Around, Jackson’s Lane

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By guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Short and sweet, this half hour lunchtime show feeds feisty and giggly kiddies with a banquet of characters performing a range of tricks. A bearded ring master charms a female acrobat snake out of a trunk, and two musicians run around in monkey and pyjama costumes as their underage audience scream and shout at them. Programmed for the Easter holiday, the work is a strong contender among the ever-growing popularity of children’s theatre in London. Particularly special is Jackson’s Lane support for circus, which enriches their programming and sets a precedent for accommodating circus in small theatres.

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It’s Not Yet Midnight, Roundhouse

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Compagnie XY live and work together, sharing each other’s rhythms and routines. The work they make as a collective captures this ebb and flow of human energy and emotion within a larger group rather than the individual, reflecting their chosen lifestyle. In their latest piece, an impressive twenty-two acrobats fight, flirt and fly through the after-work dusk, but It’s Not Yet Midnight… peaks too soon and winds down with the whisper of mid-week fatigue rather than the frenzied collapse following a blinding night out.

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Day Three at Buzzcut Festival

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One of the durational works on Saturday afternoon is the six-hour Silent Dinner, where a group of D/deaf and hearing performers prepare a large meal without communicating in their native languages. There isn’t the rush of a professional kitchen, and sunlight streaming through the windows and lighting the rich colours of fresh ingredients is stunning in it’s peaceful simplicity. Watching them is a meditative exercise as they move around the rows of tables, silently and slowly preparing food that they will then eat together. It would be easy to sit with them all day as they take pleasure from the communal experience of cooking and eating.

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The Wild Party, The Other Palace

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Newly rebranded as The Other Palace and now part of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s empire, the former St Jame’s Theatre aims to focus on new British musical theatre. With Paul Taylor-Mills at the creative helm and two spaces in which to develop and showcase new work from the UK, their debut production is…(drumroll)…an American musical from 2000. An odd choice considering the Broadway production nearly two decades ago left critics unimpressed.

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We Are Ian, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Martin Pettitt

We enter into a long damp and dingy chamber, in the distance there is a flashing screen with 3 sets of legs beneath, feet bedecked in shoes with multi-coloured lights, gyrating and popping to the pronounced beat of the music. The screen blinks with various versions of the words: We Are Ian. In terms of stage set, that was it apart from a bulb hanging from the ceiling and a vast amount of digestive biscuits.

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Familie Flӧz, Peacock Theatre

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by guest reviewer Rebecca Nice

German physical theatre company Teatro Delusio perform a silent comedy accompanied by an array of canonical scores from ballet to opera to a bit of pop. The international show that crosses language barriers through visual tableaus and expressive physicality of character is formed by a series of vignettes starring stock characters. Three performers play stage technicians and alternate to appear as stereotypical theatricals who they encounter backstage. There’s the one who always wants to sit and eat, the one who doesn’t want to be there and the one who’s always flexing his muscles can always be found in a technical team and this trio run the show, set entirely backstage, with haphazard efficiency and human agenda.

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Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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A cultural relic of its time, the bible is hardly pro-women. Lucy McCormick, here incarnated as one of those vapid pop stars who evangelically (and often inappropriately) rallies for the cause they’re currently backing, wants to turn the spotlight on the new testament’s women. She focuses on their underwritten stories, their emotional involvement in Jesus’ life, and all the fingering and angel snogging that was left out of the text we know so well in Western culture.

Trashy, tasteless, obscene, and absolutely excellent, McCormick’s newest show pushes theatre to to limits of acceptability and beyond – any further and it would be pornographic (arguably it already is), though Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat is still not one for those easily offended. Accompanied by two muscly dancers in Calvins, her three-act play that she dutifully explains scene by scene is the story of Jesus Christ. She plays Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, and Jesus himself, with her backing dancers in the supporting roles. It’s also very funny, though laughter swells from amusement as much as it does from discomfort.

This gig-theatre piece is interspersed with appropriate pop songs at key moments of the story, accompanied by excellent dancing and raw emotional outbursts. Her personal life bleeds into the act as she slowly falls apart in the wake of the pressures of celebrity life. Take all of those public celeb breakdowns and multiply them by hundreds with a lot more nudity and mess, and you get something resembling the whirlwind of in-yer-face chaos that is Lucy’s stage persona in this piece.

Her commitment to her cause is unquestionable, but the fact that her character finds the actions that unfold acceptable is disturbing, yet all too familiar. That we can watch someone fall to bits with no dignity and laugh at their plight, righteously judging them, is a powerful comment on the levels of voyeurism and exhibitionism that are now bombard us through all of media’s incarnations.

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat, for all its deliberate mess and audience discomfort, is a fantastically considered social commentary executed with precision and high levels of consideration and skill. It’s the epitome of fringe shows, and a great one at that.

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat runs through 28th August.

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