add to the dramatic ambiance in this circus tent/chapiteau, which was specially made for the company.

L’enfant Qui… is a magical experience and very highly recommended.

This is one of four very interesting and entertaining shows offered by Vive le Fringe! for the Institut français d’Écosse – and it is worth seeking out this venue for these treasures of shows – plus a cosy French café, Le Bistrot which serves snacks and drinks.

Other shows at the Institut français d’Écosse:

image Colette Garrigan in Sleeping Beauty Photo credit: Cie AkselereColette Garrigan in Sleeping Beauty
Photo credit: Cie Akselere

  • Weird and Wonderful Antiquithon by Company des Femmes à Barbe (Read Review here)
  • binôme – Souris Chaos / Thibault Rossigneux & Cie les sens des mots – a witty comedy about food as catharsis.
  • Sleeping Beauty by Cie Akselere -A bold performance of a princess tale told by Artist and Puppeteer Colette Garrigan. Incorporating shadow theatre, object theatre and direct dramatic bi-lingual storytelling, Garrigan tells of an intense era in her life growing up in Liverpool.

L’enfant Qui…Performance information:
Dates | 8-24 August
Time | 6 pm
Duration | 55 minutes
Space | Chapiteau
Age Category |  14+

Location/Venue:
Institut français d’Écosse
Venue 134
13 Randolph Crescent
Edinburgh EH3 7TT

BOOK TICKETS : 0131 225 53 66

More Information:
Vive le Fringe!
http://vivelefringe.org/
Edinburgh Fringe Festival show page: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/l-enfant-qui
T1J: www.t1j.be


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe: Monologue – Chef

By Jo Tomalin

Review by Jo Tomalin
www.ForAllEvents.com

Chef – is Brilliant!

***** (5/5 stars)

Chef is a theatrical monologue written by award winning poet Sabrina Mahfouz and vibrantly performed by Jade Anouka, about an haute cuisine chef who ends up as a convicted inmate running a prison kitchen. Anouka’s chef character is elegant and passionate gushing forth with stories flowing from the heart.

Staged in the curved metal dome of Underbelly’s Big Belly theatre and well directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward, the set comprises a shiny metal kitchen table, several utensils and a whiteboard. Anouka wears a chef’s jacket, a black and white scarf on her head, and grey just below the knee length trousers.

Mahfouz’s language is poetic and the layers are fascinating as she leads us through each chapter of a cook-book about the art of cooking peppered with juicy life stories. Anouka writes several intriguing headings on the whiteboard, such as…The Perfect Peach…and Coconut Curried Tofu then tells us about different eras of her life – her philosophy of the perfect peach, her loves, distrust, hopes and dreams.

The combination of Anouka’s earnest, gutsy, alive and on point physical performance as the chef and the beautifully fluid crafting by Mahfouz makes this an outstanding performance piece. Satisfying in every way, this one-hour monologue is very entertaining and moving, going deep into a raw emotional core, captivating the audience.

Information and Tickets:

Location: Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61)
Box Office: 0844 545 8252
More Info/Tickets: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/chef
Underbelly: http://www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe: Hecat’s Poison – Powerful One Woman Show

By Jo Tomalin

Photo + image provided by Tokyo Players

Review by Jo Tomalin
www.ForAllEvents.com

Hecat’s Poison:Enter the three Witches is an exquisite well acted one woman play adapted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth from the Witches’ point of view.

S. Sato plays all the characters in a beautifully nuanced and complete production. She becomes each character with full emotion, physicality and voice while imaginatively integrating object theatre.

From Japan, she is a British trained Actor and usually performs with her company, but this is a special adaptation of the Scottish play (in English) for the Edinburgh Fringe.

Sato’s presence on stage is strong as she deftly moves through the play’s demonic characters and scenes – her movement is fluid with visceral characters and transitions. Also, there  is a hint of Japanese intensity, steely calmness and flair in her movement, elegant costumes and fascinating minimal set, which make this performance even more special.

This is a wonderful dramatic show and well worth your time.

Go to Venue 40, Victoria street, just off the Mile (at George IV Bridge) daily except Sundays 11:30am.

More info and tickets:

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/hecat-s-poison-enter-the-three-witches
http://www.venue40.org.uk

Days/Time: 4-23 August (Except Sundays) 11:30(1H)

Location: Venue 40
7 Victoria Terrace EH1 2JL
Tickets: £6( Concession £5)
Box Office: 0131 220 6109 / The Fringe Box Office


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe: “Bloom” **** Four Stars

By Jo Tomalin

(Above l to r) Robert Scobie + Abraham Parker in Bloom Photo Credit VocalPoint Theatre

Review by Jo Tomalin
www.ForAllEvents.com.

image of Bloom Abraham Parker Photo Credit VocalPoint TheatreBloom
Abraham Parker
Photo Credit VocalPoint Theatre

Moving Stories from the Glasgow Soup Kitchen

                 Four Stars ****

The Glasgow Mission Soup Kitchen is rich with characters whose lives change and experience poverty and homelessness. Robert Scobie and Abraham Parker of VocalPoint Theatre – with considerable theatre training, acting and directing experience – want to give a voice to these people, so they volunteered in this soup kitchen for a year and blend verbatim accounts of two individuals with a storytelling style to create Bloom.

