BWW REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On THE ANGRY BRIGADE
Thursday October 3, 7.30 pm, New Theatre, Newtown
BWW REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On The Angry Brigade.
The New Theatre impresses us again with their production of James Graham's The Angry Brigade.
"Against a backdrop of Tory cuts, high unemployment and the deregulated economy of 1970s Britain, a young urban guerrilla group mobilises: The Angry Brigade. Their targets: MPs, embassies, police, pageant queens. A world of order is shattered by anarchy and the rules have changed. An uprising has begun. No one is exempt."
The Play opens in the basement of a Special Branch within Scotland Yard. Smith (Davey Seagle) heads up a team to find out why and how this urban "terrorist" group operate.
This farcical and goofy entourage: Morris (Benjamin Balte), Parker (Sonya Kerr) and Henderson (Madeleine Withington) work together almost in spite of each other to find the Brigade.
In seeking the truth of the Angry group, these police investigators inadvertently seek the truth about their own place in society. Exploring their own existence and self expression though heated arguments and parties of the orgy type.
This comical first half ( the audience laughed more than me, I found the script more intriguing than funny) explores the Special branch seeking clues to discover the essence and whereabouts of the Angry Brigade. In doing so, we the audience explore issues around anarchy, politics, class and our perception on how well society does and does not operate: "How do you feel about the older generation". "Are you angry". Does anarchy have a place in the political sphere. Will the war of ideas have a resolution?
In the second half we discover the making of the Angry Brigades territory. Their goals, their intentions, beliefs, conflicts and their views of the western society we live in.
The characters break into role plays with comical intent but then discover the importance of their stories: The 'five day working week' is a prison with the illusion of freedom. There is violence in pink and blue - the choice of gender colours. What is true anarchy. How do we combine our political ideas with personal beliefs.
Seagle, Balte, Kerr and Withington also play the roles of this group seeking revolution. Their performances are engaging, grounded, forceful, compelling and faultless. Credit goes to this cast for this mammoth effort in a performance that shines and crackles with power and edge.
The various minor roles played by Will Bartolo, Nicholas Papademetriou and Kelly Robinson are as equally engaging with vitality and energy.
The set by Sallyanne Facer is effectively and efficiently designed with flair and finesse and using clever transitions and artistic lines. The scene changes in the Act one are deftly executed with projections of text originating from the renegade's group's manifesto. In Act two the use of the stage and the continued use of 'lines' is inspired.
Glenn Braithwaithe's soundscape expertly matches and enhances the mise-en-scene.
Michael Schell's lighting design is superb in creating the depth, strength and atmosphere of Alex Bryant-Smith's direction.
Bryant-Smith leads this ensemble in a powerhouse production. Act one with believable performances that are intertwined with some wackiness. Act two with depth, strength and truth.
His direction superbly brings his chosen resources together with aplomb. His creative eye marriages these elements in a production worthy to be amongst the main stages of the theatre world. He expertly explores and gives depth to this work by James Graham.
Another wonderful production from the New Theatre, one you should check out and in the process you will support independent theatre.
Photography source Bob Seary