With such a wide variety of pieces, the energy of the show bounced between each act in this MA showcase.
The showcase marked the end of the first year of a partnership between Northumbria University and Live Theatre. The pieces were a series of plays created during the student’s year of studying the Theatre and Performance MA at Northumbria.
First up was Holly Gallagher’s play (Before) the line is lost. Her solo show was about Cosplay, consent and online abuse. How women take up Cosplay as a hobby and end up being sexually targeted by men. It was a powerful ten minutes ending with Holly reading out a series of abusive comments her character (or possibly the performer herself) received online from men who were commenting on her Cosplay outfit.
Second was Cirque D’Insanity by Sarah McClelland– another powerful one woman show. Introducing herself as Miss Conception a ring master for “the most mind-boggling circus you will ever see”, Sarah held the audience with her poise and confidence. The audience participation and punch-line of the show was hilarious; whilst the deeper meaning of the show bubbled away beside the humour. Ultimately this is a piece about being an outsider.
Last before the interval was a play with a fuller bodied cast Flexiforce by Jordan Carling. This was a surreal look at a very real situation – the pointless work and random working hours young people currently encounter all too often. The piece was frequently witty, and intentionally alienating and confusing.
After the interval Taking Care of Business by Kira Street re-energised the room with ease. It was about a woman with a manic obsession with Elvis. Quite how Kira managed to dance so violently (just like Elvis) and then still be able to say the words of her piece is a mystery. Again there was audience participation, with Kira inviting them to make a shrine to Elvis with items she scattered amongst the chairs during the interval. There was also some pretty awesome photoshop going on. It seems Kira (or at least her face) really was right there with Elvis…
Following the Elvis madness was another play about obsession – this time with chocolate. Chocolate Heals all Wounds by Thom Potts presented another exaggerated character, this time one who is split in two – the nice guy and the chocolate obsessed guy.
The final play was Gestation Period by David Mack and Grace Nancy Coles. This was by far the most bizarre performance of the evening. I have no idea what it was about (except maybe Dissociative Identity Disorder) but it had an eerie nature and it’s the play of the evening which stuck in my head the most potently. Throughout it themes were suggested and then pulled away again. In there was religion, possibly statutory rape and living in an isolated community.
Review by Sarah Gonnet (guest blogger)