Brighton Festival 2017
Using mime, dance, acrobatic and physical theatre techniques from an all-female cast, this fast-paced comedy leads us through an urban jungle of workplace bullying and danger on the street.
Staged in a multi-functional set dressed in grey drapery and designed by Michalis Kokkoliadis, the show fits beautifully with this year’s festival theme of ‘everyday epic’. It begins with a woman experiencing a nightmare commute to work, played by Rosy Roberts with a wide-eyed Stan Laurel ingénue-like quality. Using fast-paced mime, dance, acrobatic and physical theatre techniques, she proceeds to lead us through an urban jungle of workplace bullying and danger on the street in the form of ‘hoodies’, cackling work colleagues and spilt coffee, and finally to her breakthrough.
She is joined by two other performers, Alcina Mendes and Martha Harrison, who play a variety of characters, from elderly women and threatening young men, to abrasive work colleagues – all of whom populate her day and affect her life by creating obstacles and challenges.
The costumes, designed by Bettina John, echo the grey of the set. The women have several costume changes and all are grey, but with flashes of red symbolising changes and leaps of faith – as hopes and bravery surface, grey panels are pulled off a dress revealing more red – and superhero red capes are donned as freedoms are found and realised.
The acrobatics are impressive and form the heart of the piece. The three performers are strong and highly skilled, but occasionally the narrative becomes unclear during extended sequences of acrobatic moves.
Following a hilarious ‘fast-forward’ sequence, there is a wonderful change of pace when an oasis of calm is created during the office ‘lunchtime’; the pace slows down and becomes dream-like, before picking up again and moving towards a glorious Kung-Fu-fighting-dance piece as the main character clears her path to success.
The performers occasionally make sounds but there are no audible words spoken; the piece is complemented by effective use of pre-recorded sound effects in a soundtrack designed and composed by Isa Suarez.
Directed by Lina Johansson, the show was originally performed & devised as an outdoor show in 2016 by Silvia Fratelli, Alcina Mendes and Martha Harrison. In this 2017 tour, Fratelli is replaced by Rosie Roberts, who has stepped into the role with ease and skill.