Tag Archives: theatre blogger

Circa: Peepshow – Meet acrobat Ela Bartilomo

The Underbelly Southbank festival is in full swing and combines the best of Udderbelly Festival and London Wonderground, to bring you the best in circus, comedy and family entertainment.

Taking over Underbelly’s spiegeltent with a night club vibe is Circa’s Peepshow. Most of Peepshow’s music is an original track written by Ori Lichtik (Batsheeva Dance Company) with an interlude of Sweet Dreams (originally by Eurythmics). Peepshow lets audiences see the world from the other side of the mirror and turns cabaret on its head, literally.

Playing with the extreme physicality of this troupe of phenomenal acrobats, Circa blur lines between movement, dance, theatre and circus. Exploring the concept of looking and being looked at, Peepshow uses circus to explore themes of gender and sexuality on the stage.

Circa presents Peepshow at Underbelly Festival 2018 (Photo by Pedro Greig) (2)
Peepshow’s acrobat Ela Bartilomo |Pedro Greig

Millennial London spoke to one of Peepshow’s performers, acrobat Ela Bartilomo to find out more about the production:

Describe the show in three words.

Perception, Reality, the-space in-between

What part of the show amazes audiences the most?

Whilst the solo moments allow the audience to get to know each performer, and vice versa, the large pyramids of people stacked on top of one another seems to astound the audience. Especially when they appear under the stunning lights designed by Jason Organ.

What do you enjoy about being part of the production? 

There is so much I enjoy about the show – the shift of worlds, the challenging of expectations and the representation gender. Most of all I enjoy having the ability to truly be myself onstage. Though it’s great to step into a show someone else has performed before you and experience their world, there is something awesome about knowing you can show the audience as much of you as you want.

What does being an acrobat as part of Circa mean to you?

Being a Circa acrobat to me means being part of a family with one unanimous goal which is to make our audiences feel something. I am honored to be part of a company that is so respectful, kind and caring to one another, though there isn’t really another way to be in this kind of work. As our director Yaron Lifschitz said, “we are not male, female, young, LGBT, old, experienced, or new; we are all just acrobats, unique acrobats of course, but equal”.

What current themes are reflected in Peepshow? How are they explored?

The biggest subject we explore throughout the show is the way that our society perceives women, and men. Inspired by the world of a Peepshow, where men come to look at women to fulfill their own sexual desires and women come to make money and pay the rent. Through a cabaret/ burlesque inspired first half we portray an image of beauty and desire. However, in the second half of the show, we learn that our perceptions are not our realities and come to the great realisation that the image of sex is a façade, and that sexuality is not what we see when we look for it, but something that we find when we express ourselves. This is where our acrobatics have the ability to be raw and unfazed by any expectations we have set up earlier. In fact, we don’t even give our audience a chance to see the fast-paced toss sequences, or 3 back saults in a row as things move fast, that’s reality.

What do you want the audience to take away from the show?

In an ideal world I would love the audience to look back at the show, obviously impressed by the skills throughout, but more importantly, inspired to look at things differently, and realise that things that conflict our existing beliefs are genuine opportunities. Uncertainty and discomfort should be places to dwell and let your perceptions explore, like visiting a marketplace in a foreign country, our assumptions are our greatest downfall.

 

Circa’s Peepshow runs at Underbelly Festival until 18 August 2018

Inside Pussy Riot | Review

★★★★☆ Les Enfants Terribles, Saatchi Gallery

Inside Pussy Riot is a powerful and relevant immersive production that needs to be experienced.

Inside Pussy Riot - Les-Enfants Terribles - Production Shot
Roseanna Brear| Kenny Mathieson

In all honesty, I was very nervous before going into the play. Having previously read about Pussy Riot and Nadya Tolokonnikova, I couldn’t imagine how this would be turned into an immersive production.

Naturally, when being led into the first room, I was nervous. Surprisingly, Inside Pussy Riot starts out light and funny, when the audience are led into a room and an ‘incapable’ tour guide welcomes everyone. This was great as this made all of us feel more relaxed and it was a nice ice breaker to the experience.

Then we are led into a cathedral and encouraged to take part in a short protest, to show what we believe in. We get caught and arrested, interrogated and sentenced to labour camp and experience things similar (but toned down) to what Nadya went through during her time in the penal colony.

Inside Pussy Riot - Les-Enfants Terribles - Production Shot
Kenny Mathieson

However, having been to other Les Enfants Terribles productions, this one slightly dissapoints. Some things feel a bit forced and not as natural as in previous productions. There are also parts that slow down the story-telling.

Nonetheless, Inside Pussy Riot feels contemporary and right at the time, hinting at a Trump-led America and the Weinstein scandal that led to the uncovering of countless of other sexual abuse cases in the entertainment industry. It sets up the audience with just the right amount of anger before we are encouraged to vocalise our beliefs.

