Reviews of devised productions

“Secret Innuendos”

Secret Innuendos is an extremely positive comedy piece, full of funny and unexpected interactions with the audience. You may even call it a family therapy. This is a performance of complicated relationships, with love arriving and departing like the guests of a hotel.

You enter the Claremont Hotel in Hove where a lovely lady tells you that breakfast will be served shortly. Once invited into the beautiful and bright breakfast room, you become directly part of the performance. A hotel waitress, accompanied by pleasant guitar music welcomes you. The lady gives instructions to the audience. Once you find a place, she hands over some plates and cups…everything necessary for a proper breakfast. The public participates in the breakfast table preparation. You don’t feel like a performer but part of a real hotel breakfast. It all takes place in a very natural way.
Some of the spectators introduce themselves. A minute later the guitar player composes a funny song using the same words of introduction. At the same time, in this joyful atmosphere, the real hotel guests start arriving for breakfast. The show takes the audience to the next level. It is full of heart-breaking stories, narrated by the extremely funny and crazy characters created and realised by the talented performers.

One of the real virtues of this show is that it will be different every time it is performed, because audience participation and reaction will be different each time. That will make the show even richer – the unpredictability and the sense that audience involvement is key to the whole affair. Personally as a spectator, I enjoyed the realistic and unrealistic world elements. They blended well into the whole.

The performance is rich in strongly realised characters, and the environment in which the audience is genuinely part of the show makes this a successfully immersive theatre experience. It was really interesting to see the real hotel guests’ faces when the actors opened the door to come into or leave the room! This blend of immersive drama and the interface with the real world worked very well.

There was a huge amount of laughter in this performance . Several times the spectators were chosen to be part of a scene and, if it’s true that laughter is the best therapy for a happy life, this is the perfect place to be – extremely relaxing, powerful and positive – I felt pain in my stomach from this hilarious theatrical experience.

Finally everything comes to a beautiful unexpected end. Love will save the world. I recommend this – go with your partner or friend and you will definitely enjoy it. To me personally, it is one of the most enjoyable performances at the Brighton Fringe.

Boryana Ivanova for Fringe Review

I enjoyed this high-spirited site-specific play, which brought a colourful cast of mismatched characters to a real hotel breakfast room. Some of the ideas — like the psychic with her ghostly dog — were genuinely inspired, and the script built to a hilarious and unexpected conclusion. The audience interaction, which was cheeky without being intrusive, drew everyone into the scene. The improvised live music was a highlight too.”

Richard Stamp, editor, Fringe Guru, at the Brighton Fringe Festival

“This Time Tomorrow…” (the Edinburgh Edition)

“An engaging and visceral experience… unendingly fascinating… the twists and turns in the narrative were captivating… this story definitely left me wanting more…” (more)

Sarah Davies, Total Theatre Magazine, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

“Fright At The Museum!”

“A perfectly-planned and thoroughly enjoyable promenade tour, well matched to its unusual venue. Plenty of laughs, some creative audience interaction and a couple of more thoughtful moments too.”

Richard Stamp, editor, Fringe Guru, at the Brighton Fringe Festival

“No Weddings But A Funeral!”

“This is a very enjoyable promenade production through the wonderful Preston Manor.

On reading the programme given to us after the show I discover that the show is largely improvised which amazes me…”

Nigel Nevinson for “The Fringe Review” at the Brighton Fringe Festival

“Decidedly silly… this interactive spoof proved engaging… and it would be diffcult to think of a more fun way to explore this historic building…”

Nick Aldwinckle for “The Argus” at the Brighton Fringe Festival

“An Afternoon of Playback Theatre”

“Subtle… delicate… the emphasis on capturing the essence… the experience was a powerful one… they’d captured perfectly what I’d actually felt… through gentle and reassuring questions, so crucial in finding the heart of the tales to be told… I got something special back…”

Richard Stamp for “Fringe Guru” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

“This Time Next Year”

