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A second take on No Way Back by Frantic Assembly at the The Core, Corby

I wrote my first review of No Way Back on site in the bar at the Core Theatre and it was a relatively rushed affair. This show however deserved better (or as better as I am able to write anyway). Therefore I now write again a few days after seeing the show twice, reflecting on its contents in a greater way. As it is a show of personal decisions and deep thoughts, this is perhaps appropriate. Without going into too much detail, I have to say that some of the personal material and thoughts portrayed in the stories told within this play resonated deeply with me at this time. Mid life crisis or not, there is indeed as the title tells us No Way Back.

Through a series of inter-weaved scenes, stories are told of dating issues, birth of children, an accident prone life and body image thoughts. For the audience at the Core, I doubt that there was anyone that could not relate in some way to the tales told. For those that said not, they were probably kidding themselves. This was indeed the strength of this piece from Frantic Assembly, the way that it could inhabit the brain unlike many other plays you may have seen. Yes, at the base of the show was Frantic's renowned physical performance style, however hiding between this was true life laid bare.

Whether the performers were telling us their own personal stories, or relating others in the company, These we were told life experiences of the cast members and at all times were told with power and dedication. So we had the strong tale of a young lady becoming a mother, realised through words and a powerful choreographed piece with one of the performers portraying the baby hanging in its sling. Then we had a wonderful warts and all description of a lady and her mirror made by Sally Harris, working through all the stresses of the body changing through age, but also actually being comfortable with the situation. An affinity to an elephant indeed. A line that went down spectacularly well.

Sam Gooding's tale of just being a magnet to the ladies is probably one of the funniest parts of what is often a serious show. However even when it is serious (as it should be with material covered), it always has a winning, fun edge made by the quality of the performers. As a mostly movement based show, there is at all times a tremendous amount of trust required upon one another. Many of the scenes move so quickly, especially with the fast paced scenes which involve the swinging and pushing of clothes racks, leaves elements of danger if anyone is to get things wrong. There is, despite just two and a half weeks of rehearsal and preparation, a huge level of professionalism on show during this performance.

I mentioned the magnificent Maureen Gallacher in my first review and it would be unwise not to mention the lady again as it is amazing how much of the show and performers work seems to bounce off the lady. I can only imagine how important to them she was during the preparation and during the Q&A, it was indeed hinted at. She is part of the best scenes of the production, from the scene I called her rage scene with the clever floor light through to the magnificent mirror image scene of the younger and elder confrontations. Even at the very end scene of the show, when Lisa Shepherd does her slow power walk amid the hive of activity from all the other performers, there is a touching fleeting moment between the two. It is true that you can see special in people from afar, and I think Maureen is definitely one of those people.

So a magnificent show created by a unique company with some wonderful local performers. It is fitting that Frantic Assembly made this show in their home town, however I feel that if they ever got the chance or indeed time, this would be a fromat that could truly translate to anywhere and if that ever was to happen, the audiences and indeed the performers would be in for a true heartwarming treat.


Performance reviewed: Friday 10th (evening), 2015 at The Core, Corby.

No Way Back was performed between Thursday 9th July and Friday 10th July, 2015 at The Core, Corby. Details here: 
https://www.thecorecorby.com/Productions/2015-2016/225704/FANWB

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