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Our Share of Tomorrow

Friday, 1 October, 2010

A tale of drifting and loss

Edinburgh 2010 – Pleasance Two @ Pleasance Courtyard – 4-29 August 2010 – 13.00 (1.15)

York – Theatre Royal – 17-25 September 2010 – 19:45 (1.15)

World of Water

The show begins on a tiny boat in the middle of the ocean during a tremendous thunderstorm which tosses its sole crew member Tom Elfman (played by Jot Davies) about like a wet rag before throwing him overboard.  This is a very exciting and well constructed beginning consisting of elements which make fringe theatre so distinctive and great – the creatively innovative use of limited resources.  The epic soundscape, effective lighting and brilliantly utilized set immediately plunged the spectators into the realm of the imagined world – the fundamental objective of the producing company Real Circumstance.  A well thought-out name for just such a company.

Real Circumstance has set out to ‘explore intimate human narratives that exist in detailed, three-dimensional worlds with fully-realised imaginary selves that can respond truthfully to any given circumstance.’  A highly respectable ambition and one which is not far out of their reach.

They have certainly succeeded in their goal on a technical level.  James Cotterill has to be commended for his innovative design concept.  The set, which consisted of wooden decking and a massive mesmerizing box frame hanging from the ceiling which changed colors throughout the piece was used to create a dock, a hospital and – with just a couple extra ropes – even a ship.

The acting, although strong in its own right, didn’t quite reach the same high standards set by the technical team.  The cast of three clearly had an onstage chemistry with one another.  Their connection to the script however would fall flat at times and they would be left awkwardly standing on stage.  Perhaps it’s an issue with the direction of the piece by writer Dan Sherer but several of the show’s bigger moments lacked much connection to any real human emotion.  The characters emptily paced back and forth on stage as if they had been told to but did not know why.  The fight choreography was another element which sorely stuck out.  Not only was it feebly staged but it was also weakly executed by the two male cast members and had the opposite effect needed for the scene and slowed the pace right down.

Each performer did however have a few moments to shine in their own way.  Jot Davies playing Tom Elfman powerfully commanded the stage during the opening shipwreck scene.  Toby Sawyer playing John Broughton had a beautifully delivered speech about an army fire fight he had been in.  Finally Tamsin Joanna Kennard as Cleo Sparks got to show off her enchantingly beautiful vocals.

From a show which highlights the message ‘we all make mistakes,’ it is probably best to look past the shortcomings of the show and look forward to this exciting company’s next production.

Cast Credits: Jot Davies – Tom.  Tamsin Joanna Kennard – Grace.  Toby Sawyer – John.

Company Credits:  Writer – Dan Sherer.  Director – Dan Sherer.  Designer – James Cotterill.  Lighting Designer – Michael Nabarro.  Sound Designer – Steve Mayo.  Technical Operator – uncredited.  Stage Manager – Steve Muckersie.  Publicist (Edinburgh) – Steve Forster.  Producer – Anna Bewick.  Company – Real Circumstance with York Theatre Royal & Escalator East to Edinburgh. Website – http://www.realcircumstance.com

(c) Carl Livesay 2010

reviewed Thursday 26 August 2010

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