Tag Archives: Mark Farrelly

Buzzing

Buzzing

★★★★

Bread and Roses Theatre

Buzzing

Buzzing

Bread and Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 20th January 2020

★★★★

 

“we cry with her, we laugh with her, and, most importantly – we feel with her”

 

Julie (Debbie Bird) is a woman. 50 (or approaching). Divorcee. Not much of sex life. And she is – buzzing.

Julie did not have much luck with love in her life. Newly out of a loveless (and mostly sexless) marriage, she now strives to find herself in a new life. Introduced by her daughter to a fun Tinder world of “swipe right” and “swipe left”, Julie goes on her little Odyssey in a quest for new sexual adventures to validate her own attractiveness.

There is something amazingly fascinating about this kind of “theatrical nudity”. Theatre is – fundamentally – a lie. For the sake of cathartic experience, we are prone to suspend our disbelief for an hour or two and cry over a hunk in a huge headpiece who is pretending to be a lion. And yet, theatre this intimate, theatre that is capable of resonating with its audience to this extent can be completely enthralling. What is more – although this word may have completely lost its meaning at this point – this theatre is relatable.

When most roles are written for younger women and the best middle-aged female actors can hope for is a noble mother or faithful spouse, Bird’s piece portrays Julie only at the very start of her journey. Julie explores, plays and makes mistakes – she is alive. She learns a lesson and discover something about herself – something that is, admittedly, a tad naïve and quite “hip” and “empowering” – something that resonates, nevertheless. And not only with its target audience of (presumably) other middle-aged women who are “not ready to be put out to pasture yet”; I’d daresay it has a potential to resonate with every audience member.

A family show it is not, though. Sexual references are persistent throughout the entire seventy minutes. Although far from obscene, they are, indeed, quite daring. And usually very, very funny.

Debbie Bird is a remarkable performer and a skilled playwright. Alongside precise direction from Mark Farrelly, Buzzing is brought to life with a detailed and clever script, although the pacing near the end could have been improved. But it is her personality and acting that shines brightest – we cry with her, we laugh with her, and, most importantly – we feel with her.

 

Reviewed by Dominika Fleszar

 


Buzzing

Bread and Roses Theatre

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
The Mind Reading Experiments | ★★★ | May 2019
The Incursion | ★★½ | July 2019
Coco’s Adventures | ★★★ | September 2019
Room Service | ★★★★★ | September 2019
The Bacchae | ★★★ | September 2019
Trial Of Love | ★★★½ | September 2019
By The Light Of The Moon | ★★★★ | October 2019
Smashing It! | ★★ | October 2019
The Gravy Bunch | ★★½ | October 2019
The Signalman | ★★★ | October 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

The Silence of Snow

The Silence of Snow
★★★

Jack Studio Theatre

The Silence of Snow

The Silence of Snow

Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 14th March 2019

★★★

 

“the play does not move its audience as much as it should, though it certainly entertains”

 

On entering the Jack Studio Theatre, the stage is bare but for a spotlit figure in a white hospital gown that the lighting tinges blue. It’s late afternoon, we soon learn, in Muswell Hill and there is a gas fire. Patrick Hamilton is waiting for his last round of electroconvulsive therapy, bottle in hand, as he invites us into his story.

You may know Hamilton for his success as a writer in the early 1900s. The hit plays ‘Rope’ and ‘Gaslight’ were both his, and he penned several successful novels: ‘Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky’, ‘Hangover Square’ and ‘The Slaves of Solitude’, snippets of which we see punctuating Hamilton’s life story. What you may not know is that Hamilton was an alcoholic, and his drinking had a massive impact on his relationships with family and lovers.

Written and performed by Mark Farrelly, a dark life story is told with wit and a love of language. Farrelly frequently addresses the audience directly, knowing nods to a contemporary listener. There is a playful energy to the piece, despite the constant hanging presence of drink which features in both his life and his plays. Farrelly throws himself into the many characters that grace the stage, and is consistently engaging and energised in this one man show.

The portrayals of some of the characters are a bit heavy handed at points, overly emphatic in a way that undermines their truthfulness, and means the play does not move its audience as much as it should, though it certainly entertains. The female characters are given little distinction and are not drawn with sufficient vividness to make them real. From the glimpses we get of them they seem like potentially fascinating characters, whose contributions to this story go untapped. Whilst the drunk scene of verbal abuse is a particularly strong moment in the play in terms of emotional impact, it could be even stronger if we had a clearer picture of those on the other side. The scene also goes on just a little bit longer than it needs to, something that the play as a whole suffers from. The language is incredibly rich and clever throughout. Whilst this seems appropriate for Hamilton’s own taste, and the depiction of a writer’s life, moments of simplicity in both language and portrayal would help root this play in its emotional story.

Full of potential, wit and life, The Silence of Snow needs to strip itself back and find the truth of the narrative and the people involved, so that it really makes the impact the narrative deserves.

The play is dedicated to Tim Welling, who was the first person to read the play but took his life before he could see it performed. As a tribute to this Farrelly runs a collection for MIND after every show, and has so far raised a stunning £7,500.

 

Reviewed by Amelia Brown

 


The Silence of Snow

Jack Studio Theatre until 16th March

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
The White Rose | ★★★★ | July 2018
Hobson’s Choice | ★★★★ | September 2018
Dracula | ★★★½ | October 2018
Radiant Vermin | ★★★★ | November 2018
Sweet Like Chocolate Boy | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Cinderella | ★★★ | December 2018
Gentleman Jack | ★★★★ | January 2019
Taro | ★★★½ | January 2019
As A Man Grows Younger | ★★★ | February 2019
Footfalls And Play | ★★★★★ | February 2019

 

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