Barnstaple Theatrefest 2013
A study of paranoia and fear using Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. A production that is jam packed with ideas and styles of delivery; puppetry, live music, silhouette, shadow puppetry, choreography and strong characterisation.
This production was an audio and visual treat. The performance is slick, drawing together excellent stagecraft, physicality and technical elements with skill. As the audience walk in they are immediately transported to another world. There is an atmosphere of repression emanating from four women dressed in a fifties style as they clutch handbags and occasionally bob their heads to what seems to be elevator music. They subtly respond to everything in the room, even the health and safety speech before the start, entirely taking on the physicality of these restrained and strained women. The strong, yet subtle caricature leaves the audience laughing at the ridiculous and the grotesque making this into a surreal comedy.
The simple yet striking set is made up of cinema seats and a screen. Next to these a musician (Greg Hall), behind a popcorn cart, works to add the sound scape of the whole piece. During the opening section the women sit in the cinema seats, they generate and embody the sensations of hysteria and fear. The use of breath and repeated onomatopoeic words builds the rich sound scape that becomes so powerful throughout the rest of the performance.
Throughout the piece various themes are revealed and added, making it busy and full of ideas and styles. When one of the cast comes out of character and tells the story of a dream she had, the sudden change in style of delivery serves to emphasise the story. Changes in style, similar to this, are used throughout to give give different perspectives of the subject they are exploring.
Overall, through a collage of sound and imagery Jammy Voo insightfully discuss the terror and horror humans experience, though at times it lacks conciseness and clarity if the audience are happy to experience what is presented to them, then it is engaging and thought-provoking.