The Yard Theatre
Reviewed – 31st July 2018
“it is always important and refreshing to see young people maximising the potential of theatrical interaction”
A company of ten dynamic young people tumble and strut into the Yard’s open, sports hall-esque space, and bring the whole room to vibrant life. Though structurally uneven and oddly paced, this did not detract from the warmth and talent of the ensemble, or the topic they explored.
Sex: the act which marks the shift from childhood to adulthood. Society is obsessed with it, yet we rarely speak constructively about it. Through a playful combination of short scenes, interspersed with monologues and movement pieces, these young people don’t only talk: they dance, laugh and roll around, confronting taboo and creating a really explosive, yet tender, theatrical result. Show creator James Blakey clearly brought out the strengths of each company member, and it was clear that they love and support one another.
Occasionally, the shift between different tones was a little clumsy. Humour was used inventively, and captured the individual voices of the ensemble, though sometimes it would have been braver to let a more heartfelt tone settle over the audience. Simon Jones’ movement direction had some beautiful moments, but often it felt a little interposed on the action. The final sequence, though mesmerising in places, could have used a little more choreographic order. That said, it is always important and refreshing to see young people maximising the potential of theatrical interaction and, for the most part, The Act did just that.
Charlie Damigos’ design revolved around the company changing in and out of a kooky mishmash of clothes on hanging rails, which they also incorporated as part of the set. It was colourful, fun and original, and great to see a company of young people be dressed inventively. The costumes complimented the haphazard, exploratory nature of the piece. Jamie Platt lit the unorthodox space exceptionally well, and add some crucial subtlety to the piece, as well as striking flashes of bright colour.
Although The Act would have benefited from some further honing and structuring, the creative ensemble still had an elegant cohesion which was a delight to witness. They challenged themselves with some quirky audience participation, incorporated music, and each had an individual spark which, when combined, made a fire.
Reviewed by Eloïse Poulton
Photography by Camilla Greenwell
The Yard Theatre until 2nd August
Previously reviewed at this venue