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 Madame Bovary by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Rosanna Lowe's version of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary was originally commissioned by Simon Godwin for the Northampton Royal Theatre, so it perhaps seems apt, that it returns to a stage of the same town, in this new wacky interpretation from Masque Theatre.

Masque's publicity for the show, describes it as a "madcap tragedy", and for those more familiar with Flaubert's novel you shall perhaps be a little surprised by the anarchic version created here. This is tragedy played for full-on slapstick effect, and while at times it might seem overwhelming in its intensity, the ride we are taken on is a delight.

Directed by Tamsyn Payne and Alex Rex and a team of talented creatives, Madame Bovary's props and design are every bit as important as the talented cast wielding them. For an amateur production, the attention to detail is nothing short of staggering. Gloriously created books filled with delights, puppet dogs and children, mini nuns, and little baskets…

Review of The Selfish Giant at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

The Selfish Giant is a curious one. I left uplifted and genuinely happy by the whole affair, yet slightly perturbed as to whether at its heart, it was actually as good as the heart was saying.

Based on a short story by Oscar Wilde, songwriter and musician Guy Chambers has given the piece a musical workover. The Giant (played by Jeff Nicholson) has a wonderful garden which the local children love to play in. However, this is a selfish giant after all, so, annoyed by their presence, he builds a wall to prevent them from entering. The scene is set for this story of personal redemption.

Creating a sung-through musical is a challenge, and Chambers succeeds in The Selfish Giant, although perhaps at the cost of a great deal of variety to the pieces. The weakness of The Selfish Giant always lies at the heart of both lacking numbers you take with you after the show, and indeed variety. The appearance of the giant, in the pacy and deep, real deep, vocals in The Angry Giant is one clear example,…

Review of UoN Fringe: Lawmen by Flux Theatre at The Platform, Northampton

Way back in April 2014, No Way Out was the first production that I saw from local amateur group Masque Theatre, it was a version of Jean-Paul Sartre's Huis Clos (No Exit), and four years later, the University of Northampton group Flux Theatre provide another version, presented in a far more claustrophobic style and modernised considerably.

Seated in a circle, barely more than five metres in diameter, the three actors. Amber Jade Harrison, James Grayson and Ross Bayliss perform an adaptation of Huis Clos, titled Lawmen. This becomes perhaps one of the closest proximity productions that I have ever seen, and likely to, so much so, that often the actors are even seated in adjacent seats. to the audience.

We, the audience, are not there, of course, it may be close contact, but these three characters are in their own world. These three have been thrown into this Sartre inspired world of lies, and deception. Who are the truthful ones, who is the controlling menace? We do not know of co…