“I love this unconventional experiment… remarkably effecting storylines… an enjoyable and refreshing experience creating a vibrant mental picture with an electric atmosphere… a true Fringe Institution and as effective as a grand spectacle on a distant stage…”

Richard Stamp for “Fringe Guru” at the Brighton Festival Fringe

“This Time Tomorrow”

“A powerful engine beneath its eye-catching exterior… the actors delivered understated but brutally realistic performances under Tig Land’s inspired direction… credible and powerful, raw and affecting… it’s both an entertaining novelty and a fascinating experiment in social conditioning…”

Richard Stamp for “Fringe Guru” at the Brighton Fringe Festival

It was a blistering hot Sunday afternoon and Vardean school shimmered in the heat. In the playground were four vehicles — the set. An audience of two were tucked into the back seat of each car and waited, windows obscured by black paper studded with pinpricks of light, enough air swirling around from the open boots to keep things cool.

Thud. The cars’ front doors opened, a couple of actors took their places in the driver
and passenger seats, and the show began. Running concurrently, each performance
lasted for around fifteen minutes, the ‘audience’ shifting from one car to the next to sit,
to wait, to observe. – an immediately intriguing device.

The scenarios were instantly recognisable – a mother confronts her daughter about her
sexuality; Batman and Robin ‘split up’; two old friends meet up after ten years; a
mother struggles to curb her teenager daughter’s errant behaviour.

Clearly played, at their best, the performances were powerful and affecting, and the
stories felt very human and authentic, with genuinely surprising twists and turns. But it
was the innovation of the staging that made this a winner. Immersed in the drama, the
audience were sucked into the stories bit like children on a car journey overhearing
their parents saying something they shouldn’t — a dynamic with huge emotional
impact. Lovely stuff.

Louise Ramsay for “The Argus” at the Brighton Fringe Festival

“Mable Mackintosh And Her Enormous Pants!”
A Musical For Children

A Musical For Children “Fun, inventive and interactive… the cast comfortably engaged the children in the audience and reacted nicely to the youngsters’ outbursts and impromptu moments… the kids were bouncing and jiving along to the songs… there was a worthy sub-plot about bullying and standing up for yourself and others… and Mable and Billy as the lead characters were just right.”

Craig Thomson for “Fringe Guru” at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

“Musical numbers; dance-off; and the crowd interactions all went down very well with the audience, who wilfully participated… and there is a valuable message against bullying, another reason why parents should take their children.”

Maryam Ansari for “Three Weeks” at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

“This Time Tomorrow”

“…Compelling acting, pitch perfect, thrilling scripts… genuinely funny, warm and charming… the switch from banter to family drama magnificently done… I was literally holding my breath for the conclusion…”

Richard Stamp for “Fringe Guru” at the Brighton Fringe Festival
Editors’ Choice

This Time Tomorrow was quite possibly the best performance I have ever seen.

Comprised of four fifteen minute vignettes taking place in four cars in Hanover Community Centre it was an opportunity par excellence to get up close and personal with the action, watching it unfold directly from the backseats.

The cars used as a vehicle (sorry) to set the scene – new age hippies at a festival in a campervan, a couple on a first date, friends picking up their children from school and
sisters waiting to collect their mother – each story evolved from this point to become
something much more poignant and were in turn utterly compelling.

As if you had been momentarily granted invisibility, the actors paid no heed to your
existence which allowed the audience to become completely engrossed in the unfolding drama, to become wholly immersed in personal moments which were without exception unwaveringly convincing. At such close proximity, it would have been impossible to miss even the slightest of hesitations or stumbling over words but each time the performances were faultless.

I was utterly transported (sorry, again) into their worlds; worlds which whilst succeeding to be comedic, dramatic and pathetic respectively, managed to remain entirely realistic.

I cannot emphasise enough both the quality of the acting and the calibre of the premise. If I were you, this time tomorrow I’d make sure I’d have seen it for myself.

Helen Grace for “The Badger” at The Brighton Fringe Festival