Some Like It Hip Hop by Zoonation

Photo credits Simon Prince.

Some Like It Hip Hop is adapted from the book by Kate Prince MBE and Felix Harrison and performed by the extremely talented ensemble group of twenty-two dancers from Zoonation.

The narrator deserves a lot of credit for his performance he is very clear and concise. He is extremely charismatic and engages with the audience throughout the entire production it was clear why he had been chosen to play this role. A really likeable character and talented actor.

The story is about grief hurt and how we process these feelings after we have lost someone dear to us. The central character the Governor in this production after being introduced to the audience starts of the play by pulling a black blanket across the Sun which is centred at the rear of the stage and plunging his world into darkness.

There are four singers in this production made up of two ladies and two men. Although they are all very good the two females are the stronger voices. When they initially first started to sing the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

The dancer photographed below who plays the governor is an extremely intimidating presence on the stage his strong demeanour and impressive dancing skills make him an excellent lead character. He has strong body language and carries himself perfectly although as the storyline unfolds you start to see a softer side to him and understand why he has become the way he is.

After the death of his wife he sinks into a long deep dark depression as well as turning the sun off at the beginning he then proceeds to ban all books by burning them and actively advocates the suppression of women within his environment. It’s repeated throughout the musical that “women should be seen and not heard!”

The plot is based around male dominance and we watch as two of the ladies are thrown out of the factory for rebelling against the men as seen in the picture below. They decide to disguise themselves as men in order to return to work in the safety of the factory walls. Their disguises are fairly obvious that they are masquerading as men but this doesn’t spoil the storyline.

Set designer Ben Stones has dressed the stage in a 1920s style. The scaffolding based structures are interchangeable and the scene changes are very smooth. It complements the production and the factory gates could easily pass as being real gates.

With such a high standard of dancing and movement in this production, it is hardly surprising that they were three choreographers Kate prince MBE, Tommy Franzen and Carrie-Anne Ingrouille along with two assistant choreographers for the large cast.

Overall this is an extremely good production although there should have been a warning advisory note put on the production sheet or a sign in the auditorium to warn against the scenes of violence against women, which I found uncomfortable to watch.

Four Stars.

https://www.mayflower.org.uk/whats-on/some-like-it-hip-hop-2019/

About Zoonation

Zoonation the Kate prints company was founded by Kate prince in 2002 and is best known for its work in the theatre creating full-length narrative dance Productions strongly influenced Productions strongly influenced by hip hop culture and music. we fortify this work with an extensive programme of Engagement and working with different Communities and young artists to increase the skills knowledge and confidence in our styles of Dance Theatre

Twitter @ZooNationUK

Instagram @zoonationuk

Facebook @ZooNationUK

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The Signalman by Charles Dickens.

The Signalman adapted by Martin Malcolm to a fifty-minute Fringe Theatre production is a well scripted and moving credit to the original story written by Charles Dickens.

Tim Larkfield in the role of The Signalman delivers an impressive performance as he slowly mentally battles with the spirit that keeps appearing on the track. He attempts to work out what the mystery figure is trying to tell him as each time he appears a major incident occurs.

The harrowing effect this plays in the mind of the Signalman becomes all-consuming and he is left questioning what is real and what is all in his mind! Especially when the warning bell often rings without any reason and he is the only one who hears it.

I was completely taken aback by the phenomenal acting ability of Helen Baranova in the role of the crossing sweeper called Jo. To be able to perform a role in a two-man production with no written script assigned to her character this relied solely on her physical performance in order to bring the part to life. Everything she said was spoken through her eyes, from fear, warmth and a complete understanding of the whole situation as it was explained to her by the Signalman certainly captivated me.

The stage is dressed predominantly by the signal box a simple open structure which dominates the right-hand side of the stage. The perfectly timed train sound effects and lighting changes allows you to suspend your disbelief and imagine you can visualise the steam trains going through the tunnel as interpreted in detail by the Signalman.

Director Sam Raffal has utilised all the space available in the Bread and Roses theatre to breathe new life into this haunting and spine-chillingly classic tale. This is one of those fringe productions where you leave feeling really pleased to have been in the audience. Another brilliant example as to why Fringe Theatre should have bigger audiences.

Four Stars.

Cast

Tim Larkfield- The Signalman

Helen Baranova- Crossing Sweeper aka Jo

Adapted by Martin Malcolm

Directed by Sam Raffal.

https://www.claphamfringe.com/the-signalman.html

Smashing it by Ms Helen Sulis-Bowie.

Photo by Tamsin Drury, 2019.