Scobie and Parker first set the scene directly to the audience as themselves, showing us the layout of the soup kitchen and a quick rundown of the vital volunteers running the place, then they transition into their characters with a firm slam of the black metal chairs and change of posture, it’s simple and effective.

image of Bloom Robert Scobie Photo Credit VocalPoint TheatreBloom
Robert Scobie
Photo Credit VocalPoint Theatre

Video of green fields show on the two TV screens stacked to the left as Scobie starts his story with his character’s love of football and the European Cup Final, in his youth. Next, Parker takes over as his character tells about his life living as a child in Torrance on the Southern California coast, the video changes to a beach. You get the idea it is the calm before the storm, idyllic fields and waves on the sand – an equalizer – that everyone has an even chance before life deals what it deals.

The stories go back and forth and parallel each other chronologically, dealing with family, fathers, mothers, girlfriends, growing up, tragedy and arriving at the Soup Kitchen. However, they are contrasting characters regarding their childhood to adult years – and Scobie’s character is Scottish and walks 20 miles round trip each day to visit the soup kitchen, while Parker’s character is born in Los Angeles, moved to Ireland, Liverpool and so far, Glasgow.

image of Bloom Abraham Parker and Robert Scobie Photo Credit VocalPoint TheatreBloom
(l to r) Abraham Parker and Robert Scobie
Photo Credit VocalPoint Theatre

Scobie and Abraham are strong actors and physical storytellers, and take turns listening, telling and supporting each other on stage. Memorable moments include when Parker’s character is a teenager sneaking home to find his father questioning him – in a brilliant flash Parker becomes his own father as Scobie momentarily becomes Parker’s teenager…this theatrical ‘split screen’ and at least another subtle connection or two like it enhanced the interplay of two separate stories enormously. Genius.

The grey cement ceiling and institutional walls of this theatre space work perfectly as the soup kitchen environment, and the spare set with metal chairs and two TVs (which add the only colour) are appropriate.

During this journey we learn little things about life in the soup kitchen, like there’s a Glory Cupboard with shampoo etc. anything “to make it slightly easier to get through the next 24 hours.” There is also a women’s floor but most at the soup kitchen are men.

This is immersive theatre – like real life – and allows us to live vicariously as others for a short time, we can learn from this as well as be enlightened, entertained. It’s a fascinating show and it’s all not a downer – but shows that everyone has hopes and dreams no matter their circumstance. In short, Parker and Scobie have created a 55 minute slice of life that they are passionate about sharing and it deserves to be seen.

Location:
Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61)
56 Cowgate, EH1 1EG
Performances: at 14:40, July 31 -August 24.
Suitability:
14+ (Guideline)
Box office: 0844 545 8252


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews

Edinburgh Fringe: “Brush” from Haddangse Co. Korea

By Jo Tomalin
(above) Photo credit: Haddangse Company

Review by Jo Tomalin
www.ForAllEvents.com

Photo credit: Haddangse Company

 Charming & Magical Visual Storytelling

In this unique and eco-friendly show, the story is acted – and painted right in front of you. “Brush” uses a vibrant bilingual storytelling style in English and Korean – yet it does not need many words to understand it. The five playful and animated actors quickly make a warm rapport with the audience, through movement and drawing, which continues throughout the 55 minute show.

Photo credit: Haddangse Company

Haddangse Company Director Jun Lee took traditional Korean painting and created a modern variation with additional surprises and impressive results. The paintings on stage seem to come to life, sometimes to the surprise of the characters, which builds a compelling complicity with the audience. This is magical stuff!

Photo credit: Haddangse Company

“Brush” by Yoon Jobyung is a tale of a lonely boy called Daesung who wishes he had a brother. While his mother says ‘no’ she sends him to visit his grandmother and his best friend, Dalbong, a cute little pig, played by one of the actors. Still sad, his grandmother has a solution and sends him on a journey through the mountains.

Photo credit: Haddangse Company

These actors create characters and effects to tell the story physically and visually, accompanied by live music. In one scene, they even make a rain storm happen using large drawing paper and movement – so simple yet so effective. In another scene they need a house for the family in the story – so they paint a giant home complete with colored wall paper, it’s so imaginative that it makes you want to join in and play.

Photo credit: Haddangse Company

Experts in movement, the actors use many theatrical techniques in their performance – storytelling, puppetry, music, acrobatics, and weave them all together into a delightfully magical show. “Brush” is very well devised by Lee and the company, comprising several short scenes, which move the story forward – holding the rapt attention of even the smallest children. I went not knowing what to expect and was completely drawn in and enchanted, like everyone in the audience. You will be too.

Location:
C venues – C (Venue 34)
Chambers Street, EH1 1HR
Performances: 12 Noon, August 4-10, 12-24.
Box office: 0845 260 1234


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
www.forallevents.com  Arts & Travel Reviews