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It’s New Year so that can mean only one thing: yes as predictable as Foz saying “I’ll just pop to the loo” as you get to the bar, it’s time for that traditional January pastime of the ‘look-back’ over the passing year.
As usual these are presented in the order in which I saw them rather than in order of preference so without any undue delay, prevarication or procrastination, avoiding hindrance, impediment or obstruction, curtailing any attempts at moratorium, adjournment or postponement and simply getting straight down to it without dawdling, lingering or… hang on, Foz is at the bar. Here’s a list.
I’ll start in the same place I did last year which is Jerwood Dance House, home to DanceEast. Butterflies was 2014’s Christmas show but deadlines are such that I saw it too late to include in last year’s list. The life cycle of a butterfly was beautifully outlined by this physical painting of a performance. An interactive delight, it evoked peace and joy in equal measure and it’s theatric effect was such that it ought to be available on prescription from the NHS.
The Only Way is Downton. By the time you read this Downton Abbey will probably be TV history and that presumably signals the end for Luke Kempner’s one-man show. That’s a shame as the pace, timing and exquisite manifestation of character through stance and gesture, when combined with a ludicrous and funny script, brought a life to this show which lifted it way beyond being simply a fan’s indulgence . Easily the funniest thing I saw all year.
The Crucible. Arthur Miller’s centenary was well celebrated in 2015 and the New Wolsey Young Company under the direction of Rob Salmon definitely did their bit with this traditional telling of Miller’s most celebrated play. An absolutely super production which was better than almost all of the professional productions I saw last year.
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Peter Nichol’s play is now nearly fifty years old yet this powerful, distressing and alarmingly funny production by the Gallery Players impressively grappled with the questions it still poses with a tender force which would have done credit to any professional, full-time company. I’d have gone back to see this the very next night and didn’t enjoy anything more all year.
Nursing Lives. If you have never been to a masked theatre performance then make sure you catch a Vamos Theatre performance next time they pass your way. This production was an expectation confounding, enchanting and joyous celebration of memory and the importance places can play in the landscape of an individual’s life.
Bromance. This witty, circus skills celebration of all things blokey opened the Pulse Festival to universal acclaim. The acrobatics and gymnastic skills were excellent but it was a spinning metal wheel which really gave this show it’s edge.
Now Listen To Me Very Closely. Who wouldn’t want to say “I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle” and then fire a NERF gun into someone’s face. Bootwork’s unsophisticated, lo-fi celebration of one man’s obsession with the Terminator films was an immersive riot during which members of the audience got to say and do just that – as well as deliver other classic lines. At times it resembled a team building session delivered by Henry Rollins.
Parkway Dreams. A docu-drama musical about the planning of Peterborough new-town? Sounds woeful doesn’t it? But Parkway Dreams was a peculiarly original and expectation-confounding show which impressively demonstrated the drama, humour and tragedy contained within the most mundane of stories.
Right, that’s last year done. Time to settle down with the last of the Christmas chocs and the 2016 Spring Programme brochures.
Happy New Year.