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Review of Flash Festival: eLLite Theatre - Stay at the Looking Glass Theatre

Stay from Leanne Dallman and Lydia Rose Blagg opens with a vast whoosh of activity that on the face of it looks chaotic and disorganised. However no number of strategically placed cards such as the opening few minutes used could ever be disorganised. This has obviously been planned to perfection as one incorrectly picked up card could be most embarrassing. It is an opening of such high energy second only to The Zugzwangs that leaves the audience tired never mind the performers.

This play is all about people who are hybristophiliacs. No me neither. Like I say Flash has offered much education through its shows. A hybristophiliac as I now know is in the most basic sense a woman turned on by violence perpetrated by another. The way Stay explores this is through woman and their emotional connection and sometimes even marriage to men on death row, via the unusually amusing Conjugal Connections website. This is depicted in fifties style pre-recorded adverts with glorious voice overs.

Through the often very physical performance we had a lot of the movement sequences, the beating and rubbing of chest movement, which if I remember correctly was featured in The Odyssey. This provided my only bugbear of the play, as although it was excellent and powerfully performed, I did feel there might have been a touch too much of it during the show.

What I did have absolute regard of though was the strong and totally horrifying sequence featuring Lydia with mask on torturing from afar Leanne's character. This with the perfectly selected music was a creepy, strange and totally vile sequence to view and was the moment of the play for me. The two performers are both excellent and compliment each other well, although Lydia did seem to have the bulk of the material during the piece and had some mighty fine quality accents going on.

A weirdly atmospheric piece of theatre exploring one of the most strange of human disorders, which apparently is also called the Bonnie & Clyde syndrome, and which educates the audience in a vivid and absorbing way.




The Flash Festival 2015 is all over! It ran between 18th-23rd May, 2015 at four venues across the town. Details can be found at http://ftfevents.wix.com/flashtheatre2015, while tickets cannot now be booked via the Royal & Derngate. Details at: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Other/FlashFestival15

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