LITTLE ECHOES | London, The Hope Theatre

Recommended

Published this year by Methuen Drama, Tom Powell’s Little Echoes now receives a full run at The Hope Theatre in Islington. Three haunting monologues interweave amid lightbulbs and microphones in this 90-minute exploration of London “as you’ve never seen it before”.

16-year old Danielle (Maisie Preston) meets danger in the VIP area of a pop concert. Professional relationship manager June (Ciara Pouncet) seems cool and collected, but all is not as it seems. Shaj (Mikhael DeVille) navigates feelings of intense anger and hatred in the wake of a violent acid attack on his young brother.

One of the UK’s most up and coming new playwrights, Tom Powell won the OTR National Radio Drama Award and the Footlights’ Harry Porter Prize. He is part of the Soho Writers Alumni Group and in 2015 he was shortlisted for the Soho Young Writers’ Award for his first play the bear hunt. This year he attended the Royal Court Introductory Group and was shortlisted for HighTide’s First Commissions programme. His third play White Light has recently been selected for the Arcola’s PlayWrought festival.

The production is directed by Stephen Bailey, and partnered with Beyond The Streets, a charity that works to create pathways out of sexual exploitation.

Little Echoes is playing until 9 March 2019.

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MAKLENA | London, Camden People’s Theatre

Theatre - Recommended

Following rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, Night Train Theatre Company’s production of Maklena marks the English-language premiere of this Ukrainian play by Mykola Kulish, which was banned by the Soviet authorities in 1933, and lost to the world to decades.

The play might be nearly a hundred years old, but director Maria Montague’s brand-new translation is fresh as a daisy. The themes of unbearable poverty and revolution, seen through the eyes of a young girl trying to make sense of the world, remain charged and provocative.

In addition to the remarkable text itself, Night Train use puppetry and physical theatre to brilliant effect. The text veers unpredictably between moments of guttural, suicidal misery and light, madcap joy. The cast of six guide us through in a strange, sepia world, as Maklena retreats further into her fantasies, pushing her understanding of communist and capitalist ideologies to the extreme.

The music by Oliver Vibrans is rich and evocative in a way few theatre scores ever manage, and help us connect even further with Maklena’s harrowing world.

The rediscovery of such an important play, in such a perfect production, is a remarkable theatre event. A must see.

For five performances only at the Camden People’s Theatre, 17 – 21 July 2018.

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