Reviews by Jake Harrison

The Odyssey | The Paper Cinema

April 2014 | BAC, London

The Paper Cinema impresses its audiences with quirky illustrations and an original live score in this atmospheric and charming adaptation of the classic story.

Their Odyssey is a great example for the use of projectors and live feed cameras in a theatre, starting with the prologue in which the protagonist is drawn before us. Scenes float across the screen, soft illustrations that are sufficiently expressive yet light-hearted and poetic. As a fan of both silent film and graphic novels, I found this miniature theatre made for great storytelling. Part of the fun is the exposure of the performers constructing the images, using their makeshift props and rotating backdrops; a small arrow flies through the trees and slays a boar, Penelope’s suitors hound her as wolves, encircling her home, a motorbike speeds through the night as part of several montages including extensive travels and changing weather. The animators manage to create life from these static images by carefully manipulating the audience perspective, creating a sense of perpetual movement and rhythm in order to focus attention on particular minute details.

Opus | Circa / Debussy String Quartet

February 2014 | Barbican Theatre, London

Circa recently performed to sell-out audiences with How Like an Angel at St Bartholomew-the-great with British ensemble I Fagiolini, combining impressive physical feats and harmonies from medieval repertoires. This time round they bring circus improvisation, tumbling and acrobatics with three of Shostakovich’s string quartets. Since they’ve already established that classical music makes a good soundtrack for contemporary circus, in what ways have they developed this style of collaboration? The acrobatics are slick and always surprising, making use of every opportunity and space to pull off impressive moves. The performers begin with small improvisations creating meetings and playing with each other. Then there is a solo aerial demonstration which, although technically very good, made one hope that the show wouldn’t be structured completely in this manner; lists of circus styles is for the traditional environment.

Shakespeare’s Henry V | Guildhall School Acting Course

February 2014 | Milton Court Studio Theatre

The disadvantages to seeing a show primarily aimed at showcasing new talent to agents and families is that often you get an overly confident or imposed performance from its actors. Everything is aimed to convincing that they can act rather than delivering the required role of character/ensemble sensitively. On the other hand these showcases are often far more interesting because there is an atmosphere that is exciting as they are taking the opportunity to be noticed, creating good energy and demonstrating what they have learnt intensively over the last few years. For these performers the stakes are already high; a good footing when presenting Shakespeare. Here both points are prevalent: implying a general success in solid Drama school training while not without faults in design and ensemble discipline.

Jack Charles V the Crown | Ilbijerri Theatre Co.

February, 2014 | Barbican Pit Theater

Jack Charles’ new project follows a seven-year long documentary [Bastardy, 2009] of his life as an aboriginal child; institutionalised within child care and the ‘Victorian’ prison system, as an actor, activist and drug addict of forty years. The play, which could be treated as an extension or aftermath of the documentary’s release has Jack Charles scrutinising his remarkable life, alluding to his crimes, struggles and sexual disposition with comment and reflection using real props, live music and multimedia in the form of projected film and official police documents.