Sunday, March 16, 2014


Havering College at Brentwood Theatre

Havering College, with an established reputation for Dance and Drama, showcased two student pieces for a Brentwood audience.

First, Distraction Leads To Destruction, staged by the Horizons Group. A kaleidoscope of styles here, starting in Africa, and moving through a crowded tube train [nicely observed] to the women's movement, cyber-bullying and office wage-slaves. An impressive duo danced to “Ain't Nobody”, and a trio of red dresses performed to “Save You Tonight”. Other inspirational tracks included Mr Zip's “Where Me Phone” and Bill Withers' “Lonely Town”.

Behind Closed Doors, from the Interaction Performance Company, was a witty whodunnit set in the Diamond Hotel. The victim is diva Anna Star [Anna Dunk] - “when she's inoxicated she's actually very good”. Lots of lively character work: the feisty receptionist [Vicky Dordoy], the chambermaid [Della Smith]. Ryan Claydon was the token bloke – a very famous footballer. He made a good stab at a rather clich├ęd confessional monologue. A cleverly devised showcase for the varied talents of this A-level group.


Mary Redman said...

It's always good to see the young people from the college at work. These students were all 18 or under with student technicians on lighting and stage management too. The piece started with African rhythms danced to with contemporary energy and and steps then segued into more Latin American rhythms and influences. It included a soloist who was clearly not afraid of an audience which was good to see.
The second section used words to introduce thoughts on communication followed by geometric shapes created with bodies and limbs. This included a black male dancer whose shapes were good and pure street. As he gains more experience and benefits from increased control of his body he will be even more impressive.
The dancers moved on into observing the perils of strap hanging on the Underground and a blinding spotlight illuminating the glitter ball hit us uncomfortably in the eyes for some time as the cast moved rapidly on into the Twenties with frantic jazz, rock 'n' roll, disco, 2014 strutting armed by telephone development, Tap, Morse Code and Hollywood. What a mass of styles!
Costumes were simple in basic black and white and so much easier to do. I loved the two girls in their smart red and black costumes.
There are some important theatrical etiquette things to remember:
1. Do find time to create a programme. It doesn't have to be complicated but it does make the audience feel included and that they know what is going on and who to watch out for in the future.
2. Check and check again your costumes and those of your friends before going on for things such as accidentally fraying hems or other damage and dangling shop labels! They do distract the audience from YOU.
3. Student technicians please check where exactly your lights are going to end up not just where you intend them to go. Please don't turn up sound levels so that we can't hear the words
4. If you have words or lines to say please enunciate them well and project them to the back wall of the theatre. They can still be relevant to you but the audience wants to hear them too.
Finally, when you take your hard-earned and well deserved bow at the end look at your audience who are applauding your work and above all don't be afraid to SMILE at them. They paid good money to see the show and deserve your recognition that they exist.

Mary Redman said...

First of all congratulations on getting together a simple yet colourful and informative programme for us to follow that included thanks to the people who helped you. Would it be possible for us also to have a list of the music you've used please?
This was a devised dance/drama work by the company of over 18s aided by their professional tutors. The hotel set and props did a good job without being over elaborate. The costumes made it quite clear who each character was. Their fellow student tecchies supported them well on lighting, while sound could have been a little less strident but student stage management worked in a very efficient way.
The work itself was a very amusing account of a murder in a hotel and the events and grudges leading to the crime. I particularly loved the eyecatching Latin American sequence with glittering masks.
As to the cast Lacey Connolly was a neat yet athletic dancer as the put upon PA to Emma Dartnell's striking escort Amelia Riche; Anna Dunk had fun as the off-key singer while Delia Smith was the exploited maid who then exploded. Vicky Dordoy was the efficient receptionist putting up with Ryan Claydon's spoilt celebrity footballer and bully who revealed and abusive background. Sian Tilbury and Rebecca Coughlan were the backing dancers.
I still haven't worked out who-dun-it in this closely observed piece but it was fun to watch and I can't wait to see your summer show when you display your full year's work.

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