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Castles Palaces Castles – 2 Stars


Castles Palaces Castles

Theatre N16

Reviewed – 30th September 2018


“some really strong components involved in this piece, but their combined effect is unfortunately unimpactful”


A panel of three people sit, getting ready, adjusting their laptops. An armchair is draped in white. Two more performers join onstage, bringing on and rearranging other pieces of furniture, all wrapped in white material. This is accompanied by a silence punctuated only by the sound of the panelists testing their microphones, until a gradual soundscape is built, and the text begins. This is a multi-disciplinary piece, that combines experimental theatre and spoken word, aided by the use of soundscape and projection.

According to the programme, the show is inspired by the story of a French postman who, in 1879, began to build a palace that he had seen in his dreams. The build took him 33 years. It is a fascinating concept but unfortunately the show is too abstract and unengaging to do it any justice. The person behind this narrative is not explored and the many wonderful possibilities are not drawn out.

Calum Lynn’s text is beautifully written, but this again is done a disservice, accompanied by the action onstage. The text is beautifully and articulately delivered, but is predominantly pitched at one level, which requires a lot of focus not to wander from. The constant furniture moving feels amateurish and unsophisticated, overly repetitive and uninspired. The actions chosen feel ingenuine and are difficult to relate to and be moved by.

At certain points, projections morph over the white furniture. As a concept this works really well and has a really strong visual effect, but the projection design is not sufficiently cohesive, and so isn’t always used to its full effect. The soundscape element, created live before us, is a really exciting part of this piece and works really well, underscoring the words.

There are some really strong components involved in this piece, but their combined effect is unfortunately unimpactful.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography courtesy Significant Other Theatre 


Castles Palaces Castles

Theatre N16 until 4th October


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Unicorn | ★★★½ | May 2018
Shakespeare’s Mad Women | ★★★★ | June 2018
Reading Gaol | ★★★½ | July 2018
Rough | ★★ | September 2018


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