Why Can’t We Live Together/Somniloquy/?How to Begin
(Hotbed Festival)

Theatre 503,
Battersea Park Road,
SW11 3BW

7.45pm Tues to Sat; Suns 5pm

Runs: 2hrs incl 15 min internal.

TICKETS: Box Office: 020 7978 7040
online: www.theatre503.com

Review: by Carole Woddis of performance seen Oct 16, 2013:

With new writing festivals sprouting in all directions, this double-bill comes via the Cambridge Hotbed summer festival of new writing presented by Menagerie Theatre Company. And a humdinger it proves to be, too.

Actually, it’s three plays led by Steve Waters’ hour long Why Can’t We Live Together? followed by the two shorts under the title of What’s Up Doc? Intriguingly, both the short plays are science led.

Craig Baxter’s Somniloquy is about dreaming and sleep disorders, Hisham Matar’s How To Begin a sort of exploration of obsession, although Matar himself describes it in different terms: how difficult it is for us to know ourselves or anyone else and our drive to constantly start over and begin again.

Matar and I may differ on the meaning of the play. What I found most thrilling about it was his style. Apparently a 2006 Man Booker nominee for his novel In the Country of Men, How to Begin rattles off the stage with all the absurdist energy and gusto of Ionesco. In an age dominated by tv realism, Matar’s surreal, jumping, dialogue may at times be inscrutable but as performed by Mark Oosterveen, its elan and oddity precisely make it a joy and thrillingly refreshing change.

Craig Baxter’s Somniloquy also surprises. Jasmine Hyde lies vertical in a perspective tilting bed, wired up as a patient who thinks she doesn’t sleep well. Instead, in a vivid stream of consciousness – that owes much to Beckett’s Not I – alternating with bouts of `rational’ wakefulness preoccupied by her job opportunities, Baxter entertainingly gives the lie to her fears. It’s a brilliant piece of drama, cunningly written, and beautifully played by Hyde.
As you’d expect of Steve Waters, his one-act `Scenes from a Marriage’ exploration of modern marriage showing us a young couple falling apart against a backdrop of events such as 9/11 and 7/7 is wonderfully observed, assured and sad. Hyde is especially memorable as the wife, unnerved by Cambridge greyness and unchangeability. Oosterveen a husband bewildered by his own and his wife’s oscillating emotions.

Sharp, minimalist but stylish productions by Paul Bourne. A truly gratifying, triple triumph.

Why Can’t we Live Together?
By Steve Waters

Performed by: Jasmine Hyde and Mark Oosterveen
Directed by: Paul Bourne
Designed by: Nicky Bunch

What’s Up Doc?
A pair of short plays, inspired by collaboration with Thought Leaders

By Craig Baxter
Collaborator: Prof Richard Horner, Prof of Medicine & Physiology at University of Toronto
Performed by: Jasmine Hyde
Directed by: Paul Bourne
Designed by: Nicky Bunch

How to Begin
By Hisham Matar
Collaborator: Dr Devorah Baum, Lecturer in Eng Literature & Critical Theory at the University of Southampton
Performed by: Mark Oosterveen
Directed by: Paul Bourne (originally directed by Patrick Morris)
Designed by: Nicky Bunch

Menagerie’s Hotbed Cambridge Festival of New Writing ran at Cambridge Junction from July 11-14, 2013.
For more, see www.menagerietheatre.co.uk

2013-10-21 12:10:32

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection