Two emerging theatre companies, containing UEA graduates, graced the garage stage for one night with their debut pieces of new writing ‘LOVE WATCHING MADNESS’ and ‘You Down there and Me Up Here’.
A night of new writing is always exciting. Watching theatre that feels fresh and current can never be a bad thing. Whether it’s of a particularly high standard or not is another matter, but I for one think that if theatre stands any chance of surviving as an art form, as overly dramatic as that may sound, then pushing new writing to the forefront is what is going to help this medium thrive.
But when it’s new writing that really hits the spot – and we all know how hard it can be to reach that sweet, sweet spot – when it hits it, it really hits it. By now, we’ve probably all seen far too many plays that have bored us to tears, but there is still nothing quite like the buzz after having seen a genuinely good one. Good theatre seems to have some intangible, elusive quality about it, and its that mystery that keeps drawing us back in for more.
And this was a double bill that did leave you with that buzzing sensation, that moved us, and gave us tingles and goosebumps.
It’s fair to say that these two shows are very ‘fringe’. And that’s not to negate these shows in any way. When fringe is done right, the bold and experimental qualities pay off. In fact, it’s precisely the stripped back, minimalistic nature of both the shows that really allow them to achieve something exciting.
The double-bill was filled with very ‘wordy’ plays. It was a night of new writing, after all. It’s evident these theatre-makers all have an aptitude for words. Again, not surprising considering they’re all graduates from UEA. Their craft of language allows them to paint visceral worlds; our imaginations activated.
Beginning the evening was LOVE WATCHING MADNESS, a one-woman show, performed and written by Izzy Kabban. The piece depicts the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, extending to wider issues concerning mental health. It is no easy feat to command a stage alone, but she flits between both the mother and daughter with ease, delivering a mature and authentic performance of their tumultuous relationship.
You Down There Me Up Here, the debut show from the company We Talk Of Horses, explored that all too painfully relatable feeling of being in love, and how complex an emotion it really is. This Two-man show, performed by Sam Rees and Pip Williams, follows the journey of two men’s accounts of being in love – one from the perspective of a drug addict, believing he is the rock star Nick Cave, and the other from the case of a hopeless, and slightly neurotic romantic. Their stories meld, and through a series of dream-like, abstract sequences, we are plunged into this rather meta and conceptual world, where nothing quite makes sense. A bit like love, I suppose.
It’s encouraging to see these graduates making theatre outside of university, and this night was a testament to the talent that is emerging from UEA. You can catch We Talk Of Horses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, and check out SpeakUp on Twitter and Facebook to stay in the loop for up and coming performances. This is certainly not the last that you will be hearing from these guys.