Crypt – The Vaults
Reviewed – 4th March 2020
“what a courageous and monumental amount of effort must have been spent putting this special show together”
Chyna Brianna Harrison-Bell is a young teenage girl. This production combines video film of Chyna telling us about her daily routine and thoughts, these are complemented and accompanied by Chyna using movement on the Vaults stage.
Chyna is deaf.
The stage is bare apart from a cloth that acts perfectly as a screen for the projections and is occasionally used for shadow dancing.
Chyna is like any other teenage girl, telling us how she doesn’t like getting up in the morning, how her school uniform is too tight around the neck and how she’s happiest when on holiday in Jamaica or when she’s playing football. Her movement portrayals of her friends Jinton, Mia, Sarah and Power Boy are amusing, as are her thoughts on David who she likes, but he’s not her boyfriend!?!
The video clips are put together in a kind of teenage magazine, storybook style and this is well directed and edited by Laurence Dollander. Laurence also assists Chyna during the show, cueing her in with a series of movements and flash cards. The tight bond between the two is plain to see.
Chyna has a strong love for her family and it was delightful to hear about her baby sister learning to use sign language and how these two mischievous girls are discovering how to communicate with each other.
There was some nice audience interaction as a couple of people chose random cards and Chyna used the appropriate sign language and movement to depict these.
It’s hard to criticise a show like this. My only note was that I found the backing music a little dull and repetitive, although was it created like that for the bass and vibration? Then I thought about it and realised that I was just lucky to be able to hear it at all.
Both Chyna and Laurence come from Oak Lodge, a specialist school for the deaf in Balham. What fantastic work all the staff do there. Apparently this show is part of a bigger project, I look forward to finding out more.
At forty minutes, this was almost too short. But what a courageous and monumental amount of effort must have been spent putting this special show together. Chyna is a cheeky, funny, talented young lady and it was an absolute privilege to spend a short amount of time learning about her life and having the opportunity to hear her voice.
Reviewed by Chris White
Photography by Laurence Dollander