Tag Archives: Dominika Fleszar

Fanny A New Musichall

Fanny A New Musichall

★★★★★

VAULT Festival 2020

Fanny A New Musichall

Fanny A New Musichall

Crescent – The Vaults

Reviewed – 18th February 2020

★★★★★

 

“Main Quote Line”

 

The Unruly Regiment, consisting of mother-daughter duo Carolyn Scott-Jeffs and Lizzie Wofford brought to the VAULT Festival an engaging and engaged new musical. And it is absolutely stunning.

Fanny wants to sing in music halls. Given she possesses the unbelievably strong voice of Lizzie Wofford as well as her charismatic stage presence, she may well succeed. But Fanny feels she needs to tell a story – a story of her friend Elsie who, as her cabaret counterpart, also “wasn’t what you call a blushing flower” and definitely “as a matter of fact, she rented by the hour”. Although “happiest corpse” she probably was not. The story of Elsie goes from nought to 100 in no time. What starts as a cheerful, slightly sentimental and genuinely funny journey to the world of music halls and Victorian morality (with audience participation galore) takes a much gloomier turn in the second half. The 19th century that is so often romanticised on stage and on screen, with all its dark sides blissfully covered over, is here with an unforgiving world of misery – particularly for women, and even more particularly – for prostitutes.

“Fanny: a New Musichall” was written by Carolyn Scott-Jeffs, and brilliantly so. It is very well composed – a traditional musical theatre formula (introducing songs in the first half, reprising them in the second) and the deconstruction of the story as well as the balance between comedic and tragic elements create a seamless and internally logical whole. Characters she created are unaffectedly engaging and easy for the audience to empathise with, richly brought to life by Tim Ford’s clever direction. Lizzie Wofford who plays Fanny and Elsie (and virtually every other character in Fanny’s tale about Elsie) is a powerhouse. Tom Noyes as Fanny’s a bit “funny” pianist is wonderfully hilarious. The musical arrangements by Peter John Dodsworth are quite brilliant, above all in the reprisals that extract a wholly different meaning from popular show tunes.

The only downside is, “Fanny: a New Musichall” runs for only three performances during the VAULT Festival. It is definitely not enough for a show that great.

 

Reviewed by Dominika Fleszar

 

VAULT Festival 2020

 

 

Click here to see all our reviews from VAULT Festival 2020

 

Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands

★★★½

VAULT Festival 2020

Everybody Cares Everybody Understands

Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands

Cavern – The Vaults

Reviewed – 11th February 2020

★★★½

 

“lightening-up moments here and there could only reinforce its intrinsically powerful  message”

 

Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands brought to the VAULT Festival by Papercut Theatre takes itself perhaps a bit too seriously – but is powerful nevertheless.

Lou is not exactly mentally stable. In fact, she is pretty much mentally unstable – but not in a pretty Hollywood way. She does not suffer silently. She is not a hero. She is not a delicate flower. When faced with the world that thinks of her as simultaneously dangerous and pathetic, Lou starts questioning if her problems do not actually became her own sense of self.

Played by diverse cast of four (Josie Charles, Joe Eyre, Hamza Siddique, Tricia Wey), each character filters their experiences with mental problems through their own lenses – lenses of different skin tones, ages, relationship and professional status. Their own struggles revolve around Lou’s struggles: sometimes different people play Lou, sometimes they all meet Lou during a group therapy, sometimes they date Lou, and sometimes Lou interacts with them to gain a deeper understanding of their own personal battles.

The entire play is wholly deconstructed for the audience (including loudly proclaimed scene changes and even in-play discussions about the intent behind the play), as quite boldly directed by Wiebke Green. The flow between scenes could have been perhaps a bit smoother – it is sometimes a bit difficult to empathise with the characters, let alone understand them. In print, the whole concept is probably very clear, however on stage a bit of framing for the sake of smoothness would be beneficial.

Needless to say, lighting by Holly Ellis is absolutely magnificent, especially in such a non-theatrical (although admittedly very cool) space as The Vaults. It is dynamic and surprising and perfectly amps things up when they start turning a bit monotonously serious.

Because here’s the rub – with all its brilliant qualities, Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands takes itself a tiny little bit too seriously. Not to say that its topic should be taken lightly as such – absolutely not – but lightening-up moments here and there could only reinforce its intrinsically powerful  message.

 

Reviewed by Dominika Fleszar

 

VAULT Festival 2020

 

 

Click here to see all our reviews from VAULT Festival 2020