EFR - Reviews of Thrown

Thrown

Thu 2nd – Mon 20th August 2018

reviews

Olivia Cooke

at 09:10 on 10th Aug 2018

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In a dark cellar under a piercing spotlight, a human head gazed at an audience of slightly unsettled headphone-wearing spectators. As the lights grew dim and Jill Rutland entered the stage from behind a veil-like gauze, we took a deep breath and prepared ourselves for the performance we were about to see.

'Thrown' is a drama which weaves fiction and collected testimony together in an hour of what can best be described as a cinematic reverie, performed solely by the superb Jill Rutland. In a solipsistic and sometimes emotionally draining piece, Rutland relays a narrative which explores the power of the consciousness, mortality, and the end of childhood.

The inclusion of audio technology in 'Thrown' draws the audience into an arrestingly intimate atmosphere. As Rutland’s voice whispers into our ears via the human head (or, binaural microphone) placed centre stage, we are taken into a world where the scattered thoughts of Constance Ellis (Rutland) press upon your own consciousness with a heightened level of proximity.

Without any warning, Constance’s monologue shifts sporadically between vignettes of memories which attempt to chronicle the formation of her selfhood. The use of naturalistic lighting draws our attention to the vocal performance of Rutland, as her character recounts her childhood memories in a dream-like manner. Philosophic sentiments echo throughout 'Thrown', as Constance attempts to piece together a life haunted by the moment in which her childhood ended.

Although confusing at times, 'Thrown' is an intelligent, lingering long in your mind after the performance has finished. I would recommend viewing it more than once in order to fully orientate yourself through the odyssey of memories which Rutland so movingly acts out.

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Tamzin Kerslake

at 09:28 on 10th Aug 2018

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Upon entering, I was thrust into the unknown by Ross Drury’s production of 'Thrown'. Being handed a set of headphones as I went to sit in the darkened room of the Big Belly theatre, I was enthralled to see what would occur in the next hour. What I received was an experience like no other, for never before have I had the pleasure of such an intimate and gripping experience of theatre.

Jodi Gray’s writing is brought to life through Jill Rutland and Frank, the binaural microphone shaped as a head. The two work together to create an image of the doctor Constance Ellis, and whilst they may continue to grapple with her identity, what the audience experience is clarity, and the raw human warmth of experience in this episodic masterpiece of storytelling.

Working alongside Living Record Productions and Age UK, a series of personal tales from youth are given a new lease of life through intimate portrayals on stage. The mixing of the old story with the new technology gives such a real character portrayal that Constance is forgiven for confusing her own reality with that of the tales being told.

The team behind Frank were able to take the traditional method of storytelling and give it a heightened new lease of life. The intimacy as Rutland whispered into your ear was completely arresting, whilst Chris Drohan’s design of recorded voice added a conversation for Rutland to work from. The audience were gripped in the surreal experience of being amongst many, yet feeling alone in the room alongside Constance.

The rest of the technical crew created a visually intimate experience with the use of birdies and shadows, drawing the audience into the missing memories that they were so desperately trying to recover. Simplistic, entrancing and highly effective.

The effect was a trance-like state of euphoria. It left me wanting to giggle and dance, or hang upside down on monkey bars, to reclaiming my childlike self through someone else’s memories. In fact, being so swept up in the storytelling, I found that I had very few notes to write upon. This hypnotic and intimate experience of storytelling was truly compelling and I left wanting to hear more. It was an experience like no other and a complete must-see production at the Fringe.

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