One of the great things about being in C-Aquila this year is getting a C-pass, which lets you get access to all the C-venues for free! We’ve been taking advantage of it loads so far. Today, among other things, we dropped into C-Nova to see The Economist, a play by an Australian theatre company about the Norwegian shootings by Anders Behring Breivik last year. The drama is a fictionalisation of the case based closely on Breivik’s testimony and diary entries, and sees the main role of Andrew Berrick played by a female actress. The play quickly changed from scene to scene and used the atmospheric underground space to its advantage. It was an extremely impressive and well researched piece which most of those I went with loved. I wondered however if the casting of a female in a male role (intended to contextualize Berrick’s actions as a symptomatic of a social problem, rather than the actions of a lone lunatic) was more distracting than thought-provoking. I also thought that considering the horrific nature of Berrick’s crimes, the extremely talented cast and directer could have created a more harrowing piece. All in all though, the Economist is highly recommended.
You don’t necessarily need the C-Pass to blag your way into great shows. Last night after our show we wandered down to The Gilded Balloon to meet Eva’s mysterious contact, known only as “the man in a green jacket,” who had promised us free tickets to Showstoppers, an improvised musical. To our delight, he showed up. We were all a bit confused and skeptical as to how an improv musical could work (Pre-prepared songs? Actors in the audience? People backstage feeding the actors lines through earpieces), but after a few minutes in the audience our doubts were assuaged. It works pretty simply- at the start of the show, the musical’s “writer” scribbles audience suggestions on a whiteboard, and the most popular suggestions turn into the musical. The results for ours were – a musical about Essex girls, set in urban Essex, in the musical style of the Lion King and the Sound of Music , titled “Va-Jazz hands”. The musical was absolutely brilliant, with the performers forgetting the names of their characters and adlibing hilariously awful chorus lines such as our personal favorite from a song about how to seduce a guy in a night club:- “You’ve got to moooove real close, smell all the smells that he’s got!” The performers were all really talented singers and improvisers, but what I liked most about them was that they were not the usual super skinny, young, madly polished and smiley actors you normally see in musicals. Instead they were real people of all shapes sizes and ages, who clearly absolutely love working together, and the mad, magical musical they create every night.
Today was our first day without our wonderful director Sophie, who was tragically reclaimed this morning by her architecture internship. We are very sad, but heartened by her frequent email and phone contact, plus the inspiring letter she left magnetized to our fridge. The show will go on!