Response Theatre showcases young Norwich talent
Last night we went to see a new and very different adaptation of Pinocchio at Norwich Puppet Theatre. It was a professional production by Response Theatre company, delivered without a single adult on the stage.
From the haunting soundtrack and stark set design, it was clear this wasn’t going to be your standard fairytale. But when Hannah Rice opened the show as the desperate and unhinged Gepetto, the scene was set. The audience was moved by her deranged ramblings as a woman who’d spent her life making toys for other people’s children, whilst never having her own.
Much of the story was carried by the quirky gypsy. She represented the more familiar blue fairy in the original tale. Jenny Fennell, who played her, was full of energy and really kept the momentum going. She had clearly worked hard to develop her character, with insane facial expression, crippled stance and mad gesturing.
Declan Matwij, as Pinocchio, was bright and entertaining. His physicality was exceptional as the loose-limbed puppet and, crucially, the character was portrayed with just the right amount of obnoxiousness. We could tell his character was not meant to be sweet or endearing. It was the kind of performance that would make Walt Disney squirm in his grave and we loved it.
Just as notable was Charlotte Hall as the snake. Her entrance immediately changed the mood. She delivered a monologue that was intimidating and powerful. The group of brownies at the back of the auditorium were hushed in suspense as the character threatened to destroy Pinocchio.
The story was told in its entirety but nothing was quite as you’d remember it. The concluding twist left the audience wondering whether we’d been given a happy or a sad ending. But the ambiguity made for plenty of post-show discussion.
These were just a few of our highlights from the show but what was particularly impressive was how the company kept the pace up throughout. This was a real achievement for the young actors. There’s no doubt that Response Theatre are an exciting new talent and we await the next production with high expectations.
Response Theatre holds weekly classes in Norwich, which are open to all abilities. The group works in association with The Young Actors Company – a national organisation with over twenty years experience, that acts as an agent for members. Past members have appeared on BBC’s Casualty and EastEnders. Click here for more information.
How very this season
You couldn’t launch Norwich Fashion Week in a better way than with some of the city’s finest independent retailers. Let’s face it – if it weren’t for what they bring to our collective sartorial mix, we wouldn’t register in the top 10 places to shop in the UK.
Flying the flag for womenswear were Jarrold, Vanilla, Pure, Nola, Walkers of Pottergate, Ginger, Love Couture and the City College Norwich, up-market secondhand shop, Ego, which provided a lovely set of all things Little Black Dress and reminded us of its must-have status within our wardrobes.
The sets were slick, glamorous and above all, refreshingly varied.
There was none of that shopping mall-effect, where I find myself looking up at the name of the shops I’m going into just to give them some sort of context. Each brought its own identity, and gilet-by-gilet gave me faith that whatever your personal idea of “FABULOUS-DHARLING” is could be found at one of these shops.
Personal favourites put in an appearance from Vanilla, with some fleