Skip to main content

Review of Flash Festival 2016: Him by Just Bear Theatre Company at St Peter's Church

Just Bear Theatre Companies Him tells the story a chance meeting between Happy and Issac

The above I got from the description of the show online. After seeing the show, I have to admit that I am still a little confused as to the main subject matter. What is clear having seen Him is that this is more of a standard play than you tend to expect from Flash. There are less juxtapositions between stimulating serious and comic content, there is little choreography movement and physical theatre, there is little tech. This is a play simply telling a story and perhaps therefore fails in what you generally expect from a Flash production. What is does, is well performed, what is says though is far less clear.

It gets off to a very bad start though as Happy (Jack Alexander Newhouse) is exchanging conversation with Her (non third year actor Jemma Bentley). Jack does the most heinous thing in a theatre production in an acoustically challenging church and performs much of the opening dialogue with his back to the audience. I have seen shows in the round of the Holy Sepulchre and this can be excused, however here in St Peter's the audience is all in one direction and there simply is no excuse for it. I personally heard most of the dialogue although at times it was challenging, however I was in the second row. I know others did struggle.

What this play does do though is use the church space well to perform the production. With the play actually set in a church, use of aisles and the door itself to herald the arrival of Isaac (Neizan Fernandez Birchwood) is impressive, giving an atmosphere perfectly as we the audience sit within the actual set.

The story though I have a lot less understanding of. Perhaps it is my fault, I am being dense (although having spoken to others who thought the same, I don't think I am). It is clear that this mysterious stranger is known to Lucky, however I don't think this ever totally becomes clear why.

Then we have Her. After the arrival of Isaac, Her is no longer Jemma, but a blowup doll. This offers much hilarity for the audience, and offers some entertainment (occasionally in the awkward way). However I genuinely didn't quite get what it represented. My first and pretty much only thought is that it represents how lonely Happy has become. He has created a fictional partner to spend his time with. This is the general thought for such a thing.

However does it work like this within the play? I just don't think so. What mainly doesn't work is that Isaac seems so willing to play along with it. I have no idea why he would not mention something like that pretty early in a meeting. So that is the main sticking point of the whole play not working for me. Then we have the moment that rather inexplicably Isaac one night sees Her in human form again, or appears to? That really did leave me puzzling.

So I hope to be told exactly what was going on and my apologies for not quite getting it, if it really is rather obvious. It was all very well performed despite a few issues and I do congratulate them at the very least for completing this rather strange little play without corpsing at any point. So that without a doubt is a credit to the professional performance from the duo. All rather strange indeed.

The Flash Festival 2016 runs between Monday 16th and Saturday 21st May, 2016 at four venues across the town. Details can be found at http://ftfevents.wix.com/flashtheatre2016

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Rules For Living at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

It is possibly a rule in life for a few in the audience for the opening night of Sam Holcroft's domestic comedy Rules For Living not to mention Christmas until December. Therefore anyone of such a persuasion might have been a little perturbed to be presented on the 13th September with, an undeniably brilliantly dressed, homely Christmas scene.

Opening up in glorious dollhouse style and on a gorgeous little hinge, this little home of living room and kitchen sets the scene for a typical family Christmas. Mother Edith (Jane Booker) welcomes her sons, Matthew (Jolyon Coy) and Adam (Ed Hughes) and their respective partners, Carrie (Carlyss Peer) and Nicole (Laura Rogers) And with a final dramatic arrival of father Francis (Paul Shelley), the scene is very much set for comic antics of the highest calibre.

The first thing you get from Rules For Living in the first few minutes is the arrival of one of the most brilliant, yet simple concepts I have seen for a while in the play. These are …

Review of Make Way For Lucia by John Van Druten at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

There have been a couple of television versions of the Mapp & Lucia novels by E. F. Benson over the years and irrespective of which generation version you might have seen, the roles of Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas were filled with some heavyweight performers. So taking on these roles could, in theory, be a challenge too much to live up to. However, that would be if the characters themselves were less the sum of the performer. These are great characters on paper as well as on stage and therefore Gena McCrystal (Miss Mapp) and Juliet O'Connor (Lucia) make them very much their own in the stage adaption by John Van Druten.

Lucia has arrived and breezed both into the town of Tilling and the musical chair roundabout of house rental that is want to occur here. Her rented property is Miss Mapp's and for some reason, Mapp fails to follow the routine of keeping away, constantly "popping in", so the battle lines are drawn.
Make Way for Lucia is the typical battle of supremacy i…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…