Tag Archives: Helena Bell

Sundowning – 4 Stars

Sundowning

Sundowning

Tristan Bates Theatre

Reviewed – 18th October 2018

★★★★

“There is an outstanding performance from Hazel Maycock, whose portrayal of Betty is worth the price of admission alone”

 

Dementia is one of the biggest health and social challenges we currently face. Most people know someone affected by this cruel illness and whilst in general mental health is something increasingly spoken about, dementia still has an element of public stigma about it. It is encouraging to see more theatres presenting plays with dementia at the core of the story and one such production from Kali Theatre certainly forces the audience to think deeply about their attitude to the topic.

Sundowning is an eighty minute play by Nessah Muthy which introduces us to Betty, a dementia sufferer, her daughter Teresa and the troubled Alyssa. The title refers to a state of increased agitation, confusion, disorientation and anxiety that typically occurs in the late afternoon or evening in some individuals affected with dementia.

The play opens with Betty on a bed in a care home displaying realistic signs of vagueness. Either side of the room are two doors through which Teresa and Alyssa come and go as each scene moves. To the rear of the stage is a window through which we see changes in the light and darkness of the days as time progresses. 

The story appears to be well researched and though not all autobiographical some parts are from Muthy’s own family experience with the disease. We see how difficult it is for all affected and it gives us a glimpse into the realities of caring for someone afflicted by it. 

There is an outstanding performance from Hazel Maycock, whose portrayal of Betty is worth the price of admission alone. She certainly conveys to the audience a very realistic version of a dementia sufferer with an unnerving amount of confusion yet remembering well her beloved late husband Jimmy. Whilst her marriage was an important part of her life that she hasn’t forgotten, arguably it does form a little too much of the play. Aasiya Shah makes Alyssa a believable character whose life has gone off the rails but has a deep down love for her Nan and wants to take her from the care home for one last holiday. The third cast member Nadia Nadif as Teresa has less of a character to get to grips with, though it is clear she finds Alyssa’s sudden appearance an annoyance as she struggles to do what she think is best for her mum.

The sound design (Dinah Mullen) enhances the production. The mix of white noise and excerpts of 60s pop songs helps to give an idea of how Betty’s brain is working. The lighting design (Pablo Fernandez Baz) works well and particularly so in the last scene.

Whilst some parts of the performance did seem to drag a little on occasions, director Helena Bell generally makes the performance flow well. Overall, whilst Sundowning is not a fun night out at the theatre, congratulations should be given to all involved in this thought provoking production which can only raise the awareness and better understanding of dementia.

 

Reviewed by Steve Sparrow

Photography by Robert Day

 


Sundowning

Tristan Bates Theatre until 3rd November

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Love Me Now | ★★★★ | March 2018
An Abundance of Tims | ★★★½ | April 2018
Lucid | ★★★★ | April 2018
Meiwes / Brandes | ★★★ | April 2018
The Gulf | ★★★ | April 2018
San Domino | ★★ | June 2018
The Cloakroom Attendant | ★★★ | July 2018
Echoes | ★★★★★ | August 2018
Love Lab | ★★★★ | August 2018
Butterfly Lovers | ★★ | September 2018
The Problem With Fletcher Mott | ★★★★ | September 2018

 

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

 

 

Arcola Theatre – Spring / Summer 2017

announces

SPRING / SUMMER SEASON 2017

● Neil Bartlett to direct his new adaptation of Albert Camus’ modern classic, THE PLAGUE

● RSC Associate Artist Greg Hicks to play the title role in William Shakespeare’s RICHARD III, directed by Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen

● Amy Draper to direct THESE TREES ARE MADE OF BLOOD, blending cabaret and original music to tell a vital story from Argentina’s Dirty War

● Lourdes Faberes to play TAMBURLAINE in Yellow Earth’s radical retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s classic, adapted and directed by Ng Choon Ping

● Helena Bell, Artistic Director of Kali Theatre, to direct the world premiere of READY OR NOT by Naylah Ahmed, as part of a UK tour

● Award-winning new play THE PULVERISED by Alexandra Badea to receive its UK premiere in a co-production by Arcola, Changing Face & York Theatre Royal

 

 

Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen said:

“Arcola’s new season confronts tyranny – the tyranny of people by rulers (Richard III, Tamburlaine, These Trees), states of emergency (The Plague, Ready Or Not) and work in the global economy (The Pulverised). At a time when the world order is under strain – but also when ordinary people are feeling the strain of that change – these plays offer a chance to reflect on our afflictions, and on ways we might resist the worst excesses of power. In-keeping with Arcola’s commitment to diverse theatre, the season features new productions from leading BAMER companies Yellow Earth and Kali Theatre. Half of the shows are directed by women, including two original works by female playwrights.”


Studio 1

Studio 1 is now a fully producing house.

Arcola Theatre presents three productions this season:

 


5 April – 6 May 2017
Arcola Theatre presents

THE PLAGUE

based on La Peste by Albert Camus

Adapted and directed by Neil Bartlett

 

“April 29th; lunchtime. Found Mr Michel in the street outside the apartment. Walk unsteady. Eyes unnaturally bright.”

Dr Rieux is noticing things. A rat on the stairs, where it has no right to be. A sore throat becoming a fever. The first signs of panic. It all amounts to a troubling diagnosis… so what’s the cure?

The Plague is Albert Camus’ electrifying story about living through a time of crisis and fighting back against despair.

Written in the aftermath of the Nazis’ march across Europe, it struck a powerful chord with millions struggling to understand the fascist ‘plague’ that had just overwhelmed them.

Now, seventy years later, multi-award-winning director Neil Bartlett (Or You Could Kiss Me, National Theatre; Stella, LIFT) retells Camus’ classic for our own dangerous times. His frank and gripping new stage adaptation puts chaos under the microscope, and plants the germ of hope in the power of our common humanity.

Cast:

Joseph Alessi, Burt Caesar, Billy Postlethwaite, Sara Powell, Martin Turner

Lighting Design: Jack Weir

Sound Design: Dinah Mullen

 

Monday-Saturday at 7.30pm

Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3pm

Tickets £12-£22 (previews £10-£17)


11 May – 10 June 2017
Arcola Theatre presents

RICHARD III

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Mehmet Ergen

Cast includes Greg Hicks

King Edward is on the throne, and England is at peace. But don’t worry – it won’t be that way for long.

Gripping and outrageous, Shakespeare’s Richard III is the tale of a ruthless, power-crazed misogynist who lies and cheats his way to the highest seat in the land.

Following his celebrated performances as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus and King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Greg Hicks takes on the role of the tyrant king Richard in this startling new production, directed by Arcola’s Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen.

“I’ll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders before I’ll see the crown so foul misplaced.”

Further casting to be announced

Design: Anthony Lamble
Lighting Design: David Howe

 Photo by Alex Brenner

 

Monday-Saturday at 7.30pm

Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3pm

Tickets £12-£22 (previews £10-£17)


14 June – 15 July 2017
Arcola Theatre presents

THESE TREES ARE MADE OF BLOOD

Book by Paul Jenkins

Music and Lyrics by Darren Clark

Directed by Amy Draper

Original story by Amy Draper, Paul Jenkins and Darren Clark

 

“And for our next act … The Magical Military Junta … Will make 30,000 people disappear before your very eyes.”

1970s Argentina. A violent, right-wing dictatorship. Thousands of citizens, seized by the authorities, have “disappeared”.

Inside the country’s most disreputable club, a mother is about to risk everything to find her missing daughter.

Spectacular, arresting and totally unique, These Trees are Made of Blood blends cabaret and original live music to tell a vital, human story from Argentina’s Dirty War.

Step into Buenos Aires for this immersive theatrical experience, which pulls back the curtain on a secretive state, and shines the spotlight on a powerful act of resistance. Following a sold-out premiere in 2015, the cabaret coup reignites at Arcola for four weeks only.

