Skip to main content

Flash Festival 2017: Erased by Afterlight Theatre at Hazelrigg House, Northampton

My second show of the 2017 Flash Festival was Afterlight Theatre's near future based Erased. The year is 2020 and a Priory-esque institution is with the help of a "dot" removing unsavoury memories from its inmates.

Helena Fenton
Following a high energy physical routine, all bouncing action and repeated movements, we are introduced to the trio of patients, they are a young girl played by Helena Fenton, the dull, matter of fact one played by Joseph Callaghan, and the self-assured one by Luke Mortimore. Of these three patients, Lukes is by far the most interesting, cocky and verbally bold, with a badge of honour of attendance on his arm. He is so much more than the other characters that it can be tricky to relate or enjoy the others despite confident performances from the pair.

Luke Mortimore
Before this introduction, an opening corporate video has already introduced us to the set-up of this establishment and it allows a nicely comical creation to be born by Helena Fenton. She creates some good laughs, more especially from the student audience, with exaggerated glances to the camera in a nicely shot video. This character reoccurs in the same form for a TV show piece, and perhaps as it turns out, better suited for this role. Therefore it did at this point feel a little lazy that perhaps another character was not created for the opening advert piece, Helena is for me among the strongest in this year group with the ability to create strong characters, that I did feel a little cheated that more wasn't made of this chance.

Joseph Callaghan
There was also a moment during the TV show scene where Helena fluffed her lines and rather than recovering promptly as perhaps you might expect, the show sort of stopped with her comment that "it's OK, we're not getting marked". The response was a round of applause from the knowing student crowd (I believe there were just three of us non-students at that performance), and having followed these groups for four years, I got it and wasn't too perturbed by the situation. However there were paying members of the audience there, so technically, professionality as all times would probably be the best. It really was a great moment though.

Erased however is an interesting concept that while never poorly performed doesn't make as much of the idea as you feel it could. There is a nice balance between drama and comedy, and the TV show is the highlight with Callaghan and Mortimore great value as the female contestants. However for all its humour, and it is unquestionably funny at times, it is for the best part quite cheap and obvious material rather than clever. Likewise, the drama is generally uninteresting and often fails to stimulate like you feel it should.

Sadly not one of the best Flash shows for me, but seriously a long way from the worst and certainly not one I want a dot to erase if only to keep the memory of that bewigged character that Helena brings to life in my memory.

Performance viewed: Monday 22nd May 2017

The Flash Festival 2017 runs between Monday 22nd and Saturday 27th May 2017 at three venues across the town. Tickets can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flash-theatre-festival-2017-tickets-34315017140, with details at https://www.facebook.com/FlashFest2017

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Last Ship at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

When The Last Ship first launched as a musical on Broadway (adapted from a concept album by Sting), it was received with a mixture of reaction, most thoughts though of the negative nature, the critics especially found the whole thing far from shipshape. Here, having launched in its spiritual home of Newcastle, it arrives in very landlocked Northampton on a UK tour in a very different form. Characters have been dropped, songs have been reordered, storylines reworked, and original cast members are gone. So, whether the US audience would have been appreciative of this new The Last Ship is unknown, however, there is an incredible amount to like from this show and on Northampton opening night reactions, the audience here is liking what they see.

Gideon has returned, having taken to the seas 17 years before, leaving his girlfriend Meg behind and a strong and stable shipyard in operation. On his return, things are very different, not least for Meg, who is initially not keen on his return, f…

Review of Hamlet by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I am personally all about making Shakespeare accessible, I take the Emma Rice line, that many were not keen on, that after a few hundred years, it's perhaps worthy of mixing it up a bit to make it more meaningful to a modern audience. I have a feeling the man himself would have no qualms about seeing his classic Hamlet transposed into a garish multi-coloured world, set in a much more hip place.
The Denmark that we see here and that is still referenced, is now very much an African country, and not just because of the heavy black actor casting, this is all about a style and a carnival feeling to many of the scenes. Music is provided by tribal-like drums, and characters stalk the scenes carrying handguns and rifles, bringing a modern feeling to the conflict as well. This is certainly not the "rotten state of Denmark" that most Shakespeare aficionados are familiar with.
Characters are changed drastically as we have more cocksure, swaggering, modern feeling to the individual…

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…