Review

Ritual Theatre

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TIME OUT John Ashford Ritual Theatre: ritual could suggest a host of things, as Barry Edwards, the group’s director is the first to admit. From magic to actors leaping all over the audience. ‘Theatre’ suggests spoken words and a text. None of this – or even ‘meaning’ – has to do with the Ritual Theatre group. There are six performing members, three musicians and three actors. The musicians play bassoon, viola, flute and percussion, and have all come fo the group through bands (Comus, Henry Cow). The actors do not use words but sounds, with the music and physical action. The entire performance is improvised around a very loose formal structure, beginning...

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Winter Daddykins

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Howard Brenton’s Winter Daddykins Jack Tinker July 1968 Brighton Combination If ever the weapons in a woman’s armoury were remorselessly exposed, it is here in Howard Brenton’s brilliantly incisive piece of misogamy. This short, sharp arrow is fired not at a bull’s eye but a cow’s rump. For Mr Brenton is not re-fighting the conventional battle of the sexes, he is cataloguing the complete annihilation of the male species. Against the voracious femininity of his breed of female, the unfortunate male can put up only a token resistance, He is the fly in her sticky web of domesticity, the prisoner of her cloistered visions, the discarded cockerel with his fine...

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Savage Amusement

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Raymond Meares The Stage Savage Amusement   Savage Amusement, a new play commissioned by the Faculty of Creative Arts from Peter Flannery with funding from a North West Arts New Writing Fellowship under the direction of Barry Edwards, is an outspoken work that blends humour and philosophy as it deals telling blows at the uncaring society which civilisation has thrown up. Among the serious issues in the play are squatting, the plight of the homeless and the unemployed, the problems of the inner cities. Set as it is in 1982 it would be a grim warning of what lies ahead – were it not for the fact that these evils already exist in good measure. A slick production by...

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Short Sighted

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STELLA HALL on Short Sighted at the Cockpit Theatre London PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE   Optik have already toured two shows, One Spectacle and Second Spectacle. Short Sighted was the first production I’d seen, and I certainly felt as though I’d been missing out on something, they’re the sort of company you fell you’d like to know from the start. There are images of extreme beauty and of sheer lunacy and sometimes they are the same. An eclectic assortment of instruments and Marjie Underwood’s electric singing combine to create a whole other dimension to the spectacle, and musician Clive Bell can never be accused of going for the obvious or the merely commentary....

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Second Spectacle

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CAROLINE HARDY PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE Optik performed in London in February with their first piece One Spectacle, and returned a month later with Second Spectacle. As the titles suggest both shows are companion pieces, staking the company’s claim to its own distinctive style. The work is an essay in theatrical style – a formidable presumption. Second Spectacle concerns itself with narrative. Following Godard, the piece could well be titled ‘fragments of a performance’ as there is no smooth dramatic progression. One story dominates, that of the disappearance of three Wellsian type scientists at the beginning of the century or thereabouts. They eventually all turn up...

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Sadlers Review 2

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Ann Nugent UK OPTIK at Sadler’s Wells   If I were to try to define what Optik is about I might say ‘being’, and in doing so would land up in the mire of complexity that is properly representative of this extraordinary production by Barry Edwards. For though it has echoes of the sixties when early postmodernists were doing away with theatricality, what it tackles is first our perception of theatre and then of reality. It is alternately boring and brilliant. It is repetitive, then as the performers speed up with physical expression that is a manifestation of an inner state of being, it bounces with a resonance that affects both mind and body. Though we may yawn...

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