Sprint Festival - The best of the rest

Review in Issue 13-2 | Summer 2001

In the first half of a double-bill, Blind Summit Theatre presented The Spaceman, in which two rocket scientists (Nick Barnes and Mark Down) sent a puppet astronaut into orbit. The show started well and had good visual ideas – especially the space trip itself, with its numerous comedic props – but it ran out of steam and felt a little stretched out. The second half of the double-bill, Clownagogo's Competition, was simple and effective clowning, with two female performers of vastly different sizes playing tricks on each other in a sports locker room – only to find eventually that they are two halves of a three-legged race team. Natasha Bolonkin and Mira Shapur shared good comic timing and created a wonderful mess with talcum powder and water.
Toby Mitchell

Not a dumb blonde but a holy fool... Clowns Anonymous' new show An Audience with Marilyn was a hard act to pull off – a one-woman exploration of the Monroe myth that relies extensively on audience participation. It didn't quite work – placed in a theatre setting when it would seem to be more suited to cabaret – but came close. Performer Helen Cockin was, as always, delightful: balancing the holy fool's supreme wisdom with the clown's naive vulnerability in her characterisation of everyone's favourite blonde bombshell. Every cliché and projected fantasy about Marilyn was explored and used. Given the reluctance of the audience to join in, she played on the pathos of rejection and loneliness. Freed from the constraints of time (which is of course only relative, as her alleged friend Einstein pointed out) Marilyn takes revenge on Elton John with a rewrite of his rewrite of 'Candle in the Wind' – one of the highlights of the evening.
Dorothy Max Prior

Labyrinth are a young theatre company typical in many ways of the new breed – they work with a pre-written script but have a strong visual and physical input in their production. In The Jungle they integrate Kipling's text with robust physical performance to create a studio production that is not ground-breaking but more than competent. A strong visual setting (wooden chest, ropes and ladders); performers who are equally comfortable with spoken text and acrobatic choreography; simple but effective costumes and props. The Jungle focuses on Mowgli's rite of passage from boy hood to adulthood – making it an ideal production for a young audience. Labyrinth are fervently committed to education work, and this commitment, together with their ability to deal with classic texts in an interesting way, could lead them in the future to occupy the same sort of role as companies such as Théâtre Sans Frontières. Only time will tell, but for a company that has just celebrated its first birthday they are carving a niche for themselves very successfully.
Dorothy Max Prior

Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-2
p. 26