Tag Archives: HighTide

Collapsible

★★★

Assembly Roxy

Collapsible

Collapsible

Assembly Roxy

Reviewed – 2nd August 2019

★★★

 

“will need a more powerfully unique identity to make a lasting impression”

 

Essie has lost her job, her girlfriend, most of her savings, and she’s just one more interview away from losing her mind. Written by Margaret Perry, performed by Breffni Holahan, and directed by Thomas Martin, Collapsible is a one-woman show about a world overflowing with information, but short on meaning.

If you missed Collapsible at VAULT Festival earlier this year, you have a second chance to catch it at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. One of several HighTide productions in Edinburgh this summer, Collapsible has instances of very good writing, but it’s missing the innovation it needs to stand out above the crowd of shows about middle-class problems.

Alison Neighbour’s set is striking. Echoing a demolition site, there’s rubble on the ground, and broken metal beams framing the space in a triangle. Holahan sits high up on a short, jagged slab of concrete supported by a pole. She remains on this perch for the duration of the show. Her precarious position, surrounded by the remains of a collapsed building, provide effective, creative visual reinforcement of the play’s themes. Holahan, confined to a block just a couple feet square, gives an impressive performance. She holds nothing back in communicating the depth of Essie’s sadness.

The play explores Essie’s narcissism, depression, and experience of depersonalisation as she goes back through her list of contacts (including old teachers and ex-partners) to try to better understand herself. Because narcissism dominates the story, it quickly overwhelms it. The constant rumination on who Essie is precisely – what kind of person she is – makes the scenes more insular than relatable. It results in the show feeling very long for its sixty-minute runtime. The writing is stronger when it moves away from Essie’s quest to define herself. The descriptions of depression (being filled with stones) and depersonalisation are more compelling.

Regrettably, especially in Essie’s relationships with her family, the story is very much in the shadow of Fleabag. Perry may well be giving an authentic account of her own experience, but because something so similar has already been done on such a large scale, the edge is lost. The scenes between Essie and her sister, her friend, and her dad feel derivative. There’s a nagging sense throughout that we’ve seen and heard it all before.

Middle-class emptiness is well-trodden territory; it’s too easy for shows like this one to get lost in the shuffle. Collapsible will need a more powerfully unique identity to make a lasting impression. As it is, Neighbour’s set is the most singular part of the production.

 

Reviewed by Addison Waite

 


Collapsible

Assembly Roxy until 25th August as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019

 

 

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Busking It – 4 Stars

Busking

Busking It

Shoreditch Town Hall

Reviewed – 10th October 2018

★★★★

“There are some great songs in this show and Danusia really can sing”

 

Danusia Samal’s lovingly crafted show, based on her experiences of busking on the London Underground is engaging, moving, funny and utterly delightful. Anyone who can start a show by singing Otis Redding, and get away with it, is clearly a highly accomplished singer and Danusia more than got away with it, she owned it.

Standing on a set, splendidly designed by Bethany Wells to evoke the Underground, Danusia takes the audience with her on a trip down memory lane that includes characters such as her Mum, her ‘almost Dad,’ Experience, a boyfriend and assorted commuters. ‘Picture this.’ she asks several times, and then draws a portrait through words and song that vividly evoke vignettes from her busking life. The sense of the loneliness of the busker, ignored by passers by, singing her songs to a sea of strangers, is beautifully counterbalanced by the arrival in her life of a character she refers to as Experience. Experience likes to sing, and acts as a sort of alter-ego, pushing Danusia to confront her feelings, to dare to act, and to experience life.

There are some great songs in this show and Danusia really can sing. She is accompanied by two musicians, Joe Archer and Adam Cross and there is great communication between the three of them. Music is the thread that holds the show together, and music can be powerful, often inducing an emotional response better than any other medium. The audience share in Danusia’s feelings as she takes a journey through her memories. Sarah Readman’s lighting Design and Jon McLeod’s sound design work seamlessly with the set to create the underground, the backdrop to her story. The direction has a light touch, leaving the show to feel very natural and immediate, Guy Jones has done a lovely job with this.

I really recommend this show. Catch it while it’s still at Shoreditch Town Hall, you won’t regret it!

 

Reviewed by Katre

Photography by The Other Richard

 


Busking It

Shoreditch Town Hall

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Madhouse re:exit | ★★★½ | March 2018
The Nature of Forgetting | ★★★★ | April 2018
We can Time Travel | ★★★ | April 2018
Suicide Notes … The Spoken Word of Christopher Brett Bailey | ★★★½ | May 2018
These Rooms | ★★★★★ | June 2018

 

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