In British playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s MOSQUITOES Alice is a scientist working towards an important new discovery. Jenny is her sister, and believes any conspiracy she reads on the internet. They couldn’t be more different. So, when tragedy forces them together, the impact has unexpected consequences.
It’s 2008 and Alice’s team of physicists at the Large Hadron Collider are searching for the Higgs Boson, stitching together the fabric of the cosmos. But at home, Alice’s family is falling apart at the seams. ‘It’s a story of facts and feelings, of resilience and decay, of particle physics and sibling rivalry, that reaches to the edges of time and space without ever losing touch with its very human heart’.
Jim Cartwright wrote THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE in 1992 but the play seems to be set some years earlier, in the late sixties or seventies. A great play can over the decades be interpreted through the lens of that particular period.
In all likelihood the play was probably interpreted as yet another great kitchen sink drama where poverty and lack of status turns people into monsters.
Today it could be interpreted through the me too movement where women are ruthlessly exploited with the promise of love or fame. However it doesn’t matter because you can enjoy it simply as a night of great theatre.
Jim Cartwright calls this play a modern fairytale where Little Voice alone in her room (the tower) mourns for her recently departed father through listening to his old record collection comprising mainly of divas such as Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and Marilyn Monroe. She must be rescued by a gentle prince in the unlikely form of a meek telephone technician. Below her room is a world of tumult with a drunken mother storming about irresponsibly with a manipulative beau both of whom are trying to exploit Little Voice’s freakish talent for mimicking great singers. Continue reading THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE : BIG HEARTED THEATRE→
The new play downstairs at Belvoir Street is THE OVERCOAT : THE MUSICAL based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol with a literal translation by Alena Lodkina. The work has been created by Constantine, Michael and Rosemarie Costi.
Gogol’s allegorical tale is about a nondescript looking man, Nikolai Akakievich working in the public service, who resents the drudgery of his job and the ill treatment he receives from his co-workers. He needs a change in his life, He finds this change when he is walking in the city and comes across a clothing store with a very persuasive salesman. The salesman shows him a beautiful overcoat, one that will keep him warm in one of the coldest winters that there has ever been in Saint Petersburg. He can’t really afford it still he ends up buying the overcoat, using all this savings.
Nikolai proudly shows his coat to everyone and receives a mixed reaction. Soon a lot of his identity is wrapped around this overcoat. What would happen if some day he loses his overcoat or it is taken away from him?!
Constantine Costi’s production of this tragicomedy is a strong one. Its useful to read the Directors program note before seeing this production. One quote: “Surreal, miserable, hilarious and vicious are all phrases we used to describe the motley sea of characters that inhabit this short story. In the eyes of Gogol, they represent the absurdity found in the everyday. Gloomy office workers, corrupt police officers and mindless businessmen are all refracted and stretched by Gogol’s vast imagination.”
The musical genre works well with this piece with the emphasis on jazz music. Musicians pianist Tate Sheridan and saxophonist Josh Willard played from seats in the front row stage right with Sarah Evans on double behind them. The songs- music by Rosemarie Costi, lyrics by Michael Costi each help to move the narrative forward.
The performances are all good. The play only has a cast of four. Only actor didn’t play multiple roles and that was Charles Wu who played the main role, Nikolai. Laura Bunting played a government official, Mashs the Tailor’s wife, a figure in the window and a very important person. Kate Cheel played another government official, Karolina the landlady and a police constable. Aaron Tsindos played yet another government official, Petrovich the tailor, a man in a hat, an officer, a superintendent, Ivan Abramovich and a Doctor.
Recommended, playing as part of the Company 25A season, THE OVERCOAT : THE MUSICAL is playing downstairs at Belvoir Street until I December 2018.
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