Wales Millennium Centre, Weston Studio
Once again the Weston Studio welcomed an audience in to sample some of the work that the Wales Millennium Centre has been supporting over the last few months. The Incubator scheme offers support for artists and companies to develop new work and helps to facilitate a performance for the public and arts professionals who can offer their feedback and advice on what they have seen.
This time round two theatre companies shared their work in progress:
Mali Tudno Jones: The Gretel Files
This reimagining of the classic children’s tale of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ finds Gretel and the Wicked Witch joining forces to find out who stole the secret gingerbread recipe that the Witch had been guarding for MI7 – the government body in charge of all fairy tale creatures.
Having received an email prior to the performance requesting phone numbers and twitter hash tags the audience knew they would be in for an interactive multimedia experience. Texts and tweets were sent to the audience through the night and the audience tweeted back photos of any clues they found on their investigations around the centre.
The aim of the evening was to test this innovate approach to multimedia storytelling. Although it was great fun to receive texts telling you that you are now a secret agent you do have to wonder if the age group (small children) that the show is aimed at will have smart phones with the technology to access Twitter. Of course their parents may well have the necessary equipment but it isn’t quite the same personal approach.
The storytelling element of the show was really enjoyable with intelligent writing that children would enjoy but also had one or two jokes for the grownups. The companion website was also good fun with character profiles that you could investigate before the show.
With a bit more development on the technology side to make sure the website and twitter pages are up to date and easy to us, this could become a must see show for younger audiences. Definitely a concept that has great potential not only in children’s shows but for any new theatre.
Actors: Kirsty Bushell, Christopher Naylor, Joannna Van Kampen, Sara Lloyed
Writer and Project Manager: Mali Tudno Jones
Director: Stephen Casey
Media: Natalie Clements
Mercury Theatre Wales: SPANGLED
This brand new devised piece about Welsh clubbing culture in the 1990s also aimed to fully emerge their audience in the experience. This time their multilayered approach began by welcoming the audience into the club, giving them glow stick and stamping their hands to say they had paid the entrance fee. If you had a jacket it was taken into the ‘cloak room’ by the chatty attendant and it wasn’t long before you were approached and asked if you needed “any pills for the night?”
Pounding club music, trance-like visuals and film projections soon made you feel like you had somehow stumbled to the town centre and found yourself in a retro club. You were surrounded by beautiful young girls dancing on raised platforms and young men off their faces trying to rave.
The story unfolded through a series of short scenes between the characters and monologues delivered directly to the audience. These characters came about through research into real-life experiences of clubbers, DJs, promoters and youth groups.
With a bit of a polish on the choreographed elements and a more choosy approach to dialogue, this could be a very touching and original production. At the moment the concept is absolutely incredible but some of the story lines were very predictable (but perhaps that says more about my relationship with club culture!).
Reminiscent of NTW’s ‘Little Dogs’ but with a lot more narrative. I for one will definitely be going to see this show when it emerges fully formed in the Spring.
Overall it was yet another enjoyable and successful night for Incubator. Both companies are ones to watch and I’m sure that two great new shows will soon be taking Wales by storm.
Actors: Beth Lindsey, Gareth Potter, Matthew David, Danielle Fahiya, Lee Mengo, Simon Mullins
Writers: Lynn Hunter, David Prince, Bethan Morgan
Director: Bethan Morgan
Music Consultant: Jimpy