Tag Archives: Lizzie Manwaring

Bible John

★★★★

VAULT Festival 2020

Bible John

Bible John

Forge – The Vaults

Reviewed – 14th February 2020

★★★★

 

“the raw energy and directness of These Girls in this original show guarantees a multi-layered and intensely nuanced performance piece”

 

Think crime and female sleuths and your minds will probably go to the likes of Miss Marple, Precious Ramotswe and Jessica Fletcher.

But in “Bible John,” an enjoyable and informative new show as part of the VAULT Festival, These Girls theatre company explain that many women today are hooked on true crime podcasts, with one group of female office workers turning detective to investigate a serial killer at work in 1960s Glasgow.

This is no mere “Murder, She Podcasted.” The play successfully treads a fine line between exploring the impact such an interest in grisly murders may have on its fans, with a deeper question about male violence against women and how society treats victims, and producing a funny and entertaining festival show.

Writer Caitlin McEwan, Renee Bailey, Carla Garratt and Louise Waller play the four ordinary temps who discover they share a morbid fascination with true crime, and with a podcast reinvestigating the Bible John murders by American journalist Carrie LaRue.

Unravelling the facts from the speculation they find this sharing of the story is cathartic and empowering, while also understanding that they need to recognise this isn’t a piece of crime fiction, but a case involving true life: “This is about real women’s lives, not a game of Sudoku!” says one as the girls ignore their work demands and instead journey down a rabbit hole in search of evidence and meaning.

On a plain stage with office chairs, a screen and just a few props the four performers, under the tight and bold direction of Lizzie Manwaring, ensure there is a palpable sense of rage and irritation which can only send audiences out thinking about general attitudes towards women and the dangers of obsession in any form.

The infectious buzz of the production is aided further by Laurie Ogden’s movement direction, which captures the liberation of women who just want to dance and the release of pent-up frustration.

Just as in the unsolved murders committed by Bible John 50 years ago, this show has no ending – other than to recognise that there is no ending, that things can’t be tied up neatly, and that there are still too many anonymous victims of male violence.

The final reminder of the victims’ names with their pictures on screen underlines the powerful point that all crime has victims who must never remain an anonymous part of a story. But the raw energy and directness of These Girls in this original show guarantees a multi-layered and intensely nuanced performance piece.

 

Reviewed by David Guest

Photography by Ali Wright

 

VAULT Festival 2020

 

 

Click here to see all our reviews from VAULT Festival 2020

 

Review of Man Cub – 4 Stars

Man Cub thespyinthestalls

Man Cub

Etcetera Theatre

Reviewed – 15th July 2017

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

“a visceral, animalistic masterclass”

 

 

Man-Cub is a visceral, animalistic masterclass. Devised by a cast of nine, directed and conceived by RADA’s Alistair Wilkinson, the hour-long physical ensemble piece retells and reworks the story of the Jungle Book, against the pulsing bass of a nightclub dance-floor.

The show begins as any night out at a London club, with a brief pat-down and the turning away of those who look a little too green to enter the lions’ den. But as the night unfurls, innocence and consent become increasingly blurred, and we are led into a world where everything is fair game and the law of the jungle reigns.

Through a spectacular feast of physical theatre, we follow the man-cubs first deep-dive into a world fuelled by physicality and narcotics, twisted and distorted by the figures of the night; the caring mother, the excluded down-and-out, the seductress and finally the predator.

Alex Britt is sublimely cast as our rosy-cheeked young protagonist. In a piece where the story is largely told visually and physically, rather than verbally, Britt’s expression and intensity is truly magnetic, drawing the audience to his exposed vulnerability amidst the chaos of the dancefloor.

Every cast member has their moment, beautifully showcasing the clear talent of the ensemble cast; without exception, performances are outstanding, with particular note to Lizzie Manwaring and Callum Tilling, who steal the show with the instinctual animality of their physical performances.

The piece itself is a testament to the potential of Wilkinson and his cast; truly visually breath-taking, the narrative is sometimes lost to the feeling of the piece, overtaken by the intense staccato movement and atmosphere and the audience are left questioning what it all means. With some streamlining and clarification, explicitly distinguishing and exploring each character, this piece could do excellently well with a fringe audience, and I am incredibly excited to see where Man-Cub, and its stunning cast, will be taking us in future.

Reviewed by Tasmine Airey

 

 

 

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