An interesting and well thought out look at the consumerist and patriarchal society surrounding us. Why should your birth gender and the economical background you are born into automatically give you the entitlement over other people?

As a world, we consume many pointless articles as Ms Helen Sulis-Bowie perfectly highlights as she produces from her long life Sainsbury’s bag a selection of strange purchases she has made over the years. These included glittery high heeled boots, a pound jumper that was too big for her and laxative detox teabags that set her back £25! None of which would appear to serve a long-lasting purpose.

The audience participation game called Say my Name describes a famous man in the public eye through the women who have been in his life. After all the saying goes “behind every great man is a strong woman”. There were some interesting choices in the collection of names and the audience guessed them all correctly.

The game show-style performance draws you into the story with a sense of fun and amusement. However, there is a serious undercurrent to the show and once you have processed the content properly it leaves you realizing the deeper and harsh message Sulis-Bowie has highlighted.

The production is still a work in progress, there are still parts of the show that need to be bought together and tightened up. Although it’s very entertaining and thought-provoking and I will be very curious to see how the show develops.

Three Stars

Written and performed by Helen Sulis-Bowie

https://www.claphamfringe.com/smashing-it.html

Gutted by Sharon Byrne.

Gutted by Sharon Byrne first appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 the script has undergone a lot of alterations, editing and some very effective new stage directions. It was a pleasure to see the original cast though who originally first bought this play to life.

Niamh Finlay in the role of Deirdre a girl on the cusp of womanhood is living with her Mum and younger brother and looks forward to her Saturday night’s when the babysitter arrives. Her life is far from perfect but she is determined to get out of her town and make a better future for herself.

Nothing quite prepares the audience for the life-changing events that happen to her. However, Byrne’s has written the scene with such care that although you are not left wondering what happens the details are left to your own imagination!

The theme of the changing lamp lights used on the stage and strong use of strobe lights are a clever addition to the production as they double up as additional characters which are then voiced by the cast.

Dolores (Sarah Horsford), Breda (Eleanor Byrne) and Deirdre under the direction of Chris White (director) combine their dialogue smoothly and with strong conviction. These ladies are not going to be seen and not heard. Each of the three main characters appears to be bought to life with ease and much of the performance I was drawn into their lives feeling a lot of empathy towards them.

Entrenched in Catholicism the three women discuss abortion from another perspective, in Dublin only those who can afford to travel to England have the option of not continuing with an unwanted pregnancy.

Set to a predominant 1980s soundtrack of Tainted Love by Soft Cell the incredibly talented cast of three have brilliant voices and art certainly reflects life as all three are exposed to this type of love at various points through the play.

With much heartfelt anguish and tear-jerking scenes, humour quickly brings the audience back into the story, there isn’t time to get drawn into pity for any of them although their backstories would give plenty of reasons to do so.

Byrne alongside Sophie Sodd (production manager) and stage manager Michaela Corcoran have taken the original play and produced a much stronger and hard-hitting performance which delivers an uncomfortable but heart-warming insight into how an Irish community my live.

Four Stars

Cast

Eleanor Byrne-Brenda

Niamh Finlay-Deirdre

Sarah Horsford-Dolores

Writer and Producer- Sharon Byrne

Co-Producer-Vivienne Foster

Director-Chris White

Casting Director-Natalie Gallacher

Movement Choreographer-Jess Tucker Boyd

Costume Designer-Sorcha Corcoran

Lighting Designer-Marty Langhorn

Production Manager-Sophie Sood

Stage Manager-Michaela Corcoran

Graphic Designer -Marianne McConnell.

Twitter@GuttedFringe

Facebook @Guttedtour

Instagram @Guttedfringe

The Good Scout by Glenn Chandler.

Photo credit PBG Studios.

The Good Scout by Glenn Chandler tells the lesser-known story of a group of Hitler Youths who came to stay with a group of Scouts in the 1930s. It’s based around alleged events which took place between Lord Baden-Powell and newly appointed ambassador to London Joachim von Ribbentrop decided to do in an attempt to create better relationships between the two youth movements!

When the Hitler Youth came to England in the late 1930s what harm could come from letting them camp out with the Scouts and for both groups of boys to go on harmless bike rides around the countryside where it just so happens military bases were built. Armed with their cameras the Hitler Youth soaked up every bit of hospitality offered to them!

Scouts honour clearly stands for more than any other honour throughout the play for Will Parrish played by the newest member of the cast Daniel Cornish. He is split throughout the play as to whether he defends his country or his own set of morals.

