Tag Archives: Lou Stein

100% Chance of Rain
★★★

Chickenshed Theatre

100% Chance of Rain

100% Chance of Rain

Chickenshed Theatre

Reviewed – 11th March 2019

★★★

 

“There are many engaging elements of this show”

 

Chickenshed Theatre prides itself on creating theatre in response to issues which are ever-present in our society. Following last spring’s critically acclaimed show, Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, they present 100% Chance of Rain, which focuses on mental health and wellbeing.

The show, conceived and directed by Lou Stein, consists of seven standalone segments highlighting different issues relating to the main topic of mental health. These are split up with the addition of an art therapist character, Liz Abulafia (Belinda McGuirk), delivering various monologues and introducing the different parts. Each piece was devised as a result of workshops in which the young performers were encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts in relation to the different issues and themes explored.

The first entitled “Sweet Dreams” explores self-harm through a combination of abstract words and verbatim, as well as stylised movement. This is a powerful sequence and the young people involved display a high level of commitment to and empathy with the subject matter.

In “Head Above Water”, stress, anxiety and depression are explored. A clever design element is used here, with people rolling across the front of the stage under a large piece of material, simulating water and waves. This, combined with the movements delivered by the performers, makes for a visually exciting piece.

Chickenshed’s Vocal Voices perform during the evening. Musical Director Dave Carey (assisted by Cara McInanny)  ensures the group’s performance is one of the main strengths of the show and adds to its overall intensity. An acapella arrangement of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, sandwiched between two of the show’s early sections, is particularly stunning. An arrangement of This Boy by Tom Baxter towards the end of the show is also well delivered with lovely harmonies. It would have been beneficial for more of this type of singing to have been included to further showcase the talents of the performers.

The design (Sebastian Gonzalez) provides some interesting elements. The stage is framed by umbrellas, a nod to the show’s title. A large screen at the back of the stage displays visual features such as text and multimedia elements. Lighting design (Andrew Caddie) is good and complements the emotions and moods portrayed well.

There are many engaging elements of this show, be it lighting, vocals, choreography or the important subject matter. However, what predominantly shines through and is the most endearing is the sense of community that is clear to see. As with all Chickenshed shows, each and every person involved, regardless of ability, is 100% committed to what they are doing and clearly care for one another.

 

Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Daniel Beacock

 


100% Chance of Rain

Chickenshed Theatre until 30th March

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Monolog | ★★★ | February 2018
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow | ★★★★ | March 2018
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest | ★★★ | April 2018
Mr Stink | ★★★★★ | July 2018
Jekyll & Hyde | ★★★★ | September 2018
A Christmas Carol | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Christmas Tales | ★★★ | December 2018
Monolog 2 | ★★★ | February 2019

 

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

 

A Christmas Carol
★★★★★

Chickenshed Theatre

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Chickenshed Theatre

Reviewed – 28th November 2018

★★★★★

“a rich mixture of captivating drama, music, dance and laughter”

 

Stepping into the Chickenshed Theatre foyer, one is greeted by animated warmth, a feeling which is projected on stage and also explains the deserved success of this first inclusive theatre company. The remarkable logistical feat of putting on ‘A Christmas Carol’ with four casts of 200 goes almost unnoticed as the place buzzes with impressively organised activity and we are swept along by the energy and enthusiasm.

Set in the 1930s, Dickens’ Victorian social issues are updated by a meagre benefits system, severe unemployment and women’s equality, as a background to the timeless story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and how he found himself capable of changing for the better. Writer and director, Lou Stein, brings together younger and older, veterans and newcomers, and produces a rich mixture of captivating drama, music, dance and laughter, tailor-made for the hundreds of Chickenshed members. The catchy collection of musical numbers by Dave Carey has rousing choruses and distinctive solos, giving opportunities for everyone to participate. A stylish, art deco set, designed by William Fricker, frames the show and his detailed costumes colour the characters. Beautifully imaginative lighting (Andrew Caddies) adds atmospheric touches, transporting us to the various times and places.

As well as working with remarkable coordination, the whole cast exudes immense discipline and composure; there is some fine singing and exciting choreography. The main roles are well defined and confidently portrayed, from Finn Walters’ stoic Bob Cratchit to the cool ‘Ghost of Christmas Present’ played by Michael Bossisse. But a big round of applause goes to Ashley Driver for a wonderful interpretation of Scrooge and his journey from misery to happiness.

Performing with such a supportive infrastructure opens a door to these children and young people. It allows them to gain confidence and discover new facets in themselves. Quite apart from being a wonderful and clever piece of entertainment, Chickenshed’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ has its own special quality which comes from a deep sense of being part of a community. It is worth the trip to the end of the Piccadilly line to experience one’s own irresistible Scrooge-like change of mood.

 

Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington

Photography by Ava de Souza

 


A Christmas Carol

Chickenshed Theatre until 5th January

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow | ★★★★ | March 2018
Jekyll & Hyde | ★★★★ | September 2018
Monolog | ★★★ | February 2018
Mr Stink | ★★★★★ | July 2018
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest | ★★★ | April 2018

 

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