Tag Archives: Nicole Sawyerr

The Croydon Avengers – 3 Stars

Croydon

The Croydon Avengers

Ovalhouse

Reviewed – 20th June 2018

★★★

“sophisticated, even slick, staging serving an unsophisticated plot”

 

Recently endowed with superpowers, the Croydon Avengers take the Ovalhouse by storm on a mission to fight crime and bring justice and peace. Inspired by Maya Productions ‘Superheroes: South of the River’, a project involving young Londoners including young refugees, writer, Oladipo Agboluaje, draws a budding junior audience into a world they can relate to, a world of comic books, superheroes and martial arts. With energy and enthusiasm, Petre (Theo Toksvig-Stewart), Laure (Nicole Sawyerr) and Aisha (Shala Nyx), three refugees from different ethnic backgrounds, set out to show that they are not helpless and needy, but are ready to fight for their places in British society. But Regina Rump, played by Tania Rodrigues, fears they are a threat to British identity and orders her media empire to stop them. Will her political influence overcome the trio? Or will their strength and determination prove too powerful even for her?

Director, Suzanne Gorman, creates a fast-moving narrative, interposing live action with clips of video, illustration, audio and audience participation. The fluidity of the complex coordination of images (Victor Ross) and sound (Riz Maslen) together with the functional set designed by Marina Hadjilouca, which neatly adapts to change the scenes, helps to hold a school-age audience’s attention. The lighting (Katherine Williams) works to emphasise dramatic moments but could be used to greater effect in keeping with a comic book’s exaggerated visual impact.

The cast work well to form a team yet portray three individual stories with empathy. They discuss and debate their different backgrounds, their journeys to the same situation, their confused feelings and their determination. Tania Rodrigues’ Regina sheds light on a dissonant viewpoint; she, like many, does not see the refugees as victims. It’s not always easy to say whether plays of this simplistic and fast-moving kind make children think about the predicaments of refugees unless they have some follow-up or prepping. In any case its saliency would vary between and within audiences. Eight-year-olds, who are included within the production’s target range, would enjoy it as a superhero comic brought to life. At a school with displaced students it’s likely to be powerful, fulfilling a deep need for representation. For the more mature, young adult audiences such as that at Ovalhouse, it borders on trite; sophisticated, even slick, staging serving an unsophisticated plot and a moral that the newcomer’s desperate need to fit in can be resolved through positivity and teamwork. Not for everyone, but in the scripting, projections and interplay of the young performers, some hidden theatrical superpowers are on display.

 

Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington

Photography by Barnaby Aldrick

 


The Croydon Avengers

Ovalhouse until 23rd June

 

 

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Review of Boom – 4 Stars

Boom thespyinthestalls.com

Boom

Theatre 503

Reviewed – 9th August 2017

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

“an extremely entertaining and insightful piece of theatre that breaks the stereotypes of sci-fi plays.”

 

 

Boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb was a fantastic surrealist production that combined the bizarre with the hilarious. Directed by Katherine Nesbitt, this apocalyptic drama was funny and engaging but also carried some insightful observations of human behaviour and was filled with intrigue and twists. Jules the protagonist places an internet advert for ‘sex to change the course of the world’ an advert that is answered by a young student called Jo. It quickly emerges that Jules is in fact gay and the advert was meant in a far more literal sense than expected. Jules, a marine biologist has discovered that an apocalypse is nigh and has invited Jo to his bunker to survive and procreate with him.

The whole cast was fabulous delivering impressive, high energy performances. Will Merrick’s performance was sensitive and entertaining in his portrayal of the awkward, well-meaning Jules and Nicole Sawyerr played the spunky, stubborn character of Jo with a relatable frustration. Mandi Symonds provided a hilarious and energetic performance as Barbara and really drew the audience into her story bringing even more excitement and humour to the stage.

The set, by designer Nicole Blackwell, added to the intrigue of the story with a variety of bizarre objects. A large yellow door was in the middle of the stage with a fish tank, a strange chair with levers all over it, a chest of drawers, ipod speakers and a stool. As the narrative unfolded all these items became relevant to the story right until the climax at the end of the play. The costume was colourful and intriguing, like the narrative.

Boom provides impressive, impactful performances. Combined with an excellent creative team and exceptional writing, the result is in an extremely entertaining and insightful piece of theatre that breaks the stereotypes of sci-fi plays.

 

Reviewed by Olivia Ellison

Photography by Lidia Crisafulli 

 

 

BOOM

is at Theatre 503 until 26th August

 

 

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