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Sunday, 2 January 2022

REVIEW: The Little Prince at The Place, London

‘A rockpile ceases to be a rockpile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of the Cathedral.’ – The Little Prince.

A good meal is greater than the sum of its parts and in much the same way, a good show isn’t just a convergence of good aspects of production. Whilst each aspect of this show is stunning, it’s Luca Silvestrini's direction and dramaturgy, which elevates this show from good to wonderful. The cosmic concoction of Daniel Denton’s enchanting animation, Frank Moon’s gorgeous music, divine lighting by Jackie Shemesh, Yann Seabra’s touring friendly set, the choreography and script devised by the company, under Silverstrinin’s direction make for an otherworldly and moving experience. Unlike usual seasonal shows, refreshingly, this production invites the imagination to travel beyond and quite simply, it is not to be missed. I dragged my two reluctant children (10 and 11 years old) from their screens to see it and much to their dismay, they were on the edge of their seats, captivated from beginning to end.

The script, devised by the company poetically and lyrically tells Saint-Exupéry’s tale, which explores big themes such as perception, greed, art, friendship and man’s relationship to the world, through the eyes of a child, the Little Prince beguilingly played by Faith Prendergast.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

REVIEW: Unfamiliar at Home, The Place, Bedford (Online)

Dear reader, I feel it’s important you know I’m a literature student, so I can analyse things till the cows come home. Sometimes I’ll do it without meaning to… but this one? This one lost me.

Unfamiliar is the abstract telling of Victor Esses and Yorgos Petrou’s journey to becoming a family. It’s a love story first and foremost. It’s heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure, and it’s important. They ask what it means to be a family, a queer family specifically, in intimate detail, and open the door for understanding if you’ve never had to deal with internalised homophobia or a medical system that doesn’t believe you can be a family at all. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a reaching out, a hand to hold, for those who have. It’s the writing more than anything else that creates a piece that feels this significant. I would happily buy a manuscript so I could go over, and probably analyse, the beautiful, eloquent monologues that lay this story bare. 

The show being streamed live from the couple’s home made everything seem more intimate; voyeuristic, even. Almost like something I shouldn’t have been watching. This only added to the feeling of importance that the story was being told. They did incredibly well in adapting the piece for the screen, unlike many shows I’ve watched online. There were four cameras in different parts of the house, and as the pair moved between each, the dynamic shifted from the vulnerability of isolation to the sanctuary of togetherness. You could see the intricacies of domestic life and love play out in real time, which probably wouldn’t play to the same effect in a neutral theatre space. 

Monday, 1 October 2018

REVIEW: Point of Echoes at The Place

Drawing a fine line between dance and physical theatre, choreographer Ben Wright creates an accessible work, perfectly loyal to its original intent. Commissioned by the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, Warwick Arts Centre and DanceEast, Point of Echoesstems from a three-year project aimed at supporting the making and touring of contemporary dance in rural areas. 

To facilitate this purpose, Wright's evocative piece relies heavily on the use of spoken word and a relatable body language that all will find easy to read. Will Holt's design is equally adaptable, with a round wooden platform in the centre of a traverse stage, to recall the base of a lighthouse.

It's the year 1978 and Eric Valentine (Thomas Heyes) has been hired to assist Bernard Humphries (Dom Czapski) in maintaining the Echo Point lighthouse, somewhere off the coast of England. He's a simple-minded young man and his naivety clashes with Bernard's short-tempered mood and darker behaviour. After a slower first act in which we get to know the characters, the second half finally takes off and the plot offers some gripping twists and turns.
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