Tag Archives: Alistair Wilkinson

Digging Deep

Digging Deep
★★★★

VAULT Festival

Digging Deep

Digging Deep

The Vaults

Reviewed – 20th February 2019

★★★★

 

“Guyler is most definitely a writing talent to be reckoned with”

 

Digging Deep is Amy Guyler’s four man play about suicide, which, shockingly, as the beer mats placed on our seats remind us, is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. The play centres on 22 year old Mossy and his group of mates. Mossy is done with life – he feels he’s flatlining already and he doesn’t see the point of carrying on – but he doesn’t want to leave his Mum with a costly funeral bill, so he enlists his mates to help him raise £10,000 before he ends it all. Before long, their local campaign goes viral and hits the headlines, the money is raised, and Mossy is faced with the reality of his situation.

Digging Deep is a well-paced, tightly written drama, with an expertly handled and unexpected last minute denouement. Guyler has a great ear, and for the most part the dialogue is eminently recognisable as the comfortable banter common to a group of lads who hang out together a lot. The gags are occasionally overplayed, and the comedic moments occasionally overwritten, but there are a lot of genuine laughs to be had, and Guyler is most definitely a writing talent to be reckoned with, particularly since she is also capable of moving people to tears; two men in the audience last night were completely overcome in the play’s final moments.

Credit must go too to Alistair Wilkinson’s sure-handed and creative direction, and to some terrific performances. Kyle Rowe, as Mossy, is magnetic on stage throughout, with tremendous physical and vocal presence. He is ably supported by Jonny Green – who gives a nuanced portrayal of the sensitive Matt – and Matthew Woodhead, entirely believable as Mossy’s oldest mate Kane. Josh Sinclair-Evans, as Jack, arguably has the most difficult task, and, although his performance makes more sense at the play’s close than it does during its unfolding, Jack’s characterisation still seems somewhat skin-deep in comparison with that of the other three. This is partly owing to the choice to give him a very obvious tic (he played nervously with the tie of his hoodie throughout) which emphasises his external behaviour over what he carries in his body.

The boys’ physicality plays a huge part in this piece; how they move, individually and collectively, tells us so much about who they are. There are some brilliantly directed set pieces – the sponsored onion-eating; the football match; the sky dive – but the subtle physical detail in each performance is almost more pleasing, defining, as it does, the boys so clearly one from the other. They scuff and lounge and strut around the stage, hands in pockets or down trousers, chests out or shoulders hunched, and paint a poignant potrait of the so-often-hidden struggles that so many young men face. Prepare to be moved.

 

Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by Andrew James

 

Vault Festival 2019

Digging Deep

Part of VAULT Festival 2019

 

 

 

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Review of Man Cub – 4 Stars

Man Cub thespyinthestalls

Man Cub

Etcetera Theatre

Reviewed – 15th July 2017

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

“a visceral, animalistic masterclass”

 

 

Man-Cub is a visceral, animalistic masterclass. Devised by a cast of nine, directed and conceived by RADA’s Alistair Wilkinson, the hour-long physical ensemble piece retells and reworks the story of the Jungle Book, against the pulsing bass of a nightclub dance-floor.

The show begins as any night out at a London club, with a brief pat-down and the turning away of those who look a little too green to enter the lions’ den. But as the night unfurls, innocence and consent become increasingly blurred, and we are led into a world where everything is fair game and the law of the jungle reigns.

Through a spectacular feast of physical theatre, we follow the man-cubs first deep-dive into a world fuelled by physicality and narcotics, twisted and distorted by the figures of the night; the caring mother, the excluded down-and-out, the seductress and finally the predator.

Alex Britt is sublimely cast as our rosy-cheeked young protagonist. In a piece where the story is largely told visually and physically, rather than verbally, Britt’s expression and intensity is truly magnetic, drawing the audience to his exposed vulnerability amidst the chaos of the dancefloor.

Every cast member has their moment, beautifully showcasing the clear talent of the ensemble cast; without exception, performances are outstanding, with particular note to Lizzie Manwaring and Callum Tilling, who steal the show with the instinctual animality of their physical performances.

The piece itself is a testament to the potential of Wilkinson and his cast; truly visually breath-taking, the narrative is sometimes lost to the feeling of the piece, overtaken by the intense staccato movement and atmosphere and the audience are left questioning what it all means. With some streamlining and clarification, explicitly distinguishing and exploring each character, this piece could do excellently well with a fringe audience, and I am incredibly excited to see where Man-Cub, and its stunning cast, will be taking us in future.

Reviewed by Tasmine Airey

 

 

 

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