Tuesday, September 29, 2015

'The Curious Incident'

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre, London
Performance: Tuesday 7th July 2015
Cast: Siôn Daniel Young (Christopher Boone), Rebecca Lacey (Siobhan/ensemble), Nicolas Tennant (Ed/ensemble), Mary Stockley (Judy/ensemble)
Director: Marianne Elliott

When I received Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Christmas years ago, it took me two days to finish it. I thought it one of the most intriguing novels I had ever read, one of a kind, and I readily recommended it to friends and relatives. Therefore I am slightly ashamed of how long it took me to go and see the stage production even after it received top reviews from every imaginable direction. I just never seemed to get round to it. The novel (and play) tells the story of 15 year-old Christopher who has Asperger’s syndrome. He excels in maths, and likes taking care of his pet rat, Toby. When the neighbour’s dog, Wellington, gets killed, Christopher decides to investigate the case and finds out more than he was perhaps supposed to.

We had seats in the front row of the balcony and the view was absolutely fine. There was nothing we could not see from where we were sitting. I have a feeling the view would have been more restricted from the rear stalls due to the overhang. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play).jpg

The plot of the play is faithful to the original work. The novel isn’t particularly big and I felt like the play had been stretched out a little unnecessarily (it was as long as a musical!). Particularly the second act was very slow-paced. That is my biggest criticism.

The set is genius and the miniature railway Christopher builds throughout the first act provides continuity and a spectacular finish to the first act both visually and in aiding the story. I have nothing but outmost respect to the ASMs on this show as a single misplaced piece of train track could cause the entire first act to go horribly wrong.

The show is heavy on physical theatre and the set effectively consisted of a few white boxes which were moved around by the actors to create different scenes from a train to Christopher’s neighbourhood.

I was incredibly impressed with Young’s portrayal of Christopher. Playing a character with Asperger’s syndrome convincingly is challenging to begin with no to mention that Christopher hardly leaves the stage. Luke Treadaway who originated the role won the 2013 Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Musical Theatre Society - Fame and Jekyll

I have served in the committee of the University's Musical Theatre committee this year as Secretary and although that enables me to audition and perform in shows like any other member, I decided to focus on backstage work in the second semester instead. I helped in designing, sourcing and making props, costume and scenery for the two shows performed by the Society, Fame and Jekyll & Hyde.

In terms of style they were obviously very different shows. Fame following the 80's fashion trends for the students and teachers dressing up in more old-fashioned clothing made the acquiring of costumes relatively easy. Everyone has something 80's in their wardrobe be it colourful leggings or a turtleneck top. Jekyll & Hyde was more of a challenge as steam punk was the decision of the director. We ended up raiding charity shops and altering more modern items of clothing to fit the time period where we were unsuccessful in finding suitable items at budget.
Below the posters for the two shows as well as a few photographs from the performances. Poster design by Sarah Melville and photography by Andrew Worsfold and Richard Cobden.

On the performance nights I ended up assisting with sound as, particularly in Fame, there were a total of 21 microphone changes over the course of the show (we only had four radio microphones at our disposal). For Jekyll & Hyde we managed to acquire an additional four meaning every principal could be miked up but supporting characters had to still be rotating microphones. In practice, I sat backstage with some tape helping performers in and out of microphones. It linked in nicely with my technical theatre module of the semester also as I had been researching the role of a sound engineer in musical theatre and had assisted my tutor with sound on a university production of Just So.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Back to blogging (aka an update)

Hello, everyone!
I realise it has been over a year since my last post. Wow! 
When I think about it though, I feel like not very much has changed since then as I am still studying music and musical theatre at the University of Chichester. I have had the opportunity to take part in a number of shows and have started focusing more on backstage work rather than performing as I feel it offers more variety. Unfortunately I have not had the chance to go to the theatre very much as a spectator but as I am hoping to slowly ease my way back into blogging, I hope to entertain you with a variety of theatre-related articles. Perhaps beginning with a couple of posts about the shows I have been lucky enough to be involved in this year including Half a Sixpence, Jekyll & Hyde, Picnic at Hanging Rock and currently Sweeney Todd
Please stay tuned :)