Friday, 14 June 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: This Time - The Lowry Theatre, Salford.

A heart-touching piece of physical theatre, told with sincere and authentic voices from three generations, a show bursting with original contemporary circus skills.

'This Time' was created and performed by Ockham's Razor co-artistic directors Charlotte Mooney and Alex Harvey, supported by Faith Fahy and Lee Carter. Produced by Turtle Key Arts. It's on at the Lowry, Salford for just three days and I was lucky to catch this show on it's opening night in the Quays Theatre. A new piece by Ockham's Razor, an innovative mix of theatre styles; spoken word and contemporary circus skills. It made for a powerful and awe-inspiring piece of theatre.

The show is a sharing of intimate stories across three generations and a display of majestic acrobalance and aerial skills that took the audience on an emotional journey. I found myself laughing, crying and gasping out loud at the impressive feats of physical skill.

The piece began with a white frame centre stage and two of the performers stood either side acting as though the frame were a mirror. Actual large mirrors adorned the back of the stage and allowed the movements to be seen from behind, giving a rich depth to audience's perception of the action happening on stage. The coming to the mirror for stillness and reflection was a motif they came back to several times and gave a solid structure to the piece.

During the moments at the mirror the performers' voices were pre-recorded, they shared messages to the person opposite of either younger or older generation, though the voices were disembodied there was a strong connection physically between the performers observing each other through the frame and a great moment of connectivity could be felt between them. This then flowed into an acrobalance sequence of demanding physical feats and it was quite shocking when the first performer Mooney came forward and broke the fourth wall addressing the audience with stories of her childhood. Each of the adult performers had moments of sharing stories from their defining moments from throughout their lives, defining moments that informed them about their character. These monologues were delivered with such clarity and felt so intimate between the performers and audience it was a privilege to be there in that shared experience.

The acrobalance between the three generations was highly impressive, especially the young pre-teen Fahy, her core strength to be able to change position while being held mid air and hold herself on the bars was extraordinary. Much more than a display of circus ability the movement of each sequence reflected on the story that had just been told or explored relationships between performers. One such sequence that stood out was between Mooney and Harvey, imagery of a couple clinging to each other while hanging up above the stage, Harvey strapped into the rigging, with Mooney unattached to any support clung to Harvey. The connection between the two was quite sensual but full of power, Mooney held her own weight and performed gravity deifying aerial choreography, there were audible gasps from the audience at the height of the somersaults and catches.

Another poignant moment was the absolutely moving story of the woman pregnant in her late 40s performed by Carter, having had a stillbirth and identifying as a mother, it was completely moving and the strength of the performer in her delivery of her speech and then physically when moving on the apparatus was completely awe-inspiring and pushing expectations of older persons in performance.

After having seen several other physical theatre companies at the Lowry recently I am completely shocked that this wasn't in the bigger Lyric Theatre. 'This Time' is deserving of so much more acclaim, it is really top-notch inspiring theatre, a fresh and beautiful performance that I would recommend to all to go and see!

Reviewer - Kerry Ely
on - 13/6/19

1 comment:

  1. This sounds amazing. I know Lee and know she is a remarkably sensitive, intuitive and beautiful woman. I know she would tell her story well. How brave of her to do so. I wish the performance would travel to other parts of the country, including Wiltshire. Kathy Leach