Category Archives: Posts

Millennials

Millennials

★★★

The Other Palace

Millennials

Millennials

The Other Palace

Reviewed – 15th July 2022

★★★

 

“Hannah Benson’s immersive staging bubbles with an energy”

 

There is, and always has been, debate about the purpose or usefulness of demographic tags. But whether we like them or not, or whether they influence an individual or a group of personalities, the labels are here to stay.

If you are a ‘Millennial’ you witnessed the 9/11 terrorist attacks that shook the world, and were likely to be old enough to comprehend its historical significance. You grew up in the shadow of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; you will have watched the erosion of the global political climate. Reaching adulthood, you would have walked headlong into the height of an economic recession. And the internet has pretty much always been there for you.

Is this significant?

If you are a ‘Millennial’ (according to psychologists) you are likely to be confident, but also confused. You are tolerant, but have an overblown sense of entitlement. You are generous, but at the same time narcissistic. In other words, you merely possess the contradictions that make us human.

Elliot Clay has written a song cycle that tells these Millennials’ stories. But he runs up against the same problems. For the most part they come across as merely human stories; under the Millennial banner. And it is a banner that is waved flamboyantly. Colourful yet superficial. There is little that earmarks a Millennial’s ownership of the subject matter. So we are left with a song cycle. And there is nothing wrong with that. Clay has composed some very fine numbers here. But a trick has been missed, and what is slightly frustrating about the show is the awareness that some sort of thread could have been weaved into the overall concept; or something to bind the characters into some sort of collective. To give them a real, solid context or journey.

Fortunately, that reservation in no way extends to the presentation. Hannah Benson’s immersive staging bubbles with an energy that sweeps aside the misgivings and allows us just to have fun. Andrew Exeter’s design matches, and supersedes, the sheer pizzazz. The Other Palace is transformed into a candied, Wonka-like, emporium. Part disco, part adventure playground; shimmering with colours that overflow with e-numbers. You can taste the sweetness of the set.

The performances are the main attraction. Despite most of their energy being channelled into Tinovimbanashe Sibanda’s slick choreography, the cast of six unleash their glorious voices to the crowd with the dynamism and craftmanship befitting the cream of Musical Theatre. Clay’s songs and lyrics are given the starry treatment and they have the appeal to stand their ground, but “Millennials”, as a show, lacks the cohesive ingredients to ensure a similar longevity. But as a gig, it’s a pretty good night out.

 

 

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Mark Senior

 


Millennials

The Other Palace until 7th August

 

All our reviews this month so far – click to read:

I Can’t Hear You | ★★★★ | Theatre503 | July 2022

The Hive | ★★★ | Hoxton Hall | July 2022

Report to an Academy | | Old Red Lion Theatre | July 2022

Barefoot in the Park | ★★★★ | The Mill at Sonning | July 2022

Flat and Curves | ★★★★★ | Toulouse Lautrec | July 2022

Hungry | ★★★★★ | Soho Theatre | July 2022

Pennyroyal | ★★★★ | Finborough Theatre | July 2022

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet | ★★★★ | Leicester Square Theatre | July 2022

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

she seeks out wool

She Seeks Out Wool

★★★★

Pleasance Theatre

she seeks out wool

She Seeks Out Wool

Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 27th January 2022

★★★★

 

“Sophie Ablett’s script and performance is thoughtful and charming”

 

If I’m being entirely honest, I didn’t really have high hopes for this show. A ‘one-woman spoken word and large-scale live-knitting’ sounded almost like a satire, and I was just grateful it would only last an hour.

But Sophie Ablett’s script and performance is thoughtful and charming and entirely surprising. Ablett was taught to knit by her mother, who was taught by her mother, and so on. It’s a way of showing love and care, and of keeping something of the family’s history alive. As Ablett stitches the various threads of her family into one garment, she talks us through journeys across Poland, France, Spain, Portugal, Belarus, finally landing in Liverpool. But there’s one face, in an old family photo, which has remained unknown to Sophie. So, she decides to pick up this thread and try to mend the hole left by this unidentified woman.

There are so many Holocaust narratives across so many mediums, sometimes it seems like shock value is necessary in order to get the message across. But Ablett delivers a powerful message, not via shocking details but in the lack thereof; in the silences created by a withholding of official information.

A simple tree made of yarn sits on a trunk of tangled rope in the background, and various coloured balls of yarn hang from the ceiling, ready to be unravelled and woven into an ever-growing shawl. Such a simple design (Beth Colley) could have been catastrophic, but Ablett is a natural storyteller, and as she sways from side to side on the balls of her feet in order to knit this giant family tapestry, she fills the stage with her quiet good nature.

There’s nothing fancy about this production. Ablett, as directed by Mamoru Takano, is barefoot, in black leggings and a jumper. And though the spoken-word script gives an undulating rhythm to the story, Ablett’s delivery is conversational and understated. Nonetheless, it’s a compelling story, made all the more so by its unusual yet endearing presentation.

 

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Harry Elletson

 


She Seeks Out Wool

Pleasance Theatre

 

Recently reviewed at this venue:
Catching Comets | ★★★★ | September 2021
Lights Out | ★★★★ | October 2021
Dog Show | ★★★★★ | December 2021

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews