Eurohouse is a play that makes you think. There is no doubting that. Strong, subtle and clever - you're left for 50 minutes wondering how this will all relate and then the gaps are filled in with a series of statements about the Greek financial collapse.
With all the lighting, sound, projection, story and costume being controlled by the actors, this is a play very much about two people and what they stand for: one Greek and one French. It quotes itself as being "A darkly comic look at the EU's founding ideals and what got lost along the way.” But it is so much more than that. The whole play is very much an extended metaphor for the oppression that has been placed on Greece, by France and other countries through the bail out from Europe. It shines a light on personal stories, stories affected by this oppression, which makes it a rather disturbing watch. This is a great concept, but Eurohouse leaves a lot to the imagination and its experimental approach to the storytelling makes it challenging to view as an audience member.
Having received arts council funding, the intimacy of this project really illustrates that there should be more resources made available for plays like this. These contemporary issues are a necessity of theatre.
The most heartfelt moment was the prologue to the show. Pre-show the actors came to the front of the stage and introduced themselves. The ice is broken by the intimate holding of all the audiences hands as we are invited to talk to the other patrons about why they came to the show and where they were from. This intimacy was a stark reminder and strong metaphor for the Greek crisis.
Catch Eurohouse at The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre until Saturday.
An absorbing and cleverly crafted one-act play with pace and energy.
There's something exhilarating about a gripping story being performed in an intimate and creative space; it gives the feeling of not being in the audience but being drawn into the scene, being unwittingly transported into that simple consultation room in Gujarat, India.
Well scripted and performed by an all-female cast, the story unfolds, cleverly crafting the complexity of emotions emanating from the three very different women who start out sharing the same vision, but later enter a dark space of confusion as their destiny's take different paths.
Eva (Gina Isaac), from London, is overwhelmingly desperate for a baby and has arrived in India to commence embryonic transfer surgery. Immensely protective of her last chance at motherhood she quickly becomes consumed with surrogate mother, Aditi (Ulrika Krishnamurti). A threat by the authorities in India to ban controversial surrogacy results in a plot to continue with the procedure behind closed doors. The treatment is lead by experienced businesswoman Dr Gupta (Syreeta Kumar) who stays nicely in control through the story, calling Eva's bluff in order to steer things to her own advantage. Aditi, a single mother already with two daughters of her own is trying to find her way out of poverty, not fully understanding the medical procedure but happy to take payment for the rental of her body. And although these three women have a common purpose, the different rewards, outcome and expectations of each of are revealed.
With choreographed transition of simple set pieces, brilliant depiction of the change of Aditi's body shape during dance, simple lighting that brings it to life, a gritty and powerful underscore and unexpected moments of humour, the story is performed in one act, with unfaltering pace and energy.
Playing at the Belgrade Theatre, B2 Auditorium, the show runs to Sat 4 Feb 2017.
Frank Loesser's How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is brought to the Old Rep this week by Year 13 students at BOA. The musical theatre cohort have taken on this 1960s musical with an impressive ensemble of talent.
The story is simplistic, following the journey of the ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch and his rise from window washer to Chairman of the Board at World Wide Wicket Company.
From first glance the staging was striking (designed by Sam Oates) with some nice lighting touches throughout from Andrew Exeter.
There were many brilliant performances from the company. Jack Gardener led well as Finch, with a sweet and endearing turn from Pippa Ashworth as Rosemary. Great character performances came from Smitty (Sophie Robinson), Matt Evans as Gatch and Louis Hayward was laugh-out-loud funny as 'Mummy's boy' Bud Frump. Plus Matt Perry was particularly excellent as The Book and TV Announcer.
The two standout performances of the night came from Josh Edge as Biggley and Sam Simkin as Mr Twimble. Both excelled in their roles, capturing their respective characters exceptionally well and garnering many a laugh from the audience.
There's always a great camaraderie at BOA performances, both onstage and off. The audience were rooting for all of their performers and it's a pleasure to see that in the theatre.
There were a number of microphone glitches, which can be forgiven for the fact the performers ploughed through regardless.
Under the direction of Laura Johnson and musical direction of Alison Chapman with lovely choreography from Lee Crowley - the production was pacy (despite a long first act) and harmonies were tight.
Congratulations to all involved on a successful production.
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