Tag Archives: theatre

Our Anniversary :: Kynren

That evening we headed over to the Kynren site. The seating area, known as the ‘Tribune’ is about a 10/15 minute walk from the carpark, but it was very clear all the way down and quite a lovely view. We’d been advised to wear comfortable shoes and warm clothing, and so found the walk quite pleasant!

Anniversary Trip 4 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Anniversary Trip 6 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Anniversary Trip 5 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The volunteers on the site were absolutely amazing. All of them had such lovely welcoming attitudes, actively trying to be helpful, which is definitely not always the case with events like this! They’d obviously been very well trained, and enjoyed being a part of the Kynren process – it definitely added to the experience for us.

Anniversary Trip 7 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The Tribune was a large wooden grandstand, and outside were a great selection of food and drink vans and bars. The atmosphere was great, everyone seemed to be a little bit buzzy waiting for the show to start, and Mr H and I definitely enjoyed taking a step back and doing some quality people watching! We went through to our seats about 40 minutes before the show started.

Anniversary Trip 8 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Unfortunately, this is where things started to go a little wrong. I’d paid for swanky cushioned seats, and the view was excellent as we were really central. The seats themselves, however, were all jammed in next to each other, so I was practically cuddling Mr H *and* the random gent on the other side of me. This might have been ok for a short show, but having gotten into our seats early, it was Squishville for over 2  hours, which was uncomfortable to say the least!

Anniversary Trip 9 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I couldn’t take any images of the show, and I will try and avoid spoilers, although can you spoil a show about the history of Britain, considering it’s already happened? I digress.

I will say a couple of things though. The show was visually stunning, in fact I don’t think I’ve seen anything so impressive in live performance – ever. They made full use of the landscape in which they were set, as well as the lake, and lots of technology.

There were, however, some parts of the show that I was hugely disappointed with. All the audio was pre-recorded. All of it. There was no live audio in the show at all. I can almost understand why they did this, being an outdoor show in England, but it was hugely disappointing and I felt like it almost encouraged the performers to mime more. Their physical performance became a little over-egged to match the audio, rather than them being extensions of one another.

Anniversary Trip 10 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The show touches on events of historical importance, such as the mass migration of Asian people to the area. This was represented in the show by Bhangra dancers, but it was disappointing to see that these were obviously not trained Bhangra dancers, and in most cases from what I could see, weren’t actually Asian people. I think it’s a sensitive topic but I thought it was odd – sure in the huge area that is the North East there is at least one Bhangra dancing group? It would have been more effective, more impressive and driven the point home more about the diversity of the area if the performers had been more diverse.

The other disappointing element was the Colliery band. They mimed. It was obvious. So instead of following the story I was thinking “Why are they miming?” and cringing. I don’t think I need to say much more than that!

Overall, the show was good fun, and as I’ve said, it was visually spectacular. I’m not sure though, that it was really worth it considering the distance we drove. If it was in Kent, I think I would recommend it, but if you’re not in the North East I think you will be disappointed. They very nearly got it right, but for me as a theatre-lover, the small things they got wrong added up to a night that was just a bit off target.

Our evening went fully pear-shaped after that, as our taxi driver didn’t wait for us and we ended up having to wait for nearly 2 hours to get back to the hotel! Luckily the ladies we ended up sharing with were so hilariously drunk that it took my mind off it!

~

We did have a lovely weekend all in all though, and it was great to see some more of the country. I’d like to spend some more time up North, and even head out to Beamish Museum, which we heard great things about but ran out of time for.

Have you seen Kynren? What did you think?

This Week I Was Grateful For #6

Avenue Q Rehearsals Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

 

I’ve been a pretty lucky lady this week. My freelance writing gig has stepped up a notch, and as a result I got to attend the press day for the upcoming tour of Avenue Q.

I spent a day in London watching rehearsals, interviewing actors and soaking up the Music Theatre atmosphere. It’s been a while!

Although it’s a new challenge in a year of many challenges, sometimes taking a risk rewards you in really fun ways.

Have a great week guys!

The Rest Is Silence

Last night the BF and I went up to Hammersmith to see The Rest is Silence, a new imagining of Hamlet by dreamthinkspeak. This theatre company is significant for us, because the BF and I performed in their show Don’t Look Back when they came to Perth in 2008, for the Perth International Arts Festival.

I remember seeing him in our dressing room – there was an enormous one for the ladies and a petit one for the boys. We all wore top hats and tails, and I recall sneakily seeing the (future) BF slip his skinny legs into his trousers. My immediate thoughts (I remember to this day) was ‘Damn. He has the whitest, skinniest legs I have ever seen’. Who says romance is dead? We didn’t end up getting together until about six months later, but I’ve always remembered that first pervy moment of mine.

So we journeyed forth to our ultimate destination of Hammersmith, take a brief but essentially incorrect pause in Ealing Broadway. Which is nowhere near Hammersmith. I blame Google Maps. The BF blames me. This resulted in us literally running to the Riverside Studios once we made it to the right tube station, because the show only had an 8 minute allowance for latecomers. Made it by the skin of our teeth.
Love the movement of the train. Perfectly timed by yours truly.
The audience stood in the middle of the studio, with the stage surrounding us, and back in with glass. It was pretty much the ‘best bits’ of Hamlet, where all the juicy things happened. Really interesting staging, with it spilt into seven or eight cells. The actors would move from cell to cell, often in blackout, so that they would magically appear on the other side of the room when the light came up again in their new location.
Highlights: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Bloody hilarious with a wonderful English aesthetic of tweed and bow ties.
Lowlights: Hate to say it, but I found Hamlet to be wholly unsympathetic. The most interesting part of Hamlet is the question of whether he is still pretending to be mad, or whether he’s actually plunged into madness after all. In this show, there was no question of him being deeply disturbed. But I felt isolated by it. I couldn’t give a shit that he’s mourning his father – he’s just being a spoilt brat and essentially a prick to everyone he knows. But maybe I’m being to harsh.
I’ve since spoken to other people who have seen the show, and the staging of it bothered them much more than it did me. I can understand though – sometimes you would walk over to view one cell, and as soon as you got there, another bit of action would occur in the direct opposite location. Bit frustrating, but possibly inviting the audience to feel the growing frustration of Hamlet? I don’t know if it was intentional, but as I said, it didn’t bother me too much. It was kind of excellent to be able to walk around the space so freely, whenever the hell you wanted to. Having said that, 90 minutes is a long time to stand up, and a couple of seats à la art gallery style wouldn’t have gone amiss.
I really enjoyed coming to see the newest dreamthinkspeak show. Tristan Sharps (AD) has a distinctive style and it’s familiar to me, and almost a homecoming. I’ll definitely be following them in the future.

Home is Where

Had a textersation with the BF this evening, and we discussed our dream of having a business together. We’re both obsessed with Grand Designs, and for the longest time, I’ve wanted to build houses. To renovate houses.

This picture, from my new favourite blog atetc, just popped up on my dashboard at exactly the right time. I’m going through a quarter life crisis, and secretly thinking whatingodsnamedoiactuallythinkimdoingwithmylife. Is architecture the answer? Is property development the answer?

Am I selling my soul by thinking about doing something that will make me money? Am I even allowed to not do theatre? I don’t even know. But I look at that picture and I think, bliss.