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The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet Of Stars | The Hive Collective

The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet Of Stars | The Hive Collective

Directed by Heidi Manché, The Hive Collective's premier production set the bar high for its future works. From Manché's direction, to the poetic flavours of the text and the extraordinary performances by its two actors; the play moved, delighted and soared into the hearts of all audience members.

The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet Of Stars | The Hive Collective

Let's start with the direction, shall we? Designer Sarah Winter converted the New Brenner Theatre into a white and clean heavenly sphere in which its characters were committing 'sinful' acts of desire and lust resulting in a multitude of suffering, heartbreak and self discovery. The only items in this space were five white boxes which were transformed by the actors into different formations and alignments to represent everything ranging from an office desk, steps to a hotel to the podium of a naked man. It was clever, innovative and quite frankly, something that pushed the limits of my imagination.

Another impressive feat in Manché's direction was having the characters go without touch up until quite literally the closing line of the show. Now that I think about it, this might make it one of the first truly ever co-vid safe plays.... I digress, where were we? Ah yes. The actors were fulfilling acts of intimacy with their bodies without being physically intimate with each other in the space. Instead, they let playwright Van Badham's words carry the weight of every touch, kiss, breath and passion; placing the prose at the centre of the narrative.

The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet Of Stars | The Hive Collective

The entirety of the play was lead by its score and the prose was divine. It was the perfect daydream and the elysium fields for writers and storytellers. The images Badham created with her words and the way in which Manché brought them to life felt like each of us were handed a delightful present which we ripped the wrapping off more and more as the play unraveled. And at the bottom of all of the wrapping, was the most beautiful present; a female character who rises from heartbreak to discover herself and learns to love again.

Sarah Ogden (Marian) and Rob Pensalfini (Michael/Mark) were such extraordinary storytellers, breathing life into and creating such grounded characters with whom we felt ourselves connecting to and rooting for. We've all fallen in love and had our hearts broken, we'd all tried to run away from relationships and memories in our past and we've all found ourselves lost and wanting to be found when really all we had to do was find ourselves, just like Marion. Not to mention the actors' electrifying sexual chemistry which was so sizzling that we couldn't help but blush in our seats and hide behind our cocktails (which were amazing by the way). Last but not least, having a live musician on stage providing a running score to the unfolding story added such layers of depth and emotion and Shenzo Gregorio did a brilliant job of it.

The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet Of Stars | The Hive Collective

The prose is heavenly. The direction is divine. The acting is extraordinary. If you don't see this production, you will be kicking yourself. Or I will kick you. Figuratively of course, but the thought still applies. Bravo, Heidi Manché and the cast and creative team of The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet of Stars.

Rating: 5 Stars

Show | The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet of Stars.

Director | Heidi Manché

Company | The Hive Collective

Venue | New Benner Theatre, Metro Arts

Season | 17th-27th Feb

Cast | Sarah Ogden and Rob Pensalfini

Musician and Composer | Shenzo Gregorio

Designer | Sarah Winter

Tickets | www.hivetheatrecollective.com/the-bull

Rehearsal Photography by Stephen Henry


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