Tag Archives: Camden People’s Theatre

Hot Flushes

Hot Flushes – The Musical
★★★

Camden People’s Theatre

Hot Flushes

Hot Flushes – The Musical

Camden People’s Theatre

Reviewed – 13th June 2019

★★★

 

“has potential, but it didn’t quite pack the punch I expected it to”

 

Camden People’s Theatre is currently presenting a series of plays as part of their “Calm Down Dear” season. This is a three week festival of “innovative female performance”.

Hot Flushes is Documental Theatre’s offering to the festival. Written by Lucy Bell and directed by Anita Parry, the show is centred around Sandra (Michelle Ridings), a sixty year old woman who falls victim to department store BHS going bust. Not only has she lost a job she’s had for decades, but she’s also being denied her pension. Understandably angry, a chance encounter with Patsy (Katy Sobey), a ballsy member of the National Rifle Association, leads Sandra to believe she can take matters into her own hands.

There are four performers on a stage that is simply set with two clothes rails on either side. Three of the performers play instruments to accompany the original songs (Charlie Coldfield & Thomas Johnson) scattered throughout. The musical elements are generally well done and there are nice harmonies in some of the songs, although the show could benefit from more polished vocals overall. Katy Sobey is by far the standout performer vocally and shows versatility through playing Sandra’s twenty-one year old daughter, Jolene, as well as NRA member, Patsy. She also brings some of the songs to life with her skill as a saxophonist.

In terms of Hot Flush’s concept, Documental Theatre has chosen well. There is a good level of normality, which audiences should be able to relate to. The show explores family dynamics, mother/daughter relationships and the strains that these can come under, inequalities, and caring for an infirm family member, as Sandra does with her husband.

At times, I did find it hard to engage and felt some of the songs came a bit out of nowhere. There are also some over the top moments that perhaps go a bit too far, but this could be seen as a display of the heightened emotions and fantasies of a sixty year old woman at the end of her tether. Hot Flushes has potential, but it didn’t quite pack the punch I expected it to. There are some good ideas and performances, so it would be interesting to see if the show develops further in the future.

 

Reviewed by Emily K Neal

 

Camden People's Theatre

 

Hot Flushes – The Musical

Camden People’s Theatre until 15th June as part of their Part of Calm Down Dear Festival

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
I Want You To Admire Me/But You Shouldn’t | ★★★★ | March 2018
The Absolute Truth About Absolutely Everything | ★★★ | May 2018
A Fortunate Man | ★★★½ | June 2018
Le Misanthrope | ★★½ | June 2018
Ouroboros | ★★★★ | July 2018
Did it Hurt? | ★★★ | August 2018
Asylum | ★★★ | November 2018
George | ★★★★ | March 2019
Mojave | ★★★ | April 2019
Human Jam | ★★★★ | May 2019

 

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Human Jam

Human Jam
★★★★

Camden People’s Theatre

Human Jam

Human Jam

Camden People’s Theatre

Reviewed – 9th May 2019

★★★★

 

“Just when you think you know where the show is heading, it hits you with a stunning sideways turn”

 

Presented by Brian Logan (who also directs) and Shamira Turner, Human Jam addresses an issue right on the doorstep of the Camden People’s Theatre – the huge upheaval that will be caused by the construction of the ‘High Speed 2’ rail terminal. HS2, as it’s known, promises a faster train connection between London and Birmingham by 2026, and then a further expansion to Leeds and Manchester by 2033. These proposed works involve not only the demolition of local buildings around Euston (including homes, pubs and restaurants), but also, in an unforeseen ‘complication’, the exhumation of 63,000 bodies buried in St. James’ Gardens – the largest single exhumation of graves in European history.

Part archaeological docu-lecture, part righteous political monologue, part performance-art spectacle and part supernatural drama, Brian and Shamira’s remarkable patchwork explores in depth the seismic changes threatening the area. It does this by intertwining projected photos and films, direct-to-audience chatter, bursts of sound and music, texts and poetry unearthed from obscure books, and vivid dramatic reconstruction. Just when you think you know where the show is heading, it hits you with a stunning sideways turn. I’m reluctant to spoil the surprise, but it involves an intimate encounter with the past and a postmodern fast-forward to the present.

In the closing minutes a community choir takes to the stage. This is made up of local residents affected by the HS2 scheme, and it’s extremely moving to hear real people sharing real-life experiences and singing verses, ancient and modern, that articulate what’s happening to their lives and homes.

Human Jam is a multi-faceted, thought-provoking reminder to fight for those freedoms we take for granted. It’s brought to life with passion, warmth and humour. As well as making you chuckle, it simultaneously fills you with terrible anger and sadness by reminding you of the alarming rate at which our public spaces are being sold off to anonymous developers by cynical, uncaring councils.

The show had particular resonance for me because for several years I worked just metres away from the zone in question. I enjoyed the curry houses of Drummond Street and walked in St. James’ Gardens during lunch breaks, relieved to find a few moments of respite in the middle of the crowded, deafening city.

In a final irony, it’s revealed that HS2 may in fact never go ahead. While that seems like a triumph, in reality it’s already too late. The land has already passed into private ownership and – unforgivably – 63,000 souls have been disturbed from their peaceful sleep.

 

Reviewed by Stephen Fall

Photography by Ali Wright

 

Camden People's Theatre

Human Jam

Camden People’s Theatre until 25th May

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
I Want You To Admire Me/But You Shouldn’t | ★★★★ | March 2018
The Absolute Truth About Absolutely Everything | ★★★ | May 2018
A Fortunate Man | ★★★½ | June 2018
Le Misanthrope | ★★½ | June 2018
Ouroboros | ★★★★ | July 2018
Did it Hurt? | ★★★ | August 2018
Asylum | ★★★ | November 2018
George | ★★★★ | March 2019
Mojave | ★★★ | April 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com