Skip to main content

Review of Flash Festival: Sidetrack Theatre - The Zugzwangs at the Looking Glass Theatre

Sidetrack Theatre's neat trick of not really having a show of more than five minutes had the impressive effect of negating any technical faults that might occur. I remain oblivious now as to how much was meant to go wrong, however it was all dealt with flair that everything other than the set collapsing could be permitted.

The Zugzwang's opening is spectacular, funny and exhausting. It also provided me with an alien body in my hot chocolate that this time wasn't a marshmallow. Balloon, party poppers, great tubes of confetti and an exhilarating physical sequence lasted: time check - five minutes tops. The chap on the front row and his watch required and demanded more despite Samantha Ahweyevu's pleas otherwise. So a team huddle later we have a show, sort of. The pretence remains throughout that this is being made up on the fly, but this is of course all a fib. You have to rehearse well for things to go this wrong.

A Zugzwang apparently is a situation where a move or choice must be made, whether it is for the best or not. and that forms the premise of the show as we see a collection of characters all facing decisions of some sort in life, be they love, career etc.

The premise of not having a show works, just. There are many moments like the litter picking karma monster which was supremely funny and an impressive sight. Then we have the most wonderful routine between Rochelle Halsall and Matt Hirst, both tender and expertly performed. A third moment of wonder comes from Samantha and her serenade of the gentlemen in the front row. Wonderfully embarrassing but so, so hilarious and played with quite a frightening air to it, sinister stares and all.

The Zugwang's is a hugely entertaining show which has moments of magic and moments of "was that meant to happen" in equal measure, but maintains interest throughout due to the shear levels of energy from all the performers. The choice is yours whether you go or not. I suggest yes.



The Flash Festival 2015 runs between 18th-23rd May, 2015 at four venues across the town. Details can be found at http://ftfevents.wix.com/flashtheatre2015, while tickets can be booked via the Royal & Derngate. Details at: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Other/FlashFestival15

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of This Evil Thing at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

This Evil Thing written and performed by Michael Mears isn't my first encounter with a play about conscientious objectors, however, it absolutely is the most detailed in its explanation of the subject. A clear and absolute labour of love from Michael Mears, and an obviously very personal thing for him, it leaves the audience pretty much in its grip for the whole of its 80 minutes.

Almost uniquely, our performer Michael Mears is in the theatre stalls upon entry, observing the arrival of the audience and indeed exchanging conversation at times. It's fascinating to see a performer not only there, but seemingly so relaxed pre-show and as he bounds on the stage at show start, this little nugget proves intriguing in itself.

Michael Mears is a captivating presence on stage, as previously experienced on the same stage in A Tale Of Two Cities and The Herbal Bed, therefore it comes as little surprise that he has a confident ability to make a one-man show work, and so well. With the use …

Review of Balm in Gilead, University of Northampton BA Acting (Creative Acting) at Maidwell Hall, Northampton

Watching the production of Balm in Gilead sees my entering the fifth year of following the University of Northampton acting students, and what theatre they have provided over the years!

Balm in Gilead is no less intriguing than anything that has gone before, written in 1965 by Lanford Wilson, you might think this would be a dated item for the young students to be performing, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Set in a cafe (transposed to England from its original American setting), it sees the lives of addicts, homeless and sex workers converge into a mixture of good but mostly bad moments.
My first time in the Maidwell Hall saw an encounter with a brilliantly realised community full of the world of the cafe and the surrounding homes, cardboard boxes and dishevelled beds. As we enter the characters of this world begin living alongside us, addressing us, begging us for money, pushing shopping trolleys around offering off the cuff exchanges with the audience and confronti…

Review of Bombshell by Contact Light Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Warning: This review contains spoilers

Whether it is an overwhelming success or mostly a failure, I have over the years grown a huge affinity for fresh new work on the stage. The need to regurgitate and rework old pieces continuously may well get easy bums on seats, but at the end of the night, it has no doubt pleased a few but it hasn't really made any future impact on theatre of the future. Presenting a new play and new work, however, who knows what it might have seeded in the years to come?

Therefore as I watched Bombshell, not only a new play, but also the first offering from a new theatre company, I was thrilled that first of all, it leaned much more towards the success line, and also that over half filling the theatre, it had also put quite a few of the bums on seats as well.

Curiously I have recently read Festen by David Eldridge, and while Bombshell goes much its own way, I felt early on, I (and perhaps others in the audience), felt I had a distinct advantage over some of …