Thursday, 15 May 2014

'The Believers' Tricycle Theatre ***

Frantic Assembly, stereotypically are one of the countries' most successful physical theatre companies, with such productions as 'Beautiful Burnout' proving to be a sublime performance. However, their current offering in London's Tricycle Theatre, 'The Believers' hasn't got the sparkle that previous productions have done. For me it's quite upsetting. The play written by Bryony Lavery invites the audience into a spooky and fighting atmosphere and it should be. Marianne and Joff, an extremely spiritual couple ask their friends and neighbours Ollie and Maud to dinner and to stay the night. They cordially accept, but they will soon regret their decision as their lives won't be the same again as Marianne and Joff’s daughter is possessed by an evil spirit and anyone in the same room affair should be warned. My advice is simply do not be alone with her as you are not safe whatsoever. The writing by Lavery was not at all thrilling and the narrative didn’t feel well written due to the company’s comprehensive movements that were incredibly executed I must admit. Throughout the performance I began to loose concentration as the apparent horrifying moments did not engage me in the slightest and I found that some of the technical work needed more refinement. ‘The Believers’ transports me to December 2013 when I saw ‘The Woman in Black’ where I again didn't find the scary elements that spine-tingling. The play was not Frantic Assembly and Bryony Lavery’s spectacular pieces of work and this saddens me immensely, especially when ‘Beautiful Burnout’ was one of the reasons I wanted to enter the phenomenal world of theatre. I thought that the performances by the whole company were vastly mediocre to be honest and a disappointment for the Olivier Award winning venue. Eileen Walsh as the slightly crazed spiritualist, Marianne was of an acceptable standard of professionalism, in particular the religious scenes and the slight suspension with the harness. Christopher Colquhoun was quite satisfactory as Marianne's husband Joff, unfortunately the dialogue wasn't that appealing and well delivered if I'm going to be frank. Penny Ladyen's portrayal as Maude was vastly adequate and Richard Mylan was reasonable as her spouse, Ollie.  I thought that the director and choreographer by Frantic's Artistic Director, Scott Graham was of a pleasing standard. Paradoxically there could've been more in depth rehearsal time and acting needed a lot more work. Jon Bauson’s design was quite appealing as it was somewhat mystical and allowed us to become intrigued by what's going on or it should have done. ‘The Believers’ was a suitable experience and the annoying schoolchildren in the auditorium made it slightly worse.

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