Tag Archives: Nikita Karia

The Girl With Glitter in Her Eye

★★½

The Bunker

The Girl With Glitter in Her Eye

The Girl With Glitter in Her Eye

The Bunker

Reviewed – 13th January 2020

★★½

 

“Some really vital themes are at stake … but the overall framing and direction lets these things down”

 

We enter the space to ethereal piano playing from Ben Ramsden, who is also the composer of the piece. Dressed in soft blues he echoes the set, designed by Cara Evans: a white chair, white boxes, white coffee cups, white sheet, and blue fringe hanging lightly over a white background. Hanging in the foreground is a beautiful piece, refracting light and so changing colour throughout the show. A good design, although a little distracting considering how little it is interacted with during the show.

Helen (Modupe Salu) is an artist, with one chance to impress an eccentric art director (Naomi Gardener) who wants work that shocks, that reflects her ‘background’, or as Helen translates it, she wants art about trauma. Helen co-runs a cafe with best mate Phil (Anna Mackay), and when Phil shares her own story of trauma with Helen, a story of sexual violence, Helen begs to use Phil’s trauma as the subject of her painting.

There are some really interesting themes in this piece, although perhaps too many at play simultaneously for it to feel cohesive. The way that trauma is exploited in art is discussed, as well as a privileged art world that thrives off this trauma that isn’t theirs. Equally the art world is portrayed as a very inaccessible space, and the barriers to it are clearly displayed. The play talks about sexual violence, and particularly the way it is depicted and discussed, in a really insightful and painful way. Finally it delves into whether you can ever tell someone else’s story, and the repercussions of trying to do so.

The Girl With Glitter in Her Eye is unnecessarily framed by three furies, that the three actors morph in and out of. Unfortunately this device takes us away from the real story of the play, lifts us out of a reality every time we are beginning to care about, and as a spectacle, feels amateurish in the use of vocal sound and movement. It is a distracting choice that doesn’t add anything to the way the story is told. Masha Kevinovna is both writer and director and this is certainly a moment where both writing and direction failed the piece. In general, better pacing in the writing would also have helped lift the moments of comedy earlier on  which frequently fail to land. As a whole the show is lacking a sense of through line, a flow that keeps it all together, keeps it all moving.

The actors are much stronger when playing real people. Modupe Salu delivers a particularly strong performance as Helen, conflicted and passionate. Anna Mackay’s Phil is also lovely, simultaneously hard and vulnerable.

Some really vital themes are at stake in The Girl with Glitter in her Eye, but the overall framing and direction let these things down. A commitment to engaging with these themes in a more immediate way might make it stronger.

 

Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Victoria Double

 


The Girl With Glitter in Her Eye

The Bunker until 1st February

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Funeral Flowers | ★★★½ | April 2019
Fuck You Pay Me | ★★★★ | May 2019
The Flies | ★★★ | June 2019
Have I Told You I’m Writing a Play About my Vagina? | ★★★★ | July 2019
Jade City | ★★★ | September 2019
Germ Free Adolescent | ★★★★ | October 2019
We Anchor In Hope | ★★★★ | October 2019
Before I Was A Bear | ★★★★★ | November 2019
I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me In Half) | ★★★★ | November 2019
My White Best Friend And Even More Letters Best Left Unsaid | ★★★★ | November 2019

 

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Murder on the Dancefloor

★★★

Pleasance Theatre

Murder on the Dancefloor

Murder on the Dancefloor

Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 12th October 2019

★★★

“this is a night of great music, played loud, and more clever physical dexterity than you can shake a stick at”

 

You could argue that not enough is made of the slough of oddness into which university leavers find themselves plunged on graduation. Returning, in many cases, to parental homes and familiar faces who have both not changed and changed very, very much is bound to be unsettling. First world problem it may be (and that does make it a little hard to feel too sorry for Murder on the Dancefloor’s main characters), but certainly one that invokes some flux, and it’s this that this production makes a focus – with a sinister outcome.

We meet the graduates back in their home city, convening around pub quiz machines to swap notes on jobhunting. Ollie Norton-Smith’s script rattles along at such a quickfire pace that it’s sometimes hard to keep up, and occasionally, as the plot unfolds, important twists and turns can be easily missed. The thrust is clear, though; Sabrina, played with great vigour by Phoebe Campbell, is all at sea, back at home in dead-end jobs and living with her hated brother and lecturing dad (Tullio Campanale, who is a quiet hero of the piece here, turning his hand to his two roles with alacrity). Just how lost these post-uni souls are is clear; on noting that it’s sad not to know what happens next, Sabrina tells her friend that it’s a job, a home, a future. ‘But that’s on us’, Bonnie (Francesa Thompson) reflects mournfully.

The choreography of this piece is extraordinary, especially in the tight space of the Pleasance and with audiences wrapped around on three sides – although more could be done to keep sightlines clear for folks sat at left and right. The cast’s running, dancing, flowing around the stage is positively mercurial; props to Zak Nemorin’s dance choreography. The physicality is commendable, and surely absolutely exhausting, but it risks becoming repetitive and the snappy run time here feels right, if nudging towards overlong for what turns out to be a slightly flimsy plot.

Murder on the Dancefloor is billed as a black comedy, and there is the odd laugh, but that doesn’t feel like it quite cuts it as a description. The script isn’t quite funny enough to call this a true comic piece, and lacks the emotional depth to make for truly powerful physical theatre. It’s a shame this falls between two stalls, as there’s much to recommend the night. All the acting and movement on display is impressive, with some clever moments of direction from Ollie Norton-Smith; a scene where Sabrina reminisces over an old photo album is especially neat. And the soundtrack is such a presence as to feel like it’s another character on stage; a Spotify playlist must surely follow.

This is a cast brimming with talent, executing some really notable choreography. Ultimately, their performances are undermined by a flawed narrative, with the closing plot twist so damn silly as to make a bit of a mockery of any moments of emotional heft that preceded it. That said: this is a night of great music, played loud, and more clever physical dexterity than you can shake a stick at. And there’s a lot to be said for that.

 

Reviewed by Abi Davies

 


Murder on the Dancefloor

Pleasance Theatre until 13th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Neck Or Nothing | ★★★★ | April 2019
Night Of The Living Dead Live | ★★★ | April 2019
Don’t Look Away | ★★★½ | May 2019
Regen | ★★★ | May 2019
The Millennials | ★★½ | May 2019
Kill Climate Deniers | ★★★★ | June 2019
It’ll Be Alt-Right On The Night | ★★★★ | September 2019
Midlife Cowboy | ★★★ | September 2019
The Accident Did Not Take Place | ★★ | October 2019
The Fetch Wilson | ★★★★ | October 2019

 

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