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All the World’s a Stage: Programme B at the Space and the Spring Season

‘All the world’s a stage’ as Shakespeare said, but in a sort of way all the stage is a world. That (in SEEN’s opinion anyway) is the beauty of the short play in particular. It can conjure a whole world or a whole life into being for a brief time. That was certainly the case in Programme B of The One Festival at the Space. Four plays were on offer and all them gave us glimpses of four different worlds…

The first play Perfect, performed by Carianne Dunford was spooky in its effects. She played a random stranger gate-crashing story-time at a children’s library, seemingly intent on stealing biscuits and drinking the children’s squash, but ends up using their toys and books to tell them the sinister details of her own life. In Motherland a young mixed-race woman (played by Naomi Joseph) enumerated grief and the complexities of being subject to the assumptions of others. In It’s Not a Sprint, Grace Chapman gave a committed performance, running a marathon whilst shouting down her own inner doubts. This was very funny and pertinent to the female experience, but ultimately hopeful. After the interval, Charlotte Powell utilised her own experiences as a female barber to bring us the lives of her clients, her difficult personal life and the catharsis of the Grenfell tragedy in Sweet Fade.

If the plays had one thing in common, it was the female experience, particularly when faced with the assumptions of others. They were imaginatively staged and utterly engrossing. Sadly it’s the last time that the One Festival will be staged at the Space, but SEEN feels it emphasises the high quality of fringe theatre that the Space makes it their business to stage.

The new Spring Season at the Space has just been announced. Fringe enthusiasts will have plenty to delight them. The epic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley will be on until 10th March, staged by Burn Bright theatre, we are promised an ambitious re-imagining of the classic creature feature. SEEN has seen many versions of this over the years and is always struck how each version breathes new life (if you’ll pardon the pun) into this famous story.

Thriller play Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm? comes from 13th to 17th March. Based on the true story of four boys who find a human skull in a tree, Pregnant Fish theatre company will use physical theatre, verbatim text and exclusive access to police documents and archive material to solve this fascinating case on stage.

The play Being Brahms by award-winning playwright Gail Louw is on 29th March. It’s the story of a father and son. Faced with the difficulties posed by the Nazis, a loveless marriage and a son who puzzles him, the music of Brahms proves to be Anton’s refuge.

Anima Theatre, fresh from their Edinburgh triumph, transfer their smash hit The Sleeper from 3rd to 14th April. Karina, on an overnight train through Europe, naively reports a refugee hiding in her bunk. it’s a play for our times, that also incorporates the real testimony of Syrian refugees and the personal experience of the writer Henry C. Krempels

To close the Spring Season, the award-winning Suitcase Civilians bring the powerful Citizen from 24th April to 5th May. Iranians travelling around the world fall victim to Trump’s executive order against Muslim immigrants. This timely and important production draws on interviews with Iranian migrants and considers the ‘othering’ of those who are not entirely like ‘us’.

The Space
269 Westferry Road
E14 3RS