I was surprised to learn that Cornish had only recently joined the cast after the successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe this August as he and the cast are at completely at ease with each other and they were no signs of this not being the original cast members.

Clement Lohr’s frighteningly believable role as the lead nazi in the visiting Hitler Youth group, Gerhard Kleeman is an absolutely amazing Arian race choice for this part. The piercing eyes capture you and he commands his position of power on the stage throughout the play and often only by using facial expressions or killer looks at the other boys. His tall stature and blonde hair dominate over the other three boys Will, Jacob ( Charlie Mackay) and Friedrich Dorf (Simon Stache).

Gerhard stringently appears to abide by the rules on his terms. Although and no matter how close they are to him he will change his stances to suit himself. As he openly admits to having homosexual relationships the audience are fully aware that he would happily report someone for doing the same thing and sending them off to a camp.

I was horrified at one part during the dialogue when John Dory explains that in England you would get two years in prison for homosexual acts yet in Germany they would “cut your balls off” it certainly highlighted the barbaric punishments dealt out by German authorities at that time. No wonder fear was rife among the conscripted members in the Hitler Youth as we witness through the eyes of Freidrich Dorf who fears going back to Germany and he certainly never appears to be a willing soldier!

The charismatic John Dory played by Lewis Allcock will do anything he can to get the desired results using his good looks, flash suits and status to charm his way into the Parrish’s trust. Rose Parrish (Amanda Bailey) welcomes Dory into their home firmly believing at first that he only has their best interests at heart.

Writer and director Glenn Chandler has bought to stage a hidden part of pre-World War 2 histories by reading up on these alledged events that possibly took place between Lord Baden-Powell and Ribbontrop and has adapted the story into The Last Scout. A part of history that has been left unspoken about for many years and an extremely interesting twist in history that deserve to be heard.Four stars.

John Dory-Lewis Allcock

Rose Parrish-Amanda Bailey

Will Parrish-Daniel Cornish

Gerhard Kleeman-Clement Lohr

Jacob Collier-Charlie Mackay

Friedrich Dorf-Simon Stache

CreativesStage and Company Manager-Jade Hunter

Lighting Design-Jack Wills

Costume Design-David Sheilds, Barbara Williams.

Sound Design-Julian Starr

Artwork Design-Jon BradfieldProduction

Fight Director-Charlie Mackay

Written and Directed by Glenn Chandler.

The Good Scout

Classified by Jayne Woodhouse.

Loosely based Theatre Company’s three interlinked short plays are a macabre fictional look at the reality of a world that could be closer than we think! When freedom is removed and only allowed to a privileged few who can we trust? Nobody is the simple answer in this production and absolutely nothing is what it appears to be!

First time Mum, 18-year-old Leanne (Kayley Rainton) has given birth three days earlier to Jax. She is subjected to an appalling interview by the Man played by David House at first it appears to be a routine interview. As the meeting progresses the sinister and insidious reason for calling her in is sickening. Does she have a price and will she sell her only commodity? The questions left me cold and I felt very angry by his smug demeanour as can be seen in the picture above.

There are interlinking subtle themes running throughout the three short plays. The Sixty minute straight through production keeps you gripped wanting to find out the fate of each character. Breaking the fourth wall frequently engaging directly with the audience and encouraging them to become more than passive observers adds another dimension to this play.

Actress Rosannah Lenaghan pictured above plays the other half of a young couple. She misses curfew trying to find out what has happened to a lower level man she sees on a daily basis called Jax. Neil Gardner in the role of her boyfriend is more concerned about how her actions will affect his own status level. Just how far does he go to save his own privileges?

Playwright Jayne Woodhouse delivers a very dark and deeply uncomfortable insight into a future that isn’t completely inconceivable. The tightly weaved script leaves you cold in places and delivers plenty of shocks along the way. Just how far will people go to protect themselves in the name of what they have been brainwashed into believing to be “right”!

Director Calum Robshaw has bought each of the characters together in an extremely well-directed trio of hard-hitting situations. The smooth transition between each play doesn’t allow much time to gather your thoughts!

The stage is minimally dressed nonetheless the strong script doesn’t depend on props. The strength of conviction by the cast of four is all you need to focus on. Their interlinked stories and how their paths often cross is the central focus and the delivery is close to perfect. As with all particularly good Fringe plays the key is in the quality of writing and the right choice of actors, not the budget spent on special effects!

Four Stars

Running Time 60 minutes.

Cast

Neil Gardner-Man/Joe

David House-Interviewer/Principal

Rosannah Lenaghan-Woman/Mother

Kayley Rainton-Leanne/Sarah.