Another great thing is that it feels like a very millennial way of showing people social issues around the world. Instead of reading or hearing about those issues, we get to experience it, which has a much deeper impact. We walk away finding ourselves thinking: Would I stand up for my beliefs? How would I react in the same situation? Would I be brave enough to stand up for myself and for others?

Inside Pussy Riot - Les-Enfants Terribles - Production Shot
Kenny Mathieson

It seems as though the intention was to raise awareness of oppression, the judicial system and injustice, what happened to Nadya and other members of Pussy Riot and how quickly basic human rights can be taken away from you. As well as adding that typical Les Enfants touch of quirkiness to it, this was completely achieved.

Inside Pussy riot is an immersive production that needs to be experienced. It raises attention to important issues and shocks the audience, so be prepared!

Inside Pussy Riot runs at the Saatchi Gallery until 24 December.

@LesEnfantsTerr

 

Stick Man | Review

★★★★☆  Scamp Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre

Sally Cookson directs Stick Man and enchants kids with delightful music, creativity and playful characters.

Stick Man - courtesy of Steve Ullathorne_9
Lara Cowin (Stick Lady Love), Sam Heron (Stick Man) and Alex Tosh (Musician) | Steve Ullathorne

The best-selling adaptation by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler returns to the Leicester Square Theatre for the festive season. 

When Stick Man accidently gets pushed into a misadventure and taken away from his family, he sets out on a long journey back to find his tree and family again. On the way he encounters people and animals that often confuse him with an ordinary stick and he gets lost even more. Will he ever find his way back home?

Children’s laughter echoes through the theatre ignited through the shows comedic value, that even leaves adults chuckling in their seats. The whimsical stage design thrills and engages everyone in the audience, keeping children captivated throughout the performance. 

Stick Man - courtesy of Steve Ullathorne
Alex Tosh (Musician), Sam Heron (Stick Man) and Lara Cowin (Stick Lady Love) | Steve Ullathorne

Sam Heron embodies Stick Man and gives the character a voice that young audiences can interact with, while Lara Cowin plays his wife and other endearing characters. Everything that happens to Stick Man, Cowin conveys with charm and comedy.  

Alex Tosh (Musician) emphasises and compliments what’s happening in the play, with sounds and music. Many things are purely conveyed through music and choreography which sparks imagination and creativity in kids and adults alike.

Stick Man - courtesy of Steve Ullathorne_13.jpg
Sam Heron (Stick Man), Lara Cowin (Stick Lady Love) and Alex Tosh (Musician) | Steve Ullathorne

The show is an hour long which is the perfect amount to keep the children entertained without them becoming bored of sitting still. Every time the young ones engage in the play, many of their faces light up with excitement. It also breaks up the show, so they [the kids] don’t get restless.

This Christmas production fires up children’s imagination with props and loavable characters. A perfect family show to see during the festive season.

Stick Man runs at the Leicester Square Theatre until 7 January 2018.

@stickmanlive 

 

All the Little Lights | Review

★★★★★ Fifth Word, Arcola Theatre

Jane Upton’s ever so important and powerful play is heart-breaking, thought-provoking and cannot be missed.

Esther-Grace Button & Tessie Orange-Turner in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton - credit Robert Day
Esther-Grace Button and Tessie Orange-Turner |Robert Day
In the midst of rubbish, wrappers, empty bottles and fallen autumn leaves just off the railway tracks, three young girls are celebrating a birthday. Joanne and Lisa reunite, while Amy wants to belong. Lisa got out, but now she’s back and their past is haunting her. Where alcohol abuse is celebrated, a life threatening game where entertainment and violence is normal. In a society where the forgotten just want to belong and predators lurk around the corner. When does the victim become the villain?

Tessie Orange-Turner & Sarah Hoare in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton - credit Robert Day
Tessie Orange-Turner and Sarah Hoare | Robert Day
The play makes several important points. No one cares about children without a family, how easy it is to turn villain after being the victim and the horrendous, long-lasting effects of sexual abuse.

In times where you can’t flick on the news without men getting away with saying things like “grab them by the pussy” and making it seem normal, and Harvey Weinstein who uses his powerful position to sexually assault women, this play needs to be seen. It needs to be seen now.

People need to be made to feel uncomfortable, their hearts need to break for the girls and what they’ve had to go through.

Tessie Orange-Turner & Sarah Hoare in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton - credit Robert Day
Tessie Orange-Turner and Sarah Hoare | Robert Day
All three leading ladies, Esther-Grace Button, Sarah Hoare and Tessie Orange-Turner are remarkable. It cannot be easy to convey three forgotten and vulnerable teenage girls, who all have had horrible things happen to them, but Button, Hoare and Orange-Turner take the audience on a dark journey through unimaginable experiences.

Jane Upton’s script, directed by Laura Ford is simple, touching and shocking that will have the audience holding their breaths.

All The Little Lights runs at the Arcola Theatre until 4th November.