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Tuesday, 1 June 2021

REVIEW: Touching the Void at the Bristol Old Vic (Online)

Having seen Touching the Void at the Duke of York Theatre in November 2019, I was intrigued by how it would translate to the small screen in Bristol Old Vic’s live broadcast from their stage with a live vision mix and an audience in the 250-year-old Theatre. Director Tom Morris introduced the show and welcomed viewers from across the world and warned if anything goes wrong, they intended to stop the show in what he called an “experimental and exciting” evening. He should have had no such fears as the show works well on screen, indeed the second half is actually improved by the capture through multiple cameras.

It is curious that a story can be so dramatic when we already know the outcome going into the show. This is a tale of epic real-life human endeavour in a life-or-death situation as a climber, Joe Simpson, desperately attempts to survive on the remote Siula Grande mountain in the Andes with a minimum of supplies and a broken leg. It has already been a book and a film (2003), so it presents Director Tom Morris with a challenge to keep us gripped and engaged. There are plenty of very creative and imaginative ideas and designer Ti Green brings the tale to life and enables the explanation of the motivation for climbing Alpine style to be illustrated and dramatic in a clever theatrical way.

Monday, 30 October 2017

REVIEW: People, Places and Things at Bristol Old Vic

People, Places and things, the highly acclaimed play by Duncan Macmillan is now on tour around the leading University cities at the same time as the original cast open on Broadway. It is a very modern play dealing as it does with mental health , alcoholism and drug addiction and the need to avoid the people, places and things that trigger that addiction. It is not comfortable viewing but the overall sense at the end is admiration for the central performance of Lisa Dwyer Hogg and the slick production and direction of Jeremy Herrin.

Lisa Dwyer Hogg plays Emma (or Nina or Sarah) the actress who following an on stage breakdown checks into a clinic for addiction therapy. At times we can't tell if she is acting, lying, or telling the truth and it demands a full on intense performance being on stage throughout the production . It must be exhausting to play and though we never like the character we can't take our eyes off her as she painfully reveals her inner most thoughts. 
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