Monday, 7 March 2016

    Vaults Festival | Invisible City ★★★




    Nikki and I were lucky enough to be invited to see two shows at this years Vaults Festival. You can read all about the late-night production I Never Told a Joke In My Life right here. But our first show of the evening was Invisible City.

    NOVA are a new theatre company, with this being their debut production. Their company consists of writer/performer Lowri Jenkins, Choreographer/Director Jennifer Fletcher, and Compost Mat Martin...so a pretty tight-knit group, for a delicate, low-key show. We're taken through Lowri's arrival in London; the busiest and loneliest place in the world; through her trips to super markets, and the inevitable worry/lecture phone calls from her mother.

    Lets start with where I was incredibly impressed. Mat Martins composition, and the use of sound was so vital, and well executed, I found I was sat in awe. Perhaps, unfortunately, I was paying more attention to the sound than other elements of the performance. It's switches between pitch, volume, and even by swapping between speakers, it creates the feeling of distortion and an over-whelming of the senses, that Jenkins character must be feeling. Coming from an acting background, it's rare for me to take away such a gratitude and respect for another discipline, but with this I really did. 

    Jenkins is an excellent performer, and her facial expressions never border on overly-animated or 'campy', but she's definitely got a subtle enough range that telling a story with minimal words doesn't seem to phase her at all. 

    The only parts where the show lost me was during it's physical theatre/choreographed moments. I believe this may not be the fault of the company at all. I moved from Lincolnshire, as did Nikki, when we were 18. We have been the small fishes in an incredibly big pond...but we survived and now London is my favourite place on Earth. What I mean to say, is that I can empathise so well with being lonely in a swarm of people, and being scared to death about next everything in this city....I was invested in this plot line. So the moments of physical theatre really shocked me out of this investment, and, for me, were more of a distraction than anything else. However, I can appreciate that those who haven't had the same experience would use these moments to understand Jenkins' feelings of isolation.

    If this is a sign of things to come from NOVA, then I'd definitely recommend keeping an eye on them; this piece is innovative, relatable and visually stimulating. 


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