Review: Symphony by nabokov (with words by Nick Payne, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells) – The Vaults, Waterloo

symphony - nabokov Vaults festivalNew plays by Nick Payne, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells are not to be ignored. New plays by Nick Payne, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells performed together are a major event. New plays by Payne, Hickson, Wells performed together in the middle of a gig? I couldn’t possibly stay away. The set up is unusual and yet simple: we first encounter musicians playing a gig but quickly the songs morph into performed stories and the musicians into actors playing characters. After that, there isn’t much distinction between plays and songs, they are all different points in the same universe.

Similarly, the three plays bleed into each other. Jonesy by Tom Wells recreates the chaotic drive of teenage years, where crashing pressure is only outweighed by optimism and indefatigable energy. (I loved how the adult world in the background was tired and fade, like a shake of the head too small for anyone to notice). Continue reading

My top ten theatre productions of 2013

As You Like It. Pippan Nixon and Alex Waldmann. Photo Alastair Muir

As You Like It. Pippan Nixon and Alex Waldmann. Photo Alastair Muir

These are the 2013 productions that stuck in my dreams and didn’t want to shift. In strict alphabetical order, because selecting ten for the list was hard enough.

American Psycho, Almeida theatre: the energy and clarity of the production juxtaposed with Patrick Bateman’s nihilism made for an unforgettable experience. Hell in pastel colours and blood splatters. And eighties pop songs. Matt Smith plays the absence of a soul magnificently.

As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Company: Discovery of love and freedom played out with such openness in Maria Aberg’s production that in the end I wanted to cry with joy. Pippa Nixon was luminous (and as Ganymede she looked like a young K.D. Lang – that can only be a plus) and Alex Waldmann matched her soulful playfulness every step of the way. Continue reading