Daniel DeFoe’s ‘Moll Flanders’

Hi Everyone,

Now I don’t normally do this right at the beginning of a review, but please before you read this go and get tickets for this show! Was Absolutely brilliant!

Right now I’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the review of ‘Moll Flanders’.

‘Moll Flanders’ based on the novel by Daniel Foe is about the life of young ‘lady’ during 1683 London. The story talks about her rather miraculous life, and what she has to go through during that time.

This is one amazing story! accompanied by the absolutely amazing cast, set design, lighting, costume everything really. When I got to the theatre I had bought myself a drink and some sweets, but not once did I touch them, as I was so engrossed into the show and story. There was a great use of light and darkness, the acting by all the cast was sublime. Some of the best I’ve seen in many years.

Photo shows full cast of stage, with the character 'Daniel DeFoe' setting the scene. The light is a mixture of reds and oranges. Daniel is standing centre stage with the title 'Moll Flanders' behind him on a canvas.

There were a few times where the cast one break the cast would break the ‘4th wall’ to encourage the audience and to make them feel part of the show, which I loved and I thought was an excellent touch. The use of light and costume and lighting put together, made the show gorgeous to look at. There are some singing numbers throughout the show, which the cast sang beautifully especially the main leading lady Eva-Jane Willis. She definitely stood out for me during the show.

Moll Flanders (Eva-Jane-Willis) is stnading in a church in a green and gold coat looking up into the distance, wondering what she should do with her life.

Though-out the entirety of the show, you could see that the whole cast had a great deal of fun, and enjoyed themselves immensely. There was a fair number of jokes and ‘gags’ which was a very nice touch and made the show very, very enjoyable!

‘Moll Flanders’ is running at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester form 28th of September until 13th of October! I’ve I can find some tickets, I will definitely be going again for sure!

Onto the ratings then:

People With A Vision Impairment: You will have no problem watching this show. There is a great use of lighting during the show and a great use of colour with the costumes. The theatre is traditional so as it is quite small I would say if you can I would sit in row D or E and you’d be fine.

People With No Vision: Here I think your do fine. There is plenty of dialogue that tells the story and definitely enough to understand what is going on in certain particular scenes. But an Audio Description performance with a Touch Tour is available, so get the website for details.

Honestly, everyone if you have the time to go and see this show then I highly recommend you do! It has an excellent story with an extraordinary cast, and trust me it is not to be missed!!

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic

Song From The Show: ‘London Town’

‘Babe The Sheep Pig’

Hi everyone, and welcome to another review. This time, I went to go and see ‘Babe – The Sheep-Pig’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester!

This is definitely a show for all the family! ‘Babe’ tells the story of a farm pig who dreams of becoming a sheepdog, and all his friends at the farm help him to fulfill his dream. But without some scary things happening along the way.

As usual The Mercury Theatre and their ‘Made in Colchester Production’ didn’t disappoint. The show was fun, lively, and upbeat, there was never a dull moment.

There was a lot of humorous moments both for children and adults alike. As this show has a somewhat small cast, most of them having to play multiple characters or animals. The only person who didn’t was the puppeteer who was operating Babe, along with the actress playing ‘Fly’.

'Fly' the sheep is a black and white sheepdog, and she looking at the audience smiling

Like I said at the beginning, this is a show for the whole family, however, there are some scary scenes that younger children may find too much. But I believe if this is the first time taking your children to the theatre, this would be a good show to start them off with! It has elements of a professional production, and I came away with that feeling, which is good for the adults and parents. But there is no doubt this show is aimed at children. The show has a very good message of friendship for children which is always lovely to see!

Also another thing I wanted to point out whilst I was there, was that The Mercury Theatre have now installed boxes in the auditorium, so you can go and sit with your family or party without having to be around the crowd of people, if your children aren’t a big fan of crowds, or has a visually impaired person, like me you find it difficult to walk about in crowds of people!

Overall, ‘Babe’ was excellent and would thoroughly recommend during the school holidays and summer season!

Picture shows Babe and the farmer meeting for the first time, as they look at each other, under a single white light.

People with a visual impairment: I think your do fine here, there’s plenty of light, throughout the show, and plenty of colour. There are a few scenes which are set at night and are quite dark along with strobe lighting!

People who have no Vision: Again, I think your do fine here too. The show will be very easy to follow without audio description and it is very audible and not so much visually, but if you prefer audio description there is a touch tour and audio description performance available!

‘Babe The Sheep-Pig’ is running at The Mercury Theatre between 27th July – 29th August! If you wish to purchase tickets or find out more about the show. You can do so by clicking Here!

