Thursday, 3 November 2011

Tell Them That I Am Young And Beautiful - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Arcola, London
Was Peen keen?

There is laughter aplenty during this 110 minute global trek as seven different walks of life have the audience confronted by the world in which they live where promises are (apparently) like eggs – easily broken.

Greed, hospitality, sacrifice, knowledge, truth, freedom and love make for a frightfully realistic and modern performance by Marcello Magni and KP Productions.

Narration and action co-exist. You are invited to view the stories from an inside and outside point of view. Seven bamboo poles work as set and props the whole way through which was a worthwhile initiative. The action is beautifully choreographed and the dialogue passionate. Certainly, our emotions are manipulated by the musical intervals between stories (which is of a very high standard from Tunde Jegede), alongside statements like “the story you just witnessed is based on a real life event in Paris”.

The actors seem most fearless about playing numerous characters in such different contexts. Life is tough in every circumstance but somehow manages to ooze optimism. It does, at times, become hazy as to whether the stories are in some way connected, but that’s part of its mysterious beauty. At first, Magni seemed to vocally overcompensate for the proximities between himself and the audience in such an intimate and very suitable space, but later adjusted and was a delight to watch. Cross-gender casting came to light in the form of David Bartholomew Soroczynski, and skilfully so, though diction failed him on a couple of occasions. Kathryn Hunter was on top form: an adorable mother, and a very capable performer.

It’s always risky when humans try to become farm animals. A farmer milks his cows (when audience participation is brought in at the pinnacle moment of the first story, you know you’re in for an excellent viewing) and African birds come to cockney-like life. Having said that, they did a fine job and although a slightly challenging concept both for the actors to perform, and the audience to understand, it paid off comically and aesthetically. As if the performance wasn’t enough to keep you thinking, you leave with something to read on your commute home. All actors are to be congratulated on this beautiful creation which leaves very little to be desired and that will leave very few spectators untouched. 

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