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Review of She Echoes performed by University Of Northampton BA Actors at Isham Dark (Avenue Campus), Northampton

The University of Northampton BA Actors devised shows are never, ever, a disappointment. Many of them like the incredibly splendid Orientation from last year, I could happily watch more than once. She Echos easily falls into that category and I shall return tomorrow to watch it once again.

Taking the concept of alternative possibilities made famous in popular by Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors, She Echoes creates a multiple splitting world of Emily and her success in work, family, driving and most importantly love. We awake each morning with Emily either early, late, or with time to read the paper or not, and a meeting with her sister who may be back on the bottle or sipping coffee. Emily may walk to work, she may drive, she may get the tube. She might go to the Red Ruby club or not.

Each of these scenarios is created in two ways, first through repetition of scenes where charges occur on route through alternating incidents; some simple, some startlingly dramatic. The second way is a split stage scenario, used with incredible effect during the Red Ruby scene. Both work, but seeing the freeze frame play out at the club is the best by a considerable margin as the most innocent of moments like a spilt drink spirals into devastating events. Perhaps you might feel it is contrived at times, but really it surely isn't. A fight in a club, truly would if you think about it come down to a chance of encounter like this if they are indeed strangers. This is why as Liam Faik takes apart in a quite remarkable stage fight a good Samaritan, you truly feel how possible this could be. While this occurs, alongside is the most wonderful scenario playing out, of love and friendliness. The contrast could not be better, the effect on the audience perhaps not possibly stronger.

Emily is played by an ever changing cast member and each of them creates a slightly different but fascinating interpretation of the role as the world evolves ahead of her. This is throughout a quite staggering ensemble piece, as the University shows always are. There is a constant buzz of effort and support for each other and the youthful and ambition drive to create perfection knows no bounds.

The fast paced scenes are brilliantly worked and perhaps the lighting available in Isham Dark has never looked better in this creation designed by Jessica Bichard. There is also an incredible Charleston inspired dance routine choreographed purely through the students. This coupled with the work of director of Lily McLeish and most importantly the creative input and drive of the performance of the students creates a swift and sharp seventy minutes of brilliance.

I simply loved it, it often created a lump in the throat, a stirring of adrenaline and "dust" in the eyes. A remarkable piece of theatre in every way possible, performed by yet again another collection of startlingly good students, now firmly on route to the Royal, the Flash Festival and beyond. Just amazing.

Performance viewed: Wednesday 7th December, 2016 (matinee) at Isham Dark, University Of Northampton (Avenue Campus).

She Echoes runs until Saturday, 10th December, 2016.
Twitter feed for the University actors is @BA_Actors and a Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1821958538081112/

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