BrumHour saw Crooked Dances at The Other Place at the invitation of The RSC.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Crooked Dances at
The RSC, The Other Place
Written by Robin French and Directed by Elizabeth Freestone
This new play is at The Other Place at The RSC until 13th July.
Katy (Jeany Spark) is a freelance London-based journalist with an interview assignment to get international concert pianist Silvia de Zingaro (Ruth Lass) to spill the dirt on her life and loves for “Weekend Magazine“. Arriving in Paris with cool younger photographer Nick (Olly Mott) they discover Silvia is 100 miles away at her private residence in a forest filled with wolves more than eight miles from the nearest railway station.
Katy is increasingly desperate to get the best possible interview, but first she must get past Silvia’s manager (Ben Onwukwe) and battle with Nick for precious time to speak to Silvia whilst he sets up his photoshoot.
On the surface this is a story of career moves, Katy feels her status as a respected writer is slipping and in turn notices this about pianist Silvia, and Katy is more than willing to snoop around Silvia’s country residence and discover her secrets with or without Silvia’s permission.
Below the surface lies a dark undercurrent, which can be felt from the second the audience arrives into the large living room set, a small clock hangs on the wall, above nearly everything on the set, even when the lights are dark on the set, this clock is still lit. For a time (sorry!) I sat wondering about the significance of this. We weren’t treated to the answer until later into the second half.
Crooked Dances will split its audience, half of whom will just be there for the thrilling ride and go with the twists and turns, and half will wonder what they’ve just seen. Part ghost story, part spiritual awakening, it explores our obsession with the rat race, tech and social media and how we escape from it, or don’t, or how we sidestep it.
I’ve been of the firm belief previously that anyone coming to see any production should be able to come away understanding what they’ve seen straight away or within a few hours. But this made me consider if this should always be the case. I’d never heard of some of the artists being mentioned or if any of the tales about them had truth attached but the play makes me want to find out more.
The projection of the woods and 3d animation is used effectively to create a dreamlike landscape and both the incidental music plus the piano playing our two lead female characters display is also effective and powerful.
Each of the four actors were extremely realistic and believable in their roles which is why, for me, the twists and turns in the second half will challenge some of the audience to take a leap of faith even more.
For the open minded, Crooked Dances is at The Other Place, at The RSC until 13th July. Find out more and book tickets here: rsc.org.uk/crooked-dances
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre,
Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour.