Into The Light

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hijinx Theatre and Teatro la Ribalta’s international collaboration Into the Light directed by Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham and Krista Vuori, is a joyful, physical & visual exploration of performance & what it means to be seen, heard and importantly understood.

In an age where we strive for validation from those who observe us via clicks and likes the importance of physical human connection can never be underestimated. Into The Light brings together a group of individual performers some with and some without a learning disability and fuses their energies into a collaborative and visually dynamic piece.

Performers are thrust into the limelight, relishing the feeling of centre stage adoration, one moment stealing the spotlight from one another then the next insecurities threaten as they are pulled back into the darkness.

Being in the ‘light’ represents interaction, connection and validation. The spotlight offers an opportunity for freedom of expression in this inventive and delicately crafted piece of theatre.

There is very little spoken word from the actors on stage instead interview style recordings are played out during the performances detailing individuals hopes, dreams, fears, how performing makes them feel and their thoughts on how they are perceived when they’re both on and off the stage. This audio adds depth and personality to the piece as each individual voice rings out through the theatre.

The storytelling is done so cleverly through movement with each performer clearly finely tuned in their art, at times they toy with the audience, the slightest of movements decides what we see and what we don’t see.

Andy Purves’ atmospheric lighting is excellent and could almost be classed as a member of the cast while Ian Barnard’s music adds to the pace and flow of the piece with some perfectly chosen tracks ranging from The Mamas And The Papas, Dream A Little Dream Of Me to The Beastie Boys, Sabotage.

The inclusivity of this piece is refreshing to see, each actor with a learning disability plays a genuine and meaningful part in the production and is rightfully treated as an equal to every other member of the company. Each performance is thoughtfully considered and beautifully delivered.

Hijinx Theatre and Teatro la Ribalta’s succeed wonderfully in delivering dynamic and innovative theatre. The partnering with Frantic Assembly ensures there is humour as well as intensity in this lovingly crafted piece. Bold and inspiring theatre.

Further information can be found here.

 

 

Things I know to be True

Things

Opening Night’s verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Following on from a hugely successful and critically acclaimed 2016 tour of Australia and the UK Things I Know to be True presented by Frantic Assembly and State Theatre Company South Australia arrives at Chester’s stunning Storyhouse this week.

Before the production begins an announcement is made informing the audience that unfortunately John McArdle is unwell and instead artistic director Scott Graham will take on the role of Bob, script in hand. This is of no detriment to the production, Graham clearly knows the play well and gives an excellent and moving performance, perhaps a little ironic and in keeping with the themes of Andrew Bovell’s play, life indeed is unpredictable and challenges frequently arise.

Bovell’s focus for the piece is the Price family, a family who on the face of things seem average and ordinary soon become complex and entirely captivating. We see life through the eyes of the four grown up children, sons and daughters to Fran and Bob, working class parents who strived to give their children opportunities and more than they had. The pressure to rise to these expectations however means cracks soon begin to show as their children struggle to be more yet are consumed with their desire to have more. Cracks become chasms as illusions and pretences are shattered and exposed as individuals begin to break under the burden of responsibility and crushing love.

Things 1

This is a beautiful and deeply moving dissection of family life, where secrets are uncovered and resentments boil over, missed opportunities become deep regrets as the emotional fragility of the family is laid bare.

Added to Bovell’s outstanding script is Frantic Assembly’s superbly physical storytelling. Outstandingly choreographed movements add depth and meaning to the piece, they also offer the audience precious moments to reflect and process the struggles and bombshells playing out before them in this visually mesmerising production.

Geordie Brookman and Scott Graham’s direction is exceptional, beautifully staged and stunningly lit by Geoff Cobham. The extremely hard-working cast deliver an entirely flawless performance; each actor on stage fully embraces Bovell’s complex and multifaceted characters. Special mention goes to Cate Hamer as the families matriarchal Mother, Hamer is utterly compelling as Fran, strong, sharp and witty yet burdened by missed opportunities of what might have been and drowning with worry about her children.

Things 2

Things I Know to be True is a deeply moving piece of theatre, laugh out loud funny in parts yet achingly sad in others, strikingly beautiful and visually captivating, powerful and poignant. Frantic Assembly and State Theatre Company have delivered a perfect piece of theatre.

On at Chester’s Storyhouse until Saturday 11th November, tickets available here http://www.storyhouse.com/event/things-i-know-to-be-true

First Look: Things I Know To Be True

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Imogen Stubbs copyright: Manuel Harlan

Things I Know To Be True is an exciting international co-production between Frantic Assembly and State Theatre Company of South Australia.

Opening Night has a sneaky peek at a few of the production photos ahead of its opening night tomorrow, Friday 16th September, at the Lyric Hammersmith and prior to its tour visiting Oxford, Warwick, Liverpool, Salford and Chichester.

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Frantic Assembly Cast copyright: Manuel Harlan

A brand new commission by leading Australian writer Andrew Bovell, Things I Know To Be True is co-directed by Frantic Assembly’s Tony and Olivier Award nominated artistic director Scott Graham and State Theatre Company’s artistic director Geordie Brookman. Following its world premiere at Adelaide Festival Centre in May 2016, it has been recreated for the UK, with a UK cast, as part of State Theatre Company’s first ever international co-production.

Featuring Frantic Assembly’s celebrated physicality, the production stars Matthew Barker (Mark Price), Natalie Casey (Pip Price), Richard Mylan (Ben Price), Kirsty Oswald (Rosie Price), Ewan Stewart (Bob Price) and Imogen Stubbs (Fran Price).

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Ewan Stewart and Natalie Casey copyright: Manuel Harlan

A complex and intense study of the mechanics of a family that is both poetic and brutally frank, Things I Know To Be True tells the story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings struggling to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations.

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Kirsty Oswald copyright: Manuel Harlan

Parents Bob and Fran have worked their fingers to the bone and with their four children grown and ready to fly the nest it might be time to relax and smell the roses. But the changing seasons bring home some shattering truths.

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Ewan Stewart copyright: Manuel Harlan

 

North West dates:

 

2 – 5 November, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse (Playhouse Theatre)
www.everymanplayhouse.com

8 – 12 November, The Lowry (Quays Theatre)
www.thelowry.com