Outcast

by | Mar 3, 2022 | Featured, Reviews

A Red Rose Chain production performed at The Avenue Theatre by The Chainers, which is an inclusive youth theatre group for young people that develops their skills and confidence through performance – and it’s completely free (therefore donations very welcome).

The Chainers have written a new script, Outcast, based on the sixth century poem Beowulf. The story follows the hero Beowulf as he strives to protect Heorot in Denmark from the monster Grendel. Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and goes on a mission to find and kill Grendel’s mother as it is believed she is the source of the evil. He succeeds and lives many years getting older and lazier until a dragon appears, causing terror in the land. A new adventure for the hero as he hunts and slays the dragon although he is mortally wounded in the fight. He dies an honoured hero.

The Chainers began writing Outcast at the beginning of the first lockdown and worked together online not only exploring the different ways of storytelling but exploring the concepts within the poem. Firstly, the poem needed to be translated, which they also did.

This isn’t only the story of a hero, Outcast explores not only Beowulf’s journey to protect the Danes from peril, but also the religious uncertainly they face, it is a time where paganism is followed however Christianity is starting to become more prevalent. The Chainers have attempted to also make sense of where the female voice stands in male centric stories and what it’s like to be left behind by society.

These concepts were discussed as an almost side step yet still within the story, being creative and light hearted in how the points were picked up. As the cast were also involved with the writing I feel this added a depth to their performance as the understanding of what they wanted to portray came from deep within all of them and the audience felt it.

The cast took it in turns to play their character(s), or as narrator or as a group narration, whatever and however they did it, it was creative, thoughtful, imaginative and talented.

It was the simplest of sets with minimal props however their resourcefulness and innovativeness in the performances filled any gaps and only enhanced the imagination. Their sounds and movements when they either became the dark critters at night or the trees moving in the woods were wonderful and completely portrayed the angst and fearfulness the characters would have in that situation.

The simple positioning of the cast when rowing the boat across the water was so excellently executed, the group of Elders with their madness and wisdom, the deep hole Beowulf had to decent to reach the lair to find Grendel’s mother – all the elements melded together for an inspired performance.

For a youth theatre production with an interest in history and their level of immersion in the whole process is a credit to everyone involved. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and inspired evening and with a chance to ask questions with the actors and director at the end was a wonderful finish.

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Author

  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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