ORANGE TREE THEATRE FESTIVAL: PROGRAMME TWO
Orange Tree Theatre 1 Clarence Street TW9 2SA In rep to 28 June 2014.
3pm 21, 26, 28 June.
7.30pm 24, 25 June.
Post-show Discussion 26 June.
Runs 3hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 8940 3633.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 17 June.
Theatre in society, as physical performance, with social issues and comedy: a farewell programme seeing the Orange Tree in the round.
Going out in his own style, the Orange Tree’s Sam Walters signs-off with three programmes of work from some of the young directors who developed their skills here. A predictably eclectic season, this second of two evening programmes ranges wide itself. Before the interval two contrasting new works, one openly a ‘work-in-progress’; after, two established pieces by experienced playwrights.
Substantial but not stodgy, it begins with the longest piece, Orlando Wells’ up-to-the-minute political documentary. The four days in Kowloon are spent in initially amateurish spy manoeuvres followed by increasing tension as western media people meet Edward Snowden following his revelations about security services’ surveillance of home populations.
Though the outlines are doubtless true, actual dialogue must be Wells’ own – nobody involved in such hectic discussions over whether or not to publish could remember exactly what was said, and nobody could have recorded it. Although….
Phoebe Barran’s cast give a strong account of all this, before giving way to the shortest, deeply contrasting piece, a group-created movement scene in which five women covering the title’s age-span, hula-hoop around, discard some clothing, feel any spare flesh around their middles, and exult in their bodies’ movement.
The point is that each has its value. Unlike Four Days, which expresses ideas in words, Amy Hodge’s group creation makes physicality its own statement.
In Arlene Hutton’s pre-trial nightmare of a rape victim, Heather Saunders endures inquisition and the attempt to put the blame on her through details of appearance and behaviour. Both performances are fine in Katie Henry’s precise, insistent production, which suffers only when it seeks to underline mood overtly. Saunders is especially impressive, showing innocence under sustained verbal assault.
After which intensity, comic trauma as a 1970s northern artistic commune disintegrates under the strains of self-deceptions and desires. How far away this world seems, as John Terry’s revival catches its humour and tensions.
Joannah Tincey’s taut nerviness and Beth Cordingley’s laid-back self-indulgence are beautifully contrasted, while Paul Bigley’s workman walks comically through it all, free from pretension or anxiety.
Together, directors and casts admirably express the range and individuality of Sam Walters’ playhouse.
Four Days in Hong Kong
by Orlando Wells.
Edward Snowden: Laurence Dobiesz.
Glenn Greenwald: Nicholas Cass-Beggs.
EwanMacAskill: Ken Drury.
Laura Poitras: Karen Archer.
Man in Suit: David Antrobus.
Voiceovers: Martin Miller, Max Dowler, Garrick Hagan, Liza Ross.
Director: Phoebe Barran.
Sound: Davis McSeveney.
7 to 75
by Amy Hodge and the Company, with Melissa Bubnic.
Performers: Simonetta Alessandri, Rohanna Eade, Betsy Field, Stella Nodine, Jessie Richardson.
Director: Amy Hodge.
Additional choreography: Sarah Dowling.
Dramaturg: Lootie Johansen Bibbu.
I Dream Before I Take the Stand
by Arlene Hutton.
He: David Antrobus.
She: Heather Saunders.
Director: Katie Henry.
Sound: Ashley Gadd.
by Stephen Jeffreys.
Stella: Beth Cordingly.
Beth: Joannah Tincey.
Spyvie: Paul Bigley.
Duncan: Paul Woodson.
Murray: Scott Brooksbank.
Design: Sam Dowson.
Lighting: Stuart Burgess.
Costume: Katy Mills.