Tag Archives: China Plate

Status

Status
★★★½

Battersea Arts Centre

Status

Status

Battersea Arts Centre

Reviewed – 23rd April 2019

★★★½

 

“Thorpe is a gripping performer and writer who does not shy away from investigating the questions that shape our present”

 

“If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.” This is the quote, a statement made by Theresa May, which emblazons the screen as we enter the theatre for Chris Thorpe’s one man show, ‘Status’. Also onstage is a red guitar which he tunes periodically as his audience arrives.

The piece begins with a trip to Serbia where Chris is going to meet a writer. At a bar, he witnesses an incident of police brutality. When he intervenes and is slammed against a wall, his friend steps in. “You can’t do that to him. He’s British.” These words let him go. Thorpe says that this is not a show about Brexit, but it is certainly a show about the questions Brexit throws up, about nationality and immigration and borders.

Thorpe performs with an emphatic engagedness, speaking in long sentences like the words refuse to end. As he, or a man called Chris who is not him, travels around the world with his two passports, the screen behind him showing snapshot postcards of his destinations (video design by Andrzej Goulding), Monument Valley and Singapore, he meets many people. A stateless man, a coyote who was once a person. There is a hallucinatory quality to much of his journey through the world.

Sometimes his words are accompanied by the guitar, which thrashes into the space, but it is a welcome break in texture. At times the endless sentences spoken always at pace, always so deliberately feel too repetitive, overly long, with little variation in tone. The performativity of the piece occasionally feels difficult to connect with. Perhaps this is also because whilst we are on a journey, it is a journey of pieces and so a coherent narrative drive flags as the piece progresses. Despite this, ‘Status’ is without a doubt a frightening or frightened investigation into what nationality means, globally. Surreal but also very real.

Directed by Rachel Chavkin this is an urgent production that explores privilege (particularly white privilege), nationhood and global uncertainty. Thorpe is a gripping performer and writer who does not shy away from investigating the questions that shape our present.

 

Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by The Other Richard

 


Status

Battersea Arts Centre until 11th May then UK & European tour continues

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Dressed | ★★★★★ | February 2019
Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster | ★★★★★ | March 2019
How to Survive a Post-Truth Apocalypse | ★★★ | May 2018
Rendezvous in Bratislava | ★★★★★ | November 2018

 

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

 

The Shape of the Pain
★★★★★

Wilton’s Music Hall

The Shape of the Pain

The Shape of the Pain

Wilton’s Music Hall

Reviewed – 19th March 2019

★★★★★

 

“It is a piece about love and pain. And understanding. And it is extraordinary.”

 

The Shape of the Pain was developed by Rachel Bagshaw and Chris Thorpe as a theatrical exploration of Rachel’s experience of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – a neuropathic condition that causes constant chronic pain. As the performer articulates in the opening moments of the piece: ‘[It] is an experiment. In how we talk about pain. If we can ever talk about it in a way someone else can understand.’ The piece is also about love; specifically about this woman’s experience of falling in love, and of being in love. It is a piece about love and pain. And understanding. And it is extraordinary.

The elements of the show are simple: one performer, a curve of dark grey metals joined edge to edge onto which text, light and occasional monochrome images are projected, and a soundscape. The piece runs at seventy minutes, and it is a testament to the performer Hannah McPake’s exceptional skill that time passes in a moment, and we are released back into the world after what seems like an extended breath – in some way subtly changed, as if we had been taken apart and reassembled.

Chris Thorpe’s writing is magnificent, swooping as it does between lyricism, abstraction, disintegration and the concrete. It is just devastatingly good. The poetry is everywhere. In angry lists. In everyday observations. And in metaphorical flights of fancy. It is also a hymn to the word ‘fuck’, in all its splendid incarnations.

The writing and the performance operate within an intricate web of light and sound. Melanie Wilson’s textured soundscape is stunning, and Joshua Pharo’s spare video and lighting design is another essential part of this intense and darkly dazzling piece of theatre.

Works of art which endure seem always to have the ability simultaneously to address specific experience and yet encompass the universal. The Shape of the Pain belongs with these. It leaves you with a greater understanding of this rare and complex condition, but also with fresh insight into what it is to be human. It is a rare privilege to see work of this calibre. Go.

 

Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography courtesy China Plate

 


The Shape of the Pain

Wilton’s Music Hall until 23rd March

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Songs For Nobodies | ★★★★ | March 2018
A Midsummer Night’s Dream | ★★★½ | June 2018
Sancho – An act of Remembrance | ★★★★★ | June 2018
Twelfth Night | ★★★ | September 2018
Dietrich – Natural Duty | ★★★★ | November 2018
The Box of Delights | ★★★★ | December 2018
Dad’s Army Radio Hour | ★★★★ | January 2019
The Good, The Bad And The Fifty | ★★★★ | February 2019
The Pirates Of Penzance | ★★★★ | February 2019

 

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