EFR - Reviews of Application for Life

Application for Life

Mon 22nd – Sat 27th August 2011

reviews

Alexandra Sayers

at 11:56 on 27th Aug 2011

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I was worried when I saw the first freeze-frame of this piece: two women, covered in thick silver body paint, with huge, goblin-like ears. Not my kind of thing. But as soon as the action started, and then throughout the next 50 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. The premise is decidedly odd: two creatures, Atelia and Klavia, living in what seemed to be a sub-strata of Heaven, trying to force capitalism onto Earth and destroy any hippy-dippy peace-makers. As a critique on capitalism, it is wonderfully kooky: the tight script, written by Dixie Cannon (playing Atelia) and Mazie Rhodes (playing ‘God Pad’), delivers some great one-liners: ‘Love can’t buy you happiness but money can’ memorably getting a big laugh. The cut-throat, sharp-elbowed environment in which Atelia and Klavia exist is defined through Klavia’s language, ‘catch up, or fuck off’ seeming to be her over-arching statement on existence. But of course, this dominator/subordinated role acted out by the two creatures soon becomes nebulous, and the capitalist aims of Klavia are undermined by human activity and God’s authority.

The links made to Earth are at once extremely funny and socially and politically engaged: Atelia, in order to instill capitalism in Britain, bribes the un-named Prime Minister with shares in oil, landslide election wins, and wonderful holidays. Oh, and a puppy dog called Clegg. Justin Bieber even makes an appearance in their capitalistic aims. This strange mix of political relevance and fantastical invention works remarkably well, reminding the audience of the bedrock in reality that this show can be seen to have: financial crises , STIs and all. It certainly makes for a weirdly funny and enjoyable piece. All three actors are convincing in their strange guises: Kizzy Cannon asserting Klavia’s authority through exuberantly confident physicality; Dixie Cannon playing Atelia’s canned frustration and anger with visibly shaking cheeks; and Mazie Rhodes sampling countless accents successfully for her role as the God Pad. I’m still not quite sure of the lasting relevance of this piece, but if you’re in town and fancy spending a frivolously odd, amusing 50 minutes in the company of talented and energetic actors, get a ticket.

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Dominic Sowa

at 12:46 on 27th Aug 2011

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The venue for the piece is a plush hotel just off the Royal Mile and audience members travel up to the little hall at the top of the building with key card for lift in hand. The swift lift journey up oddly fits perfectly in a play that takes place in Heaven and involves a great deal of looking down on Earth below. Watching Application for Life performed by the trio of the Pixiemoo Productions it helps to feel like you are high up above the masses, watching and plotting in this surreptitious location along with the cast on stage.

This is a play that has a message; sadly this message eludes you. Following the adventures of tin man meets elf like creatures, Klavia, played by Kizzy Cannon, and Atelia, played by Dixie Cannon, who work in Heaven, the audience is taken on a journey: a thinly veiled social critique. People update their statuses on Hornbook, vapid news reports blare on about how happy everyone is and pop sensations captivate people’s minds. However past this is gets murky. This play makes a few oblique and funny quips about the coalition and bankers yet the main focus seems to be capitalism itself. Klavia and Atalia become joke characters who in a comic reversal want to save the world with capitalism, but that is all I can tell you as the metaphors get complex, and not in a good way, and the funny comments get confusing.

Dixie Cannon is moving as Atalia. Her performance is tender and she captures the fragility well of a character unable to find her voice and determination to stand up and lead rather than be led. It is unclear whether or not Kizzy Cannon’s character Klavia was supposed to feel as shallow and vacuous as the caricature of politicians we are used to these days or whether or not it was simply an awful lot of acting with little emotion behind it. Magie Rhodes, the last member of the company played a wide variety of characters all adding comic interludes to the drama at the centre of the play and reaffirming the comic grounding of the piece.

This play is confusing and formally unexciting. However, you can feel it unsuccessfully craving to say something about our world. It is full of too many gimmicks and witticisms that distract the audience and have distracted the company from getting to the heart of what it is they want to say. The play is funny at times, and at those moments it tends to be very funny with loads of intelligence and wit. Otherwise it will leave you feeling unfulfilled and deflated as you descend down to earth in the shinny lift following the piece.

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Comments

Calvin Johnston; 29th Aug 2011; 12:19:23

I went to see this play and thought it was brilliant! I do not quite understand how in the same review you have said it hands its views to you on a plate and then a paragraph later you say that the message eludes you and that the companies views are impossible to find. How can it do both? I thought all the actresses were fantastic, the fact that you question yourself in your own review is a little odd. Also in the review you go from spelling the characters name one way, to just a short while later changing it to another spelling. I think, maybe, the intelligent and witty script eluded you and made you feel left behind. If that is the case, then clearly you are not their target audience.

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