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

Photo of the full cast and Babe, at the end of show with all the cast playing musical instruments and singing and dancing to the final song of the show.

Europe After The Rain!

Hi Everyone,

Coming at you with another review! This is ‘Europe After The Rain’ by Oliver Bennett. It talks about politics and The EU exit vote back in 2016. The story includes four main characters Will, Max, Marta, and Yana. 

The story covers these four characters as Will owns at large house, and one day comes across two refugees who have come into England. As they have no place to stay, he offers for them to come and stay with him. Will has strong views on the now then current British Government and what he feels they should do. Marta and Yana, however, have no interest in the vote, so throughout the first have of the show, Will tries to explain to them, but with little results. The second half of the show then shows an extreme version of what could happen after the vote to leave the Europian Union. 

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Photo Description: Simon Haines (Max) & Natasha Kafka (Marta) looking together at a tablet.

I feel that writer here is not trying to tell the audience his views on what he thinks of the whole subject. But to show a version of what could happen. I personally don’t take much interest in the subject, as I personally struggle to understand it all. But for those who do, I think this show is a show where I think you’re doing to love it or not. The show was performed in the theatre’s studio and not the main Auditorium, so there was very little space, so this was one of those times where I was glad I’m quite a small person! As it was such a small space to work it, there was a lot of realistic features, for example, the use of candles and realistic cigarettes. 

I thought the play was acted very well by all members of the cast. There was a fair amount of humor which was nice from the character Max. There was also a fair amount of strong language in this show too, I thought maybe too much but again added to the realism. You got a real sense that the household was struggling financially, due to the use of some characters using beach chairs and some using plastic and again same with the tableware. 

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Photo Description: Simon Haines (Max) dancing around, hold a bunch of red flowers laughing.

The whole show was also performed on sand, which I thought was interesting. Along with robes hanging down from the top of the studio, I can only assume that was to simulate rain, or maybe walls as it wasn’t really made clear. But was an interesting visual. If you’re looking for something different to go see, this Definitely ticks that box!

People With A Visually Impairment: Your have no problem watching this show at all, I would suggest you get a ticket within the B or C rows of seats to get the best view possible!

People With No Vision; Again you will have no problem here! Most of the story is Dialogue with very little visuals. every now and again a character will light a cigarette or light a candle but it has very little if at all to the story. The use of sound is also very good in this show, so you shouldn’t really have a problem. There is an Audio Description & Touch Tour available though if you want to have descriptions. 

‘Europe After The Rain’ is running that The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from 25th May – 9th June! If you wish to go and purchase tickets, then you can find the link by clicking here!

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

 

‘A Classic Ghost Story’ – Turn Of The Screw

Hi everyone! Here’s to 2018!

For the first show of 2018, I went to go and see ‘Turn of The Screw’ by Henry James’ adapted for the stage by Tim Luscome. This show has been advertised as ‘The Classic Ghost Story’ and that is definitely the case. This is very much a play of despair, unconditional love, and fear!

‘Turn of The Screw’ tells the story of a fifty-year-old governess who is interviewed to take charge of her mistress’s children, for her then to find out she is actually one of two children she used to look after thirty years ago. The play tells the story if the governess’s time at Bly House and it’s haunted past. I enjoyed the show overall, but due to the time period in which the play is set, at times I personally struggled to understand a certain scene, due to the type of language used. This is anything, but a good thing, as it helps set the scene of the period.

A scene from Turn of the Screw by Henry James (adapted by Tim Luscombe) at the Mercury Theatre Colchester. Directed by Daniel Buckroyd. Designed by Sara Parks. Lit by Matt Leventhall.

Description: The Governess & Mrs. Grose looking far into the distance, in the children’s nursery

Throughout the show, there were transitions for the governess (played by Carli Norris) and Mrs. Conray between a past younger version of themselves and the present, and this was brilliantly done. Often when I go and see shows of the same style and layout, this can come across very confusing to the audience. However, in this case, there was no confusion and it was expertly done.

At first, I thought this is being a somewhat quiet show that someone with no vision would struggle understanding the story and what exactly was going on. But actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure there were some parts of the story that I struggled to understand, however, is the show progressed I started to get used to the style and started to understand the flow. There were some key moments, that as an audience member I did not see coming.

A scene from Turn of the Screw by Henry James (adapted by Tim Luscombe) at the Mercury Theatre Colchester. Directed by Daniel Buckroyd. Designed by Sara Parks. Lit by Matt Leventhall.

Description: The Governess sitting in a rocking chair facing forward, looking dazed.

