MADE UP: Devised by Emily Holyoake and Alexis Tuttle, Written by James Yarker
Birmingham Rep 14 – 21 May
Runs: Approx 70m, no interval
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 16 May 2016
A made up play about make up, and about the make-up of women and how they’re made up.
This play is an ingenious, multi-layered exploration of womanhood. Built around the relationship between a rising film star and her make-up artist, the two actors slide in and out of a range of people and characters in their lives. While make-up creates character for the film star, so make-up creates people in the world of the play. Character becomes a metaphor for people, make-up transitions smoothly between the real, the imagined, and, well, real make-up.
If this sounds complicated, in concept it is – multi-layered and revealing. But the cleverness of MADE UP is that in the execution it is simple, natural and very gentle. A range of relationships of love, blood-ties, and friendship are gradually revealed. So at the end, we really care; which is frequently the mark of a good play.
Two lovely performances from the two actors, Emily Holyoake as Kate, the actor, and Alexis Tuttle as Sue, the make-up artist. James Yarker directs with sensitivity to scene and context. An additional delight is the work of make-up designer, Andrew Whiteoak.
These are first performances of this play. Two things might be thought about, should it be developed further. Additional clarity over character changes would help us grasp the nature of the play, particularly early on. And at times, it was simply not possible to hear what was being said, the dialogue, while intimate, was pitched so low. If these could be addressed, enjoyment of this very clever and loving play would be enhanced.
Emily Holyoake: Kate
Alexis Tuttle: Sue
Directed by: James Yarker
Make=up Design and Devised by: Andrew Whiteoak
Music and Sound: Nina West
Additional Text: Craig Stephens
Soudtrack Voices: Craig Stephens, Jessica Coller, Ella Speirs, Wayne Matley
Design: Harry Trow
Video: Oliver Clark
Lighting: Simon Bond
Costume: Kay Wilton