Month: July 2014

IYAF Kingston 2014 Feedback

IYAF Kingston has left us all with great memories and exhilarating experiences. We would like to thank everyone who joined us this year in a wonderful roller coaster ride full of joy and laughter!  A great big thank you o our wonderful volunteers, participants and audiences, we could not have done all this without you! We are looking forward to seeing you all again next year, to help us bring Kingston to life and get the town buzzing once more!

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Newsletter #10 is available to download!

The tenth – and final –  newsletter of IYAF 2014 is now out. Written by our volunteer press team the newsletter provides reviews, previews, interviews and event listings. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the articles which truly have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The newsletter is available to download here: <a href=" try these”>IYAF 2014 Newsletter #10

Thank You!

Moonfall: A Review

3 stars ***

Amazing performances, dazzling circus and some well-placed gags save this lacking and unambitious two-handed children’s show. The set-up is simple – a stubborn princess is told she needs a husband but after falling out with a wizard she is exiled to the moon and only a young astronomer can save her and bring her home. Will there ever be a man who the princess will love?  Will there ever be a children’s show about a princess that doesn’t need saving by a man? No prizes for guessing how this one turns out.

Both performers are clearly highly skilled in their field. The circus routines are full of charm and wit and bounce easily and confidently between knockabout fun and serene beauty. These sections are the highlights of the show and some sections contain genuine laugh out loud moments for the entire family (in an early scene the stroppy, self-obsessed princess punches a hole straight through the top of a gift box to get to the presents within as quickly as possible).

The actors are obviously comfortable playmates and the chemistry and relationship between the two of them draws one in to their fantasy world. Even though almost completely without dialogue (the only main speech being a recorded voiceover narration), they are affable, friendly company.

However, apart from the otherworldly setting of the moon, the story is rather run of the mill. Of course, it is a children’s show and one cannot expect a twisting, turning, multi-layered narrative. But the plot feels tired and rerun and at times the physical feats were marred by the drawn out and laboured plot points which tie them together.  If Moonfall were to reassess the story and moral message and turn in a slightly more imaginative plot and arc, it would propel this show into the greats of children’s festival theatre.

By Andy Currums

The Survivors Have Spoken

4 stars ****

Thick, black curtains mark the entrance to pre-war Poland, set out in the ACT studio. Music plays in the distance as a woman sits on the floor, scrubbing clothes in a tin bucket, newspapers littering the stage alongside a scatter of gold stars. Pulling back the curtains, we search for somewhere to sit, soon becoming aware of the paper tags on our seats, each with a different name. ‘This performance is in memory of… Ruth May’.

Each character takes it in turns to tell their story, marking the changes experienced before WWII commenced and how, as Jews, they suffered during. The ensemble use movement and theatrical performance to bring to life their monologues, shocking us with realistic violence. At one point, they symbolised the killings during these times by curling together to form a lifeless bundle, becoming draped in a shimmering red piece of cloth – an image that will never leave me. Simplistic prop techniques like this were effective as they were using a limited space which meant the stage became chaotic with countless pieces of clothing, papers and larger objects such as suitcases.

Recordings of Holocaust survivors were played in between scenes, introducing the monologue of the next character. Whispers could be heard as the lights dimmed to red, sending shivers down my spine. Reaching 1940, they ‘welcome’ us to Auschwitz – ‘welcome to hell’. Disturbing, horrific encounters are told by survivors, including the arrivals of trains carrying Jews, how they were mercilessly picked apart and the remorseless fates they were given by the SS men. Eichmann, Himmler and Mengele were among the Auschwitz operators to be mentioned, their actions leaving us gasping with horror and covering our mouths with shock.

Writer and director Josh Watsize aims to ensure that the destructive, inhumane nature of the holocaust and other genocides are not forgotten so that they may never happen again through their shocking performance and real recordings of survivors. In the final act the company recite the timelines of genocides, including the amount of deaths, to emphasise how often these tragedies happen and how many innocent lives are claimed. Leaving us with the message that ‘under the skin we are all the same’, and the wish we will never ‘fall prey to collective amnesia’. The Fuhrer Will Now Speak is a powerful and gripping piece of historical drama.

by Amelia Jane Day