Tag Archives: Temi Wilkey

Act & Terminal 3 -4 Stars

Terminal

Act & Terminal 3

Print Room at the Coronet

Reviewed – 5th June 2018

★★★★

“‘Terminal 3’ is a triumph, eerie and tender, utterly human even at its most abstracted points”

 

Lars Norén is celebrated by many as Sweden’s greatest living writer, and the Print Room at the Coronet stages a double bill of his two shorter plays, ‘Act’ and ‘Terminal 3’, translated by Marita Lindholm Gochman.

‘Act’ is about the relationship between State and terrorist. Originally set in 1970s post-war Germany, the play is based around the incarceration of Ulrike Meinhof, but director Anthony Neilson has removed these references, and instead places the play in a dystopian future America, following a second civil war, complete with a Texan physician brilliantly embodied by the enigmatic Barnaby Power. Whilst this is a good idea in practice, the only reference we have for this is visual, and the reality of this is a lack of clarity that leaves the audience in a continual and unresolved quest for context. A competently done piece fuelled by Power’s performance in particular, it has promise, but due to its lack of clear placement, it seems to float, making the moments of discomfort easier to disengage with, and the overall impact severely lessened.

‘Terminal 3’ is a triumph, eerie and tender, utterly human even at its most abstracted points. Fog steams out over the audience, drowning us momentarily. Two couples wait. She is waiting to give birth, He at her side, whether she wants him there or not. Woman and Man wait to identify a body. Birth and death are directly aligned, Prosecco and flowers are proffered against a background of sobs. All four actors excel, distinct in their characterisations but equally adept in creating a coherent whole, not a weak link among them. Moving and disturbing, but laced with a desperately dark humour, the beauty and skill of Norén’s writing shines through across both pieces, but particularly in this latter one.

The design by Laura Hopkins across both pieces is consistently fantastic. The stage of ‘Act’ is a busy one on the periphery, bulk packages of Marlborough cigarettes and Coca Cola cans, a running machine, a mattress, a camping chair made out of a faded American flag. The central stage is bare apart from a single chair, hemmed in by lights – “there’s never any darkness,” M says of her cell. ‘Terminal 3’ splits the stage in two, one corner filled with flowers, the opposite corner with candles. The stage is divided by a semi-transparent screen, that turns as the space changes. Here, Nigel Edwards’ lighting design really comes into its own, unafraid to leave us in darkness, playing with shadows, lights that throb and stutter, a truly creative design that allows the space and the atmosphere to be reinvented over and over.

Seeing the plays alongside each other creates a lovely opportunity to directly compare the works and to begin to acknowledge themes in Norén’s work and way of thinking.

This is a double bill as it should be: beautifully written, beautifully designed and fantastically performed.

 

Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Tristram Kenton

 


Act & Terminal 3

Print Room at the Coronet until 30th June

 

Related
Previously reviewed at this venue
The Comet | ★★★★ | March 2018

 

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Review of Pecs: The 80s Show – 5 Stars

Pecs

Pecs: The 80s Show

Soho Theatre

Reviewed – 5th December 2017

★★★★★

“To be daring in Soho is certainly not an easy feat, but Pecs manages to bring something new and different to an inundated fringe market”

 

I was expecting Pecs to be just like any other cabaret show; dance routines, stand-up comedy, lip syncing and live music; but the drag king aesthetic and the political undertones permeating the piece demonstrate a thoughtful and frankly unmissable night of promotion and activism. Pecs isn’t simply a happy jaunt into eighties nostalgia, it makes witty and relevant links to eighties politics and events, encouraging the audience to foster their own inner punk rock spirit and make a difference outside of the boundaries of the Soho theatre.

Pecs features nine drag kings who, throughout the evening, perform a number of acts ranging from live music to stand up comedy. The calibre of performance is excellence, truly drawing on the showmanship demonstrated by some of our much loved pop-icons, we meet with fantastic impressions of Bowie, Prince and George Michael. The chorus lip-sync numbers are flawlessly choreographed with the necessary cheesy dance moves, bringing back a time of fun and shameless narcissism that is instantly recognisable. The live music performances are phenomenally performed, with particular mention to the opening number, a remix of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody; my only issue to raise is a couple of audio faults that occasionally undermined the fantastic vocals of the cast.

With only moveable set and props, narrative is provided by the show’s compere, Cesar Jently (Kit Griffiths). Pulling apart ideals of white masculinity, Griffiths gives a fantastic and empathic performance, reading and responding to the audience as well as any MC should and seamlessly tying the acts together with a through line of comparisons between eighties sociopolitical events and those of the modern day; the Brixton riots, the AIDS Crisis and Margaret Thatcher are all invoked.

For me, the most striking moment of the piece was the ‘Black Power’ act by Drag King Cole (Temi Wilkey). Leading us through a montage of protest, government speeches, rap lyrics and police audio footage, Wilkey brought modern day racial politics and prejudices to the forefront of the piece with relentless courage, leaving much of the white middle-class audience of the Soho theatre speechless. The boldness with which this performance takes place is truly stunning, withdrawing from the previous tongue-in-cheek comedy around masculinity and prejudice, the audience are thrown into the realities of our current political climate and the consequences that follow.

To be daring in Soho is certainly not an easy feat, but Pecs manages to bring something new and different to an inundated fringe market. Under the guise of light humour and cheesy pop, Pecs is a piece that both forces its audience to confront the issues that we hide from and empowers us all to put up a fight and make a change.

 

Reviewed by Tasmine Airey

 

 

 

Pecs: The 80s Show

is at the Soho Theatre until 9th December

 

 

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