THE CATASTROPHE TRILOGY
Lone Twin Tour to 13 May 2010.
Alice Bell 1hr 5min No interval.
Daniel Hit By A Train 1hr No interval.
The Festival 1hr No interval.
Review Mark Courtice 20 March at The Point Eastleigh.
Heroism and generosity in the face of catastrophe.
It’s hard to argue with Lone Twin Theatre Company’s policy of “generosity and optimism”, especially as a performance style of astringent physical virtuosity, and a habit of posing disturbing questions counterbalance any tendency to the saccharine.
The plays in this trilogy cover moments that might be loosely described as when “small shifts in circumstances of equilibrium provoke sudden changes in behaviour” (as the programme notes describe the eponymous theory). Alice Bell, the most substantial, is the story of a woman who crosses ideological and tribal barriers to build a new life which is shattered in a moment when an old school friend recognises her in the street.
Told just using “people, musical instruments and chairs”, with an austere set consisting of just a bright green strip of floor, it’s the splendid performers who carry us in to this story, whether playing a quintet of ukuleles or describing a busy life with a splendidly complex dance. There’s a bravura sequence of economy and power as Alice learns the detail of her new identity .
Daniel Hit By A Train feels drier and more theoretical. Here the citations on a Victorian memorial to 53 acts of bravery form a text, which the performers act out. There is still the astonishing energy, and the use of songs to underline even mundane moments and it is well done. The astringency is in the dramaturgy – the hero as figure of fun is an intriguing response to the material, and the constant repetitions make sacrifice banal.
The Festival is more domestic. Forty-something Jennifer takes her elderly mother to a beach where the humpback whales pass by each year. The local hostelry puts on a party to celebrate this event and she meets a man. As they each go their separate ways (he North, she South) they agree to meet again the following year. In the meanwhile she looks at her life in a kind of reckoning, showing us her mother, friends and workmates. It’s truthful, clever and charming.
Watching all three parts of the trilogy (even if you catch one of the one day performances) involves a considerable investment of time; interesting, engaging and very skilful performers present these “small shifts” to us but their very smallness may mean watching one or two is a better option.
Alice Bell/Daniel Hit By A Train:
Created and performed by:
Antoine Fraval, Cynthia Whelan, Molly Haslund, Nina Tecklenburg, Paul Gazzola.
Lighting (Alice Bell): Joe Mapson.
(Daniel Hit By A Train): Sarah-Jane Grimshaw.
The Festival :
Created and performed by: Antoine Fraval, Guy Dartnell, Molly Haslund, Nina Tecklenburg, Paul Gazzola, Nadia Cusimano.
Lighting: Mark Webber, Rebecca Curtis.
Musical Director: Paul Dale-Vickers.
For all three:
Artistic Directors: Gary Winters, Gregg Whelan.
Dramaturg: David Williams.