Friday, 20 February 2015

Choirplay and Breakfast Hearts @livetheatre

Along to see a couple of excellent and thought-provoking plays at Live Theatre this week. Written by Robin French and directed by Melanie Rashbrooke.

Choirplay presents a wry dig at consumerism. Society’s individuals were blended to become a chorus of voices as they searched for fulfilment of true happiness.

It's a cleverly arranged piece, which has a sort of flat pack format, where the words and sequencing can be re-arranged to suit the situation.

Indeed, as audience, we were asked to fill in little forms with those stubby pencils, like the type you get in a furniture warehouse, to add our own modest component to the production.
An ensemble cast of Steven Blackshaw, Glen Collier, Jessica Dawson, Amy Foley, Chris Foley, Zoe Hakin, Stan Hodgson,Katie Powell and Alex Tahnée riffed from one another. Parts were in unison, others individual and some of the phrasing sliced into individual words spoken around the group.

Despite this unusual delivery, it was clear to understand whilst packing many consumerism and lifestyle related ideas into a short duration. Some of the thoughts take longer to process than the play's speedy pace. I'm still musing some of it 24 hours later, but I guess that is a good thing.
I'll happily see this again, and thoroughly enjoyed the liveliness brought to the piece by the cast.
Breakfast Hearts was an altogether different kind of play, using a stark minimal set and a kind of hyper-reality to describe a series of situations.

There were some ideas across from the first play that slid quietly into the second one, but this only added to the fun of what was a very dark comedy exploration of human nature.

Reminding me of that Beautiful South track, two couples slice across one another in a dark and offbeat comedic exploration of the need to be loved.

The casting for this was a subset of the earlier cast comprising Alex Tahnée, Stan Hodgson, Katie Powell, Steven Blackshaw, Chris Foley and Amy Foley.

The four main characters pinpointed recognisable human conditions, deploying whacky situations to illustrate varied life moments. Even the amateur magic was a metaphor and took the interactions to whole other places. There were many bursts of laughter and recognition from the audience as erstwhile domestic situations played out.
Notable also was the gusto of the cast as they handled both parts of the evening. There was a sheer energy to both the shows which Live Theatre should be pleased to be cultivating with this type of new production with its different edge and ascending talents.

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