Do not get me wrong, this is not a show for the faint-hearted and does have some loud sounds and flashing lights throughout, and the show has a very dark awareness about it. But this in no way should it take anything away from your show. All the cast were brilliant, and the story was excellently written and directed. I must say, this is not a show for everyone however if you enjoy a traditional vibe of theatre, then I can highly recommend this.

People With A Visual Impairment: I think with the show, not using a lot of lighting, the use of flashing lights and blackouts. I think you may struggle here, the use of Audio Description would be a good choice, along with a close seat to the stage. Please also if you are light sensitive, you maybe want to bare this in mind.

A scene from Turn of the Screw by Henry James (adapted by Tim Luscombe) at the Mercury Theatre Colchester. Directed by Daniel Buckroyd. Designed by Sara Parks. Lit by Matt Leventhall.

Description: A younger Mrs. Conray & her brother playing in the Nursery, she is wearing fairy wings, whilst her brother is wearing a horse head shaped hat.

People With No Vision: On a whole, I think you do fine here, again I think Audio Description is a good choice, however, if that’s not available then I think as long as you can understand some of the period language I think your do just fine. There some visual aids in the show which might not help in understanding the story, e.g. the transitions between the past and the present day, but I think if you go with a sighted friend then you should be okay to watch this without a worry.

‘Turn of The Screw’ is running at The Mercury Theatre from 23rd February until 10th March. But the show is also on a national tour throughout the UK. If you would to see if ‘Turn of The Screw’ is coming to your local theatre, then you can find out by clicking the link below:

Mercury Theatre Tickets Click Here. For all other UK Tour dates Click Here.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

 

Photo Credits: Mercury Theatre & Robert Workmen

Conor McPherson’s ‘The Weir’

Hi again,

Last week I went to go and see ‘The Weir’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! I know this review is a little late in coming as I went to go and see this show almost a week ago. But this show will not disappoint. 

The show I feel is a set of smaller stories, as each character tells a mixture of folklore, fiction, and ghost stories. This show has a  somewhat small cast consisting of Finbar, a man that came across to me as someone who is a member of the wealthy family of the village who had been living there for many years as he seemed to know a lot about the village. You then have Jack and Jim, who are regulars at the Irish pub,  Brendan the pub landlord, and Valerie a newbie to the village, and is on a local retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  

John-ODowd-Sean-Murray-Sam-OMahony-Louis-Dempsey-The-Weir-Photography-by-Marc-Brenner-800x530
Photo Credit: Mercury Theatre & Marc Brenner

I’m going to come out and be honest, after coming home from the theatre I was thinking that this is something which I wouldn’t normally come and see myself. However, as I’ve had a few days to think about it, I’ve changed my mind! This is definitely something I would happily go and see again. Natalie Radmall-Quike’s acting as absolutely brilliant! Her character had a scene where she was really emotional as the scene was of her child. But I felt that I had a real connection to her character. Jack played by Sean Murray, I really enjoyed his acting and accent! He provided the humor through the whole show and I think the audience enjoyed his jokes and humor, not just me. Don’t get me wrong, there were some serious scenes too, but there was a clear definition, and you could honestly feel the pain and emotion all characters were feeling. Would I go and see this again? Yes!! You got a real sense of Irland, the country, the Irish people and the way they live. 

Natalie-Radmall-Quirke-The-Weir-Photography-by-Marc-Brenner-800x530
Photo Credit: Mercury Theatre & Marc Brenner
Sean-Murray-Sam-OMahony-Natalie-Radmall-Quirke-The-Weir-Photography-by-Marc-Brenner-800x530
Photo Credit: Mercury Theatre & Marc Brenner

People With A Visual Impairment: You will have no problems, go and see this!

People With No Vision: I normally would say to you, get Audio Description as this will be a massive benefit. However, with this show, I honestly don’t think you need it here. The story, emotion and acting from all characters and actors will get you through this show without an issue.

‘The Weir’ is now on tour throughout the UK so if you’d like to see when they are coming to a theatre near you, then click here for the English Touring Theatre!

Trailer:

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

The Events

Hi Guys, coming to you with yet another review! Last night I went to go see ‘The Events’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester!

Now this show was somewhat different, in the fact that this was not in the main theatre. This was performed in the Studio at the theatre which is a much smaller space. Initially, It was quite very cosy space but as time when on it became very cramped and I personally found it very difficult to move and in the end I was afraid to move, just in case I accidentally hit the person next to me. I personally think from someone with a Visual Impairment this is not the most ideal space to watch a show because of the very limited space to move. If you are a Guide Dog owner there is very limited space for your dog to sit let alone lay down.

