Tag Archives: Anna Spearpoint

Omelette

★★★½

VAULT Festival 2020

Omelette

Omelette

Cavern – The Vaults

Reviewed – 18th February 2020

★★★½

 

“not just funny but well-structured with a neat ending”

 

‘I’m vegan!’ blurts out white, wealthy Mai on first meeting black, broke Mo, an instant assertion of her right-headed and socially conscious credentials. To Mai, of course, Mo has no need for such credentials, so the two progress immediately to probing each other’s commitment to saving the planet and changing society. They declare their attendance at climate protests and refusal to take Ubers, except in exceptional circumstances. They abhor any organisations with questions hanging over their right-headedness and social conscience. As their relationship nervously moves through the gears, an arms race of committedness commences. They move into Mai’s inherited home, negotiate the minefield between their respective privilege and realism and wind up living the reductionist result of their posturing, existing indoors, without gas or electricity, eating chickpeas and chanting daily their promise to preserve the earth’s resources. Inevitably, the relationship frays, from about the moment they are forced to eat Mai’s pet goldfish.

The writer of Omelette, Anna Spearpoint, plays Mai with spot-on comic timing, as you might expect, while the promising Kwami Odoom adapts easily to the chippy interplay. The upshot is an unrelenting to and fro in which Mai’s habits, neuroses and ethical blind spots are matched with those of Mo in a stream of sparring, snogging, preaching and pledging.

Long Distance Theatre has its own pledge, to produce works that shake us while raising a smile. Anna Spearpoint’s script certainly does the latter, not just funny but well-structured with a neat ending. However, unclear which case it’s making, it doesn’t quite do the former. Our dietary threat to the planet, the contradictions of activism, the plight of the let-down-badly generation, or the death spiral of relationships all seem like good candidates. The zero-carbon nature of the production supports the idea that the play’s subject is climate anxiety, but as a snapshot of a generation desperately grasping security and meaning, it hints at something darker, helped by Tash Hyman’s direction. Wheeling round each other on a circular stage, the movement and precise lighting (Rajiv Pattani) dramatise the physical and intellectual dances the two characters must perform. Sound design (Alice Boyd) provides angsty links, slipping time forward in skips and leaps, while props appear mysteriously, indeed mystifyingly, via motorcycle-helmeted couriers (production design by Seren Noel). Accompanied by VAULT Festival’s own thundering train rumbles and dripping water, the whole ends up, like Mai and Mo themselves, a bit more apocalyptic than necessary.

 

Reviewed by Dominic Gettins

Photography by Ali Wright

 

VAULT Festival 2020

 

 

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A Fairytale Revolution

★★★★

Theatre503

A Fairytale Revolution

A Fairytale Revolution: Wendy’s Awfully Big Adventure

Theatre503

Reviewed – 7th December 2019

★★★★

 

“wholesomely joyous and bitingly witty”

 

We all know how a fairy-tale goes: Baddies and goodies each play their part, the goodies prevail and, of course, they all live happily ever after. But how would you feel playing the same part forever and ever? Wendy (Anais Lone) has spent her forever and ever looking after The Lost Boys, cooking, cleaning, and being the nice little lady she was written to be. But she feels certain she could do something different; she wants a true adventure! Meanwhile on the other side of Neverland, Hook (Louise Beresford) has grown tired of the pirate’s life, and secretly pores over his poetry. No more swashbuckling and kidnapping for him, instead he dreams of perfecting the haiku. The two misfits decide to team up and rewrite their parts. But can they change their stories without suffering the wrath of the narrator?

The idea of the narrator as a fearsome tyrant is brilliant, represented by an omniscient overhead voice and a pink glow. The dulcet, soporific tone we all know as fairy-tale storyteller finally faces the modern world, where women can be any number of things, and men needn’t express themselves through violence, and of course that puts rather a spanner in most classic fairy-tales.

As you can imagine, the land of Happily Ever After is filled with tens and tens of your favourite heroes and villains, so with a cast of only four, they have to get rather imaginative. Aside from each performer playing a bunch of characters, there’s some great use of puppetry and props (as designed by Daisy Blower). I particularly enjoyed the two hats on a stick for Helena Morais to present Hansel and Gretel, swapping between the two as she follows a trail of imaginary biscuits across the stage.

The evening is of course jam packed with big musical numbers (written by Hannah Benson) aping some all-time classics. The musical highlight is most definitely the ode to Rocky Horror with “Let’s do the pirate again” (It’s just a slash to the left, an eye patch to the riiiiight) – hard not to join in with that one I must say. There’s a slight problem with pitch across the whole cast, but it doesn’t really matter when they’re all belting their hearts out and clearly having a whale of a time.

Writers Louise Beresford and Anna Spearpoint have created some absolutely brilliant characters – Baker Swife, for example, as played by Spearpoint has been banished for near on 200 years and has consequently engaged in a romantic relationship with her oven, Ken Wood. She has also created a ‘pick-me-up’ pie which basically induces a mind-altering revelatory orgasm in whomever takes a bite.

Normally a panto is written with kids in mind first and grown-ups second, but The Fairytale Revolution (directed by Carla Kingham), both wholesomely joyous and bitingly witty, is genuinely for the whole family. You don’t even need to take a kid as an excuse.

 

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Helen Murray

 


A Fairytale Revolution: Wendy’s Awfully Big Adventure

Theatre503 until 31st December

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
The Art of Gaman | ★★★★ | October 2018
Hypocrisy | ★★★½ | November 2018
Cinderella and the Beanstalk | ★★★★ | December 2018
Cuzco | ★★★ | January 2019
Wolfie | ★★★★★ | March 2019
The Amber Trap | ★★★ | April 2019
J’Ouvert | ★★★★ | June 2019
A Partnership | ★★★ | October 2019
Out Of Sorts | ★★★★ | October 2019
Spiderfly | ★★★★★ | November 2019

 

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