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.
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.
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.
20th June, 2013 - Ongoing | 'Temple Studios' 31 London Street
Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man builds on the company’s reputation for brilliantly detailed large scale installation / site-intervention performances. The installation work is incredible, and worth seeing regardless of what the performers do with it.
The audience are given masks and immersed in a movie studio world of almost-American performers, fulfilling the expected tropes of the genre. It is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and one that most of the audience seems accustomed to, rushing around after the performers, the more Punchdrunk-savvy crowding around and taking every opportunity to attempt to interact with them. This begins to grate after a while, and I found it a more rewarding experience to give up on trying to follow the performers (or the plot such as there is), and explore the installation work away from the crowds.