Like all the best ideas Mixtape is a simple concept. So why on earth didn’t anyone think of it before? I’d thoroughly enjoyed sitting in on rehearsals and I was really looking forward to seeing the finished performance on Saturday evening. I’d tried several times to explain to my partner exactly what she could expect, but it’s one of those things you have to see for yourself.
If you read my earlier blog From the Mixtape Rehearsal Room, you will know that the Mixtapers and their director Melanie Rashbrooke take the lyrics of a song and use them to generate a short sketch. No new words can be added, though they can be repeated, and the final sketch can’t run for longer than the original track. The audience have to guess the song title and the name of the artist who had a hit with it. The theme on Saturday was number one hits from the past three years. Heather and I didn’t stand a chance because if a number isn’t played on Radio 2 then we won’t have heard it, but this didn’t spoil our enjoyment. Why would it? We were left with 19 mini plays of exceptional quality exploring greed, envy and downright silliness. Some are funny, others moving, and all are brilliantly delivered by the young team of Mixtapers; James Barton, Samantha Bell, Amy Foley, Chris Foley, Zoe Hakin and Steven Blackshaw.
I can’t really pick out a favourite sketch, but if pressed I would say Buzz Off and the Facebook updates. Heather loved Fitting Room, because like the character in the play, she will not be beaten by an item of clothing that doesn’t quite fit. The actors have to portray a diverse range of characters and ages, and they do it so believably well, slipping effortlessly out of being a Geordie charva in one play, and then a high society toff a minute later.
We had one niggle about the evening, and that is that we were both left wanting more, so we’ve booked up to see the next edition of Mixtape on Friday 7 November. The plays performed on that night will have been inspired by the work of north east artists, so Heather and I should find that more within our depth!
Mixtape are next at Live Theatre on Friday 7 November with their special North East edition of their show. Tickets are £5 and can be bought at www.live.org.uk or by calling Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232.
Find out more about the show