Monday-Saturday at 7.30pm

Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3pm

Tickets £12-£22 (previews £10-£17)

Originally produced by Jim Croxford for Theatre Bench at Southwark Playhouse


Studio 2


15 March – 8 April 2017
Yellow Earth presents

TAMBURLAINE

by Christopher Marlowe
Adapted and directed by Ng Choon Ping

 

A lowly shepherd rises to power – and conquers half the known world.

Tamburlaine is a breathtaking interrogation of power, masculinity and the limits of violence.

In his new adaptation for Yellow Earth theatre company, Ng Choon Ping directs a startling production with a British East Asian cast and live taiko drumming. Lourdes Faberes makes her Arcola debut as Tamburlaine.

As ‘strongman’ leaders exert their influence, and new power from the East asserts its growing dominance, Christopher Marlowe’s classic tale takes on a new urgency and relevance for our time.

“I mean to be a terror to the world”

Cast:

Melody Brown, Lourdes Faberes, Fiona Hampton, Susan Hingley, Amanda Maud, Leo Wan

Live taiko drumming by Joji Hirota

Design: Moi Tran
Video Design: Gillian Tan
Lighting Design: Neill Brinkworth
Movement: Rose Ryan
Dramaturgy: Stewart Melton
Creative Producer: Kumiko Mendl

 Photo by Suki Mok

Monday-Saturday at 8pm

Saturday matinees at 3.30pm

Tickets £17 / £14 concessions (previews £12)

Tamburlaine is supported by the Cockayne Foundation and the Foyle Foundation.


11 – 29 April 2017
Kali Theatre presents

READY OR NOT

by Naylah Ahmed
Directed by Helena Bell

 

Why would an ordinary retired teacher take a young Muslim man hostage in her living room?

In this timely political thriller from Naylah Ahmed (winner of the Royal National Theatre Playwrights Award), an innocent encounter soon develops into a dangerous game of hide and seek with the truth.

In a world of 24-hour news, is there any escape from fear? And how can we detect the real enemy at our gates?

Kali Theatre has been presenting groundbreaking new theatre by South Asian women for over 20 years. New Artistic Director Helena Bell directs this sharp, thought-provoking world premiere, arriving in London as part of a UK tour.

Cast:

Joan Blackham, Naeem Hayat, Natasha Rickman

Design: Rajha Shakiry
Lighting Design: Katharine Williams
Video Design: Daniel Denton
Sound Design: Chris Drohan

Monday-Saturday at 8pm

Saturday matinees at 3.30pm

Tickets £17 / £14 concessions (previews £12)


2 – 27 May 2017
Arcola Theatre, Changing Face and York Theatre Royal present

THE PULVERISED

by Alexandra Badea, translated by Lucy Phelps
Directed by Andy Sava

 

“Stop the rat race. Stop time. Stop the money. Stop the anxiety. Stop everything that has made human beings so bitter.”

A quality assurance officer from France, a call centre manager from Senegal, a factory worker from China, and an engineer from Romania. Each leads a life apart, but all work round-the-clock for the same multinational corporation.

When work has no borders, what’s the cost? Alexandra Badea’s captivating drama is a powerful and disturbing portrait of globalisation and its far-reaching effects on our lives.

Following an explosive premiere at the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where it won the prestigious Grand Prix de la Littérature, The Pulverised arrives in the UK with a new English translation.

Cast:

Rebecca Boey, Richard Corgan, Solomon Israel, Kate Miles

Set and Costume Design: Nicolai Hart-Hansen
Sound and Video Design: Ashley Ogden
Lighting Design: Tom Smith
Movement Director: Lanre Malaolu

Monday-Saturday at 8pm

Saturday matinees at 3.30pm

Tickets £17 / £14 concessions (previews £12)

 


All productions are bookable directly with the Arcola Theatre:

 

www.ArcolaTheatre.com

 

020 7503 1646 (12.30pm – 6pm)

24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL

 


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