EFR - Reviews of Interruption

Interruption

Thu 2nd – Sat 18th August 2012

reviews

Sara Pridgeon

at 08:46 on 11th Aug 2012

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Jack and Jill (portrayed, in this first incarnation, by Robbie Aird and Rochelle Thomas) wait patiently on stage while we take our seats. When the house lights go down and they begin to speak, to move, they are age incarnate, the perfect example of an elderly couple relishing in their routine and in their memories. Their touching scene morphs into a dance number, one that feels solid and full of conviction. This is characteristic of 'Interruption': small vignettes which grapple with the “‘rabbit in the headlights’ moments”, variations of Jack and Jill at different stages in their relationship, dance and song, all tied most strongly together by the sense of purpose with which they are performed. Director Elizabeth Schenk and her skilled cast deliver a captivating piece of physical theatre; it is certainly the “haunting and beautiful tale” that it claims to be.

It is difficult to pick out only a few moments to highlight, but one of the strongest of the evening is between Jack and Jill (here played by Charlie Merriman and Frederica Poulton) at a party: Jill is entirely drunk, and Jack decides that he must confess his love for her. They rewind and replay the scene several times – aided by a clever use of lighting – showing what happened and what could have been; each is entirely believable, and it becomes unclear which version matches reality. The two other Jack and Jill pairs are also noteworthy: Fred Maynard and Francisca Posada-Brown’s first day of school meeting is fantastically awkward (and brings back memories); Olivia Emden’s recitation of W.H. Auden’s “As I Walked Out One Evening” to James Ellis fits perfectly with their relationship. Perhaps most impressive is the cast’s ability to slip seamlessly between their various roles in the ensemble, between dance and song, intimate scenes and collective work. A show that has the potential to be disjointed is instead a continuous and natural narrative.

The Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club has produced an original show, one whose snapshots of life, of dance, and of song form an enchanting portrayal of common human experiences and emotions. 'Interruption' is a unique and polished piece, performed with the skill and conviction necessary to reach the audience. It’s a definite must see which will not disappoint.

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Elizabeth O'Connor

at 10:01 on 11th Aug 2012

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Devised from Norman McCaig's poem 'Interruption to a Journey', CUADC's original devised piece combines naturalism and physical theatre to signify the importance of a single person's life. Visually interesting and conceptually ambitious, the cast create something that is captivating both as an imaginative piece of theatre and a moving human story.

The piece uses vignettes of soundscapes and dance sequences to break up a narrative that pairs reality with situations that were completely imagined, misremembered or hoped for. It's a non-linear structure that could easily be rendered confusing, but is intelligently and confidently sketched into a clear series of events. The design of the piece is simple, with black and white costumes that distinguish characters with bright markers such as a red scarf or blue glasses. It's nothing particularly new, but works well as a blank canvas for a story that requires the audience's full attention.

Undoubtedly the strongest element of the piece is the acting: whilst the physical sequences are imaginative and well-executed, the stiller moments of the play excel. Every monologue is performed with an impeccable emotional understanding and restraint. The actors make the brave choice of splitting the lead roles between them so that they play the same characters at different points in their lives, but it's a decision that completely pays off, as the roles completely flow into one another. Particularly impressive are Robbie Aird and Rochelle Thomas, playing arguably the most difficult role of an elderly couple with a maturity that is enitrely believable and natural. Compared to such moments, the physical sequences do seem a little weak. It is uncomfortably easy to distinguish which members of the cast have a background in dance and which don't, and mistakes are a little easy to spot. The soundscapes, similarly, are cleverly put together but vary in success: the tube train is bafflingly realistic, but the car wasn't executed with quite as much precision.

'Interruption' is well worth catching - a refreshing and unique idea delivered with a moving yet emotionally sententious style of story-telling. Like any student show it has a couple of weaker moments, but these are only noticeable in a production that is otherwise captivating and polished.

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