Writer-Jayne Woodhouse

Director-Calum Robshaw.

Photography-John Bruce

Performed at:

The Chapel Nightclub,

34 Milford St,

Salisbury.

From 12th-13th October 2019

Lion and Unicorn

42-44 Gaisford Street

Kentish Town

London

NW5 2ED.

https://looselybased.co.uk/

Red Palace by Cressida Peever.

Red Palace is an immersive interactive adult fairytale-themed production based on the stories from the author’s Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen but with a new twist. Set in The Waterloo Vaults the macabre atmosphere begins from the moment you arrive at the venue, the masked entrance leaves an impression and the curiosity of then wanting to explore the rest of the venue.

Red Palace certainly lives up to its title. The deep rich reds merge with the black decor throughout the ballroom to bring a macabre setting for the main parts of the performance. The other rooms you enter later are all themed to their specific characters.

The VIP package includes a tapas-style four-course meal created by Masterchef Semi-finalist Annie McKenzie. The menu is unusual at first glance. However, the blend of flavours and ingredients are superb. The homemade honey Irish soda bread accompanied by the whipped rosemary butter is amazing, there is no mistaking the honey as it’s sticky to touch and absolutely delicious.

The Storyline is based around the evil Prince played by Eleanor Dillon-Reams as seen above in an outstanding costume and the crown especially is an unusual design. However, do not attempt to touch it, you have been warned!

He proceeds to rule the kingdom by intimidation, control and installing fear in those around him. His only loyal subject is his cat who is never far behind him and reports every detail of information she finds out straight back to him.

After imprisoning a young lady that he met by the water he granted her a wish to be able to dance all the time and through the red shoes always attached to her feet she is forced to dance continually and remain in his castle. The badly matched couple (in character, not the actor) can be seen fighting and arguing throughout most of the evening at first it can feel slightly unsettling even though you are aware that they are in character.

The predominantly all female-led cast deliver this well-written production with what appears to be complete ease. Each of them never faltering once or lapsing out of character.

Joanna Vymeris as seen above in the role of the cat took on the mannerisms and actions of our feline companions in a fantastic performance. The face part if the costume design let her down slightly as the beautifully designed face mask covered too much of her mouth and it became difficult to understand what she was saying much of the time! Which was a real pity as the work she puts into her performance is brilliant.

The entire cast has been faultlessly selected with some awe-inspiring acrobatics, dancing and all of the characters you meet when entering each themed room have an interesting tale to tell and deliver it perfectly. Red Riding Hood named Read in this production really stood out though performer Emily Essery delivered her part clearly and concisely. There is definitely no mistaking why she dislikes the Prince!

Costume designer Maeve Black clearly has an amazing eye for details from the cats all-black costume and stunning harlequin style mask, the mermaids steam room complete with shells and a steam machine to the amazing candelabra dominating the ceiling in the ballroom. everywhere you look the venue is decorated to match its characters significance in the production. It’s easy to miss the secrets that you are meant to compile as there are so many other interesting things surrounding you to distract your attention.

Director Celine Lowenthal has certainly created a very enjoyable immersive Theatre production using all the available space in this part of the Waterloo Vaults. To direct and oversee so many scenes and interactive rooms to all run simultaneously and in exact time with each other is such an impressive accomplishment.

Pictured above in the steam room are Karen aka Aerial (Rosie Rowlands) and the Mermaid (Steffi Walker). From the photo alone the details and beauty of their costumes stand out.

Whether you attend the event in a group, couple or on your own, this is a performance that I would recommend to anyone. Being an immersive production there are plenty of opportunities to interact with other guests and the cast as you gather up the secrets before the truth is unveiled! One thing I took away from the evening’s experience was how many people were really enjoying themselves which is surely a good sign.

Four Stars.

Cast:

Karen (aerial) – Rosie Rowlands

Cat – Joanna Vymeris

The Prince – Eleanor Dillon-Reams

Tom – Ella Prendergast

Snow – Alice Morgan-Richards

Gretel – Emer Dineen

Baba Yaga – Porscha Present

The Mermaid – Steffi Walker

Read – Emily Essery

Wolf – Teddy Lamb

Writer-Cressida Peever

Designer-Maeve Black

Director-Celine Lowenthal

Gourmet themed menu by Masterchef Semi-finalist Annie Mckenzie.

Photographs by Nic Kane Photography.

Performed by:

Red Palace at The Vaults

Leake Street

London

SE1 7NN

From 24th September 2019 to 12th January 2020.

https://www.thevaults.london/red-palace