iPads, Squashed Tomatoes and Justin Timberlake… just another day in Edinburgh

… it turns out Lyn Gardner’s recommendations are really worth something. My last day in Edinburgh was spent participating in Alma Mater and viewing I Hope My Heart Goes First. What a wonderful way to end my time at the Fringe. Continue reading “iPads, Squashed Tomatoes and Justin Timberlake… just another day in Edinburgh”

Picturebooks, clowns and brain dissection… just another day in Edinburgh

Any day that begins with a special, personalised performance of a delightful children’s tale is already set to be spectacular. And this is what we had on Monday as we popped along to The Incredible Book Eating Boy★★★★. Although billed as kid’s theatre, this five minute chunk of performance is a real treat. Through projection, puppetry and acting, Oliver Jeffers’ story of a boy whose idea of balanced diet is a few Shakespeare plays washed down with an encyclopedia is vividly brought to life. Sitting alone in the inside of a Punch and Judy style booth, you are spoilt by a show performed just for you. After having a rather terrifying experience of one-on-one theatre in recent weeks, it was great to feel so welcome – and the company’s aim to blur the boundaries of performance by making puppet-like actors and actor-like puppets was truly accomplished. At the end of the show, we were lucky enough to catch James Baker, the production’s director, for a quick interview with can be found on our Youtube channel. Continue reading “Picturebooks, clowns and brain dissection… just another day in Edinburgh”

Puberty, fishnets and princes… just another day in Edinburgh

I should tell you straight away: I’m not a fan of musicals. However, there is something very alluring aboutSpring Awakening – something that moves far, far away from jazz hands, chihuahuas and black canes. Telling the tale of a group of adolescences struggling to gain knowledge of their sexualities and their worlds, the piece is a dark and appealing fable about growing up and knowledge. In Gordonstoun School’s Spring Awakening ★★★ these elements are brought out strikingly. As autumnal leaves coat the stage and the moody acting takes the piece along a few seasons, the inevitable deaths within the script are mournfully mapped out. Continue reading “Puberty, fishnets and princes… just another day in Edinburgh”

Corruption, manipulation and death… just another day in Edinburgh

With a busy day ahead of us, Mr Morgan and I decided to warm ourselves up with a thirty-minute production by south Wales based Bandwagon Theatre Company at Greenside. A Rotten Little Story ★★★ exposes the corruption of the British Government as they acquired Diego Garcia for the US by coercing the island’s original inhabitant into moving away: ‘Didn’t they offer you the trip of a lifetime? Well that’s how long it lasts.’ Continue reading “Corruption, manipulation and death… just another day in Edinburgh”

The Brecon Assembly

There was something decidedly odd about the build-up to National Theatre Wales’ Assembly. Rumours flew around town claiming that somebody had coated Theatr Bycheiniog’s stage with real turf. Posts on the NTW community website hinted that they’d be traditional Ghurkha dancing alongside hot-off-the-press scriptwriting and aerial performance, bringing Brecon’s artistic and cultural variety together. Indeed, in the spirit of Wales’ young national theatre, this was set to be a community event with a difference.

True to expectation, NTW kept us all on our toes throughout the evening. Bluntly refusing to let us go along with the recognisable conventions of theatre, they instead chose to generate a curious, if not a little puzzled, crowd. After meeting in the upstairs bar at the venue, we were shepherded through the labyrinthine network of the theatre’s backstage. The audience were then abandoned behind the backdrop for a few exciting minutes, relishing the expectation as the fabric finally lifted to reveal the spectacle from the other side.
The production took advantage of the kind of controlled atmosphere that only theatre provides, sculpting a surreal and magical world where actors dressed in animal masks pranced across real turf in a curiously imbalanced take on reality. Yet the conversation was something National Theatre Wales couldn’t control, and so the discussion swayed from issue to issue as different members of the community brought their own individual insights into the question, ‘What is Brecon guarding and protecting?’. The result was a night tailored to Brecon’s significant economic and cultural role in modern Britain.
A sister project to the company’s more publicised shows, the Assembly has rapidly built up a reputation for providing intimate and quirky community orientated events, with a focus on local talents and concerns. This was a night which innovatively and effectively fused community discussion with performance, resulting in delightful reminders of why Brecon is unique. Now, we can only hope that the ideas expressed in the Assembly are aired outside the artificial world of the theatre, and we can continue to be reminded that Brecon is indeed a town worth protecting.

(from the Brecon and Radnor Express)