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Posts Tagged ‘Orpheus’

You can always rely on theatre company Little Bulb to give you something different and imaginative every time you see them – from Greek myth meets Django Reinhardt to a tale about whales to a spoof Victorian melodrama, always with music to the fore. My fourth LB show is about AI and the possible consequences, positive and negative.

Like Wail, about whales, it’s part lecture, part play, part concert. Three scientists / philosophers are joined by an animateur to guide you through a piece anchored in research by the people they represent, but you don’t really know that until the end. They present and dramatise a series of possible future scenarios that make you think about what AI might mean. The performance style is their usual combination of quirky, other worldly, cartoonish and the excellent music moves from A Capella to four-piece rock band.

I didn’t engage with it like their other shows, which I think is to do with structure. I struggled to get into it and it never really grabbed me in the same way the previous shows have, but I very much admired the stagecraft, musicianship and visual aesthetic of it. One of the problems Little Bulb have is following up their huge early hit Orpheus, on a much bigger scale in the Grand Hall at BAC. They are right not to try and match it, and Wail and Extravaganza Macabre were charming chamber pieces. This needs a bit more work to give it both more coherence and more engagement, but there’s much to enjoy as work-in-progress from a truly original and creative company.

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Battersea Arts Centre has responded to its fire last year with enterprise and ingenuity, continuing its work and planning its future rather than mourning its loss. The latest in their exciting new adventure is a open-air theatre in a courtyard hardly anyone knew existed. It’s several stories high, all red brick and white ceramic brick with windows on all sides. They’ve added a false floor with trap doors, a metal gallery with standing places and bench seating and more standing places on the ground floor. It’s atmospheric and intimate and I can’t wait to see more here, but for now the equally enterprising and ingenious Little Bulb are inaugurating it with a delightful spoof Victorian melodrama (in what is of course a Victorian building).

Just three actors (Clare Beresford, Dominic Conway and Alexander Scott, who also devised the show) conjure up the story of a plighted bride and her evil abductor. We also meet maid Bertha and a street urchin (obviously) and his dog. The bride’s father is played by a man plucked from the audience (who moved during the interval, foolishly thinking this would thwart a second act reprise) whilst another audience member gets to bring the rat alive. They move through the space, in and out of doors and windows and trapdoors. They even perform in the window behind the ‘stage’. There’s music, of course, with piano, a trio of horns and bells, and some songs. We played along, hissed and booed and it was great fun.

This is the second small scale Little Bulb show since it’s spectacular Orpheus in the now defunct Grand Hall and I’ve loved them both. I can’t wait for more from the company and more in this terrific new space.

 

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Little Bulb’s Orpheus at BAC – the most extraordinary cocktail of concert and storytelling

Paper Cinema’s Odyssey at BAC – more storytelling, with music and charming lo-tech projections

Mischief’s The Play That Went Wrong at Trafalgar Studios – more laughs in 60 minutes than any other show – ever

Cush Jumbo’s Josephine & I at the Bush – two biographies intertwined in a virtuoso performance

ONEOFUS’ Beauty & the Beast at the Young Vic – two biographies intertwined with a gothic fairytale

PIT’s The Universal Machine at the New Diorama – a timely play with music about Alan Turing

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