Tag Archives: Emily K Neal

Pericles, Prince Of Tyre

★★★

Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Pericles Prince Of Tyre

Pericles, Prince Of Tyre

Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Reviewed – 28th August 2019

★★★

 

“This production is fast paced and, whilst this is coupled with energetic performances, it does mean there is the danger of losing the gist of the plot at times”

 

This Jacobean play is one of Shakespeare’s lesser known pieces. Theatre company Idle Discourse have chosen Pericles as their current production, running for a short time at The Gatehouse Theatre, before heading to the Baroque Theatre at Zamek Valtice in the Czech Republic. In a nutshell, it’s a story of young Prince Pericles who flees the King of Antioch. This King is determined to kill Pericles as he finds out he has learnt of his incestuous affair with his daughter. Throw in stormy seas, characters such as a love interest, some villains and a long lost daughter and we have our, slightly mad, story.

As this is not a well-known Shakespeare play, with multiple characters coming in and out, it would be of benefit to research the plot of Pericles before seeing it. This production is fast paced and, whilst this is coupled with energetic performances, it does mean there is the danger of losing the gist of the plot at times.

The narrator of the play, Gower, is portrayed as a tourist visiting London. He finds a book, which he starts reading, before being immersed in the world of the play. He’s even involved in the action at certain points. This is a nice concept, framing the scenes well and providing added entertainment.

According to the director (Dan Dawes), the play has been given a “1970s twist”, although this isn’t hugely clear aside from a couple of small nods to the decade in one or two costumes and one particularly “hippy”-like character. The majority of the costumes suggest the play has been set in the modern day.

The eight performers (except narrator, Gower) all take on multiple roles throughout the play. The majority grab this opportunity with both hands, showing their versatility as actors and delivering some laugh-out-loud performances.

There’s no doubting the entertainment factor of this production. This is mainly down to the actors and their ability to engage the audience through comedy. It does feel a bit like you’re watching a pantomime throughout, but maybe that’s a good thing. The play is packed with many characters which it could be argued need to be larger than life in order to engage a modern audience in this lesser known Shakespeare piece.

 

Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by  Robert Vass

 


Pericles, Prince Of Tyre

Upstairs at the Gatehouse until 31st August

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
A Night at The Oscars | ★★★★ | February 2018
After the Ball | ★★★ | March 2018
Return to the Forbidden Planet | ★★★ | May 2018
Kafka’s Dick | ★★★★ | June 2018
Nice Work if You Can Get It | ★★★★ | December 2018
Bad Girls The Musical | ★★★ | February 2019
Strike Up The Band | ★★★★ | March 2019
The Marvelous Wonderettes | ★★★★ | April 2019
Flat Out | ★★★★ | June 2019
Agent 14 | | August 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Black is the Color of my Voice
★★★★

The Vaults

Color of my Voice

Black is the Color of my Voice

The Vaults

Reviewed – 28th June 2019

★★★★

 

“Campbell has created something full of emotion, with engaging dialogue and beautifully executed vocals”

 

Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on 21st February 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina. She was, and still is, widely regarded as one of the most influential recording artists of the 20th century. But what was life like for her? Apphia Campbell has written and also performs in Black is the Color of My Voice, a piece inspired by the life of celebrated performer, Nina Simone.

Campbell, as Simone, is alone in the performance space, delivering her lines to a photograph of her late father, who it is clear she has deep affections for. She very much involves and engages the audience, addressing lines to us, as well as the photograph. Throughout the piece, we are taken on a journey through Simone’s life, from her childhood discovering a love of playing the piano, to her romantic relationships, abuse endured and her commitment to the American Civil Rights Movement. Although the piece is set in one room, furnished with a bed, a desk and chairs, it’s easy to imagine the other various locations spoken about, as a result of the descriptive dialogue and enchanting storytelling.

The emotion and passion shown throughout is inspiring to say the least. You can’t help but be drawn in to each and every experience of the singer that is shared on stage. There are light moments, including amusing impressions of Simone’s mother when she learned of her daughter’s interest in jazz, “the devil’s music”. The darker moments, including a recollection of Simone’s abusive marriage, are heartbreaking and a great deal of empathy is created.

Lighting (Clancy Flynn) and sound (Tom Lishman) design during the section of the piece highlighting Simone’s horror over events surrounding the American Civil Rights Movement is hugely effective. Recordings of real news segments, the aftermath of horrific events and speeches are played, as well as lights flashing as she changes T.V channels. These elements, combined with Campbell’s acting abilities, ensure a highly dramatic and tense section of the piece.

You don’t necessarily need to be a fan of Nina Simone to be absorbed in this show. Apphia Campbell has created something full of emotion, with engaging dialogue and beautifully executed vocals in songs interwoven throughout. Direction by Arran Hawkins and Nate Jacobs has ensured the space is used well and the energy never falters. It’s clear why Campbell’s show has enjoyed worldwide success in recent years.

 

Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Geraint Lewis

 


Black is the Color of my Voice

The Vaults until 13th July

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Ares | ★★★★ | March 2019
Check In/Check Out | ★★★ | March 2019
Donal The Numb | ★★★★ | March 2019
Essex Girl | ★★★★ | March 2019
Feed | ★★★★ | March 2019
How Eva Von Schnippisch Won WWII | ★★★★ | March 2019
The Talented Mr Ripley | ★★★★ | March 2019
Vulvarine | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Me and my Whale | ★★★ | June 2019
Bare: A Pop Opera | ★★★ | June 2019

 

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