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Showing posts with label sally cookson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sally cookson. Show all posts
Thursday, 28 September 2017

Jane Eyre, National Theatre | Review

Jane Eyre, National Theatre | Review
Thursday, 28 September 2017
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Jane Eyre
Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 27th September 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

The National Theatre are outstanding at championing new, innovative work and thinking outside the box to bring audiences spectacular shows, something which they have once again succeeded at with this Sally Cookson's production of Jane Eyre. In Bristol, the tale was split into two parts but artistic director Rufus Norris has wisely squeezed the action into one performance.

I'm sure I'm not alone in having gruelling flashbacks to A-level English literature when I hear Brontë's novel mentioned, and what's lovely about this adaptation, thanks to the minimal sets, is that it allows the audience to create the world of Jane Eyre with their imagination as they would do when reading the book. The set is extremely modernistic in it's simplistic design with no grand structures to show the various momentous locations in Jane's life but instead using wooden platforms, metal structures and ladders as a framework for the action. The use of lighting is particularly impressive with white cloth backdrop that surrounds the stage being changed to different colours to show the various moods. The shocking red room is especially effective.

What struck me about this production is not only how modern it is in terms of aesthetics but how contemporary the character of Jane herself is. She's feisty with strong morals and a real feminist side. Although having seen her as ahead of her time when I read the novel, I'd never realised how truly relatable she is until watching this production. Her quest for freedom whilst not compromising her passions is joyous to watch.

The strong use of physical theatre added an intensity to the piece, as well as flow, especially in the running transitions during Jane's travels. The varying motion from smooth lyrical to frenzied, perfectly mirrored the changes in Jane's physical and metal health throughout. Another particularly interesting aspect was members of the ensemble speaking Jane's thought's aloud. This was humourous at times but also a very clever way of developing the character more without her having to tell the audience anything directly.

The trio of onstage musicians added a whole other layer with a number of musical styles accompanying crucial moments and transitions. Melanie Marshall was absolutely fantastic both physically and vocally; singing atmospheric pieces to fit with other characters or her own, Bertha. Her voice is strong and angelic whilst having a menacing and painful side. Her rendition of Crazy was notably unexpected but brilliant and perfectly woven into the story.

As Jane, Nadia Clifford exceptionally plays the fiery 10 year old girl who transitions into a headstrong but more rational woman. Clifford perfectly shows Jane's unyielding side but also her pain and love for Rochester. Tim Delap is suitably brooding as Rochester but adds a depth and awkwardness which makes him charming and attractive.

The entire ensemble are faultless but I must give a special mention firstly, to Paul Mundell who is hilarious as Pilot, adding some welcome humour. And secondly to Hannah Bristow who perfectly and distinctly plays Adele, Helen, Grace Poole and others.

This is a somewhat lengthy (3 hours and 15 minutes) play, but a striking production of a classic. The start is slightly slow but as we get into the action the momentum speeds up and we really get to see is the power of one of the first literary modern women.
Monday, 12 June 2017

La Strada, The Other Palace | Review

La Strada, The Other Palace | Review
Monday, 12 June 2017
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La Strada
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Thursday June 1st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

La Strada is definitely the musical which I have been most pleasantly surprised by so far this year. I am a fan of going into shows without looking them up first and I went into The Other Palace with no idea what to expect; thinking I was going to see a cabaret, vaudeville like circus show but that was absolutely not the case. Based on Federico Fellini's 1957 Oscar winning performance,  La Strada tells the story of the young and naive Gelsomina who is sold by her mother to become the assistant to the touring gypsy, Zampanò: the "Strong Man". Her sister previously went to work for Zampanò and never returned so Gelsomina is struck with fear but fights and stays strong so she can send money back to her mother. This is ultimately the story of a young girl being taken advantage of purely because she doesn't know any better and because her circumstances don't allow her to escape.

The musicians play onstage in this piece and really bring it to life. A particular favourite moment was when everyone started clicking their fingers until the sound became overpowering and turned into raindrops. Each dramatic moment is heightened and an extremely visceral performance is created. This is helped along by Cameron Carver's brilliant movement which is extremely tight but looks natural and free. Flowing beautifully through moments and embodying each element that's being shown.

With credits including the National Theatre's Peter Pan, director Sally Cookson is know for her innovative, unique storytelling and has captured the themes and harshness of this story in a brilliantly imaginative way.

Finding herself trapped in Zampanò's world, wanting to escape but needing to make her mother proud we see the external and internal struggles of Gelsomina who is played so beautifully by Audrey Brisson. Capturing both her innocence and playfulness through the witty dialogue and  wide-eyed movements, Gelsomina becomes a character the audience grow to love and become extremely attached to. This is a wonderful contrast to the cruel, harsh portrayal of Zampanò by Stuart Goodwin. Although we see moments of kindness, these are rare and it is the overall menacing anger which fills the stage whenever the strong man is around.

Part way through, they meet, Il Matto (The Fool) played by Bart Soroczynski who acts as a friend and guide for Gelsomina who heartbreakingly confides in him that there isn't any point her being alive because she is good for nothing. Il Matto brings light and warmth to the story, with a carefree attitude and light movement, he is played wonderfully by Soroczynski.

La Strada is a masterclass in storytelling and Cookson has created a faultless production which draws the audience in and takes them along the road which Gelsomina and Zampanò travel along. The piece is fresh and engaging and the constant movement makes it feel alive, it's truly compelling to watch and I would highly urge you to see it.

La Strada runs at The Other Palace until July 8th.

Book tickets for La Strada or any other show with TodayTix and receive £10 off with my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/
Saturday, 3 December 2016

Peter Pan, National Theatre | Review

Peter Pan, National Theatre | Review
Saturday, 3 December 2016
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Peter Pan is an imaginative production, brimming with life and enthusiasm... Sure to thrill every audience member who witnesses it!


Peter Pan
The Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 2nd December 2016 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★
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