Skip to main content

Review of Flash Festival 2016: X Or Y by Infuse Theatre at Castle Hill URC

There is one thing that you always get from Flash Festival (as well as excellent performances) and that is an education. Whether it is a brand new learning of something, or with X Or Y about transgener, a much greater understanding, you frequently leave the shows much more enlightened.

I follow Paris Lees on Twitter who I have great respect for with her campaigning for transgender rights, therefore I was slightly up with my understanding of the issues surrounding this piece. However Infuse Theatre's work, featuring Annalise Taylor, Rhiana Young, Stephanie Waugh and Grace Aitkin, Kathryn McKerrow, tells something I had never heard, that of the fascinating story of an 1870 court case concerning a certain Stella and Fanny, otherwise known as Ernest Boulton and Fred Park, arrested over transvesticism and a benchmark for the future.

This is our way into a play of almost perfect construction and excellent education merit, as no matter who you are you leave with more knowledge of transgender, and hopefully if you are a good person more respect.

There is little to show when we entered the theatre for this show other than what turns out to be two vitally important strips of pink and blue. These as we go through the show are the home of five indivual monologues performed by each performer in the group. They are striking tales of real people and their transition position. It does through use of colour fall into the trap of gender stereotyping itself, but I am willing to let this one pass as the message they tell is emotionally powerful.

This once again is a play of some very fine performances, the mentioned monologues are superbly performed at the front of the stage with emotion stark across the performers faces. Another highlight for me includes the physically crippled judge portrayed by Annalise Taylor. I have to say though that the standout performer in the show is Stephanie Waugh, who as well as being brilliant across the show, is simply creepily superb as the lascivious doctor. Stunning and scary at the same time.

Choreography and timing on this piece is pitch perfect and it is a stroke of genius to use Blur's Girls And Boys repeatedly throughout the show for the transitions. You might think it could become repetitive, but it never does and as it strikes up every time, you know you are going to get a magic
piece of physical movement as the cast assemble chairs or change each other costumes.

This is a mighty fine example of what Flash does best, coupling great humour within a wonderfully educational piece of drama. Five performers working extremely well together and creating a really great show.

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 The Blue Road by R&D Young Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

I have a 100% strike record with the wonderful Youth Theatre group at Royal & Derngate, they have never let me down with a show and sometimes with those of Sweeney Todd and Kontact, have provided me with some of the very optimum theatre points of each year. The Blue Road, their very latest production for me is slightly less successful.

However, it thankfully and perhaps not surprisingly, is nothing to do with the constantly talented bunch of actors that gather in this group. My problem lies in two places, of play selection and the way it is told. The Blue Road chronicles the story of a group of young people on the backend of a not totally described crisis, and this, unfortunately, is where we were more or less just two years ago with the Young Company and their show Immune. I have always been interested in these post apocalyptic stories and often love them, however for the same group to do two so close together feels a shame. They challenge certainly, but I am sure there are many…

Review of Great Expectations by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Market Boy from The Actors Company last year was a remarkable show and is likely to stay with me for a long time, so following it with this year's production was always going to be a tough call and with their production of the epic Dickens classic Great Expectations, they at least didn't lack ambition.

I have to be honest, things for me didn't start well. The first few minutes of this adaptation by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod is a busy and convoluted sequence moving the opening part of the story in an unclear and often irritating way. For those present not aware of the original story, I wouldn't envy them trying to keep up with what is going on. However much of the trouble of this opening sequence is quickly corrected as scenes become more defined and controlled and the story is allowed to develop at a slower pace.

Perhaps also in the early part, it doesn't help either that the gender-swapped Magwitch played by Salli Bersham is a little too full on with the o…

Review of Hansel & Gretel by Warts & All at Delapré Abbey, Northampton

For those unfamiliar with Kneehigh Theatre (from where this show originally comes), the best way of explaining them is that they do traditional things, differently. This performance by Warts and All Theatre of their adaptation of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel tells you much of what you need to know early on as a (human) rabbit is pinned down upon a table and skinned (half their costume removed). It is just one of an evening of wacky and quite brilliant moments as this production sours mostly for the sky of brilliance.

Handed to a cast of young performers, the result is often disturbingly professional. Sure it is still rough around the edges at times, but perhaps this helps the material. It doesn't actually matter if there is sparring from the cast with the audience, knowing looks and playfulness. It doesn't matter if one of the cast nearly knocks the cymbal of the musicians flying, perhaps it would have been even better if they had, this is anachic fun at its very b…