Let’s move on the positives, the acting from both actors was really good, the acting from Josh Collins particularly stood out. The show was very audience interactive, because of the small space all members of the cast and choir would enter and exit the stage through the audience, and even some of the acting and lines were said in amongst the audience which I thought was a nice touch. 

 

Josh-Collins-The-Events-Photography-Robert-Day-2-800x530

‘The Boy’ played by Josh Collins wearing all black clothing and headphones, looking into the distances and saying his lines.

 

Now, reading this you’re probably thinking: ‘Hang on, you haven’t told us anything about the story?’ and you’d be right I haven’t. But as always there is a method to my madness. The story, I found it very difficult to follow and understand. After spending some time thinking about this I think I have worked out why. Throughout the show, it was not very clear to me at least where the scene and characters had changed. Josh Collins, for example, played two different characters ‘The Boy’ and Claire’s partner Katrina. Now, this is nothing against Josh or any of the cast on their acting. But sadly it wasn’t until half way through a scene did I work out that this a new scene with different characters, and therefore this made it very difficult to understand the story.

But having said all that, the bits and pieces that I got about the story are as follows: ‘The Boy’ who to my knowledge has no name, wants to leave his mark on the world and feels that the only way he can do that is either through art or violence, and has he says he was not very much good at art. Therefore he decides to get hold of a gun and go on a murdering rampage and take out a whole choir and theatre teacher Claire. Claire is struggling with her own problems and trying to figure out herself and her faith. 

 

Anna-OGrady-Community-Choir-The-Events-Photography-Robert-Day-3-800x530

‘Claire’ played by Anna O’Grady, wearing a brown and dotted dress looking into the distance with the choir in the background.

 

I personally don’t think this is a show for the average Joe, just someone who enjoys theatre. I think this show is for the more mature theatre-goer who enjoys a deep subject matter, and because of the very deep subject matter, violence and swearing throughout, audience members have to be at least 15 years or older to see this show. 

Onto the ratings then:

People with a Visual Impairment: Assuming the fact that you have booked yourself a close seat to stage you will have no problem watching and understanding this show. The only downside I feel is that there is very, very limited colour throughout the show, the only colour they show in the show is grey so that could produce a problem if you rely on colours.

People Who Have No Vision: I think you will have no problem with this show at all. You might have to concentrate a little harder in terms of understanding the story, but that’s the only negative I see.

‘The Events’ is running from 2nd – 17th June at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester Essex. If you wish to know more about the show and interested in booking tickets, then you can follow this link by clicking HERE.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic 

TheEventsLandscape-800x530

Promotional graphic. A black and white photo of a young girl sitting on a seawall looking out to sea. Written in the sea: “The Event’s by David Greig”.

Lord Of The Dance – Dangerous Games

When I researched the show, like I do for all the shows I go and see. This one seemed different. Last night I went to go see ‘Lord of the Dance – Dangerous Games’ at The Ipswich Regent in Ipswich. If I’m honest after researching the show I wasn’t entirely sure whether I would like it or not. But as you will find out later I definitely did!

‘Lord of the Dance’ is a show that tells it’s story solely through dance. There are no lines or acting involved. I’m going to go out and say this right from the start, this show is one hundred percent a visual show. Sadly you would need some form of vision to really understand this show fully. This is the one main down side, I found out that this show has toured many countries and completely sold out! I would like to think, on knowing how big this show is, they would adapt the show for people with Visual Impairments or someone with no vision. But this I can’t tell you for certain. The only downside of the actual show, I never really understood the story. You could tell there was one, in certain scenes like the fighting scenes for example. But apart for that I didn’t really get the story at all.

Moving on the positives, you could immediately tell the high level of dancing standard that is required of all the dancers in the show, because all were absolutely amazing! You could tell it took years of practice and it definitely showed. The high level of visuals were brilliant! They used two LED screens, one giant screen at the back of the stage and one more towards the front, which was used as a platform which the dancers could dance on. The high definition animations were breathtaking, and really made the show more beautiful.

Michael Flately who is the Creator, Producer and Choreographer, is world famous for his energetic and fast dancing and his shows are always sell outs world wide. I’m going to be honest and say that until now, I have never heard of him before. Now I have become a massive fan and I hope I get to see another one of his shows again. When I researched the show I found an interview that he done a few years ago and he said something that completely sums up the point I’m trying to make very nicely, he said: “I wanted to try and make tap dancing popular again!” and he has certainly done that.

If you have some free time go and see this show you will not be disappointed! For all information on the show and to buy tickets – Click Here.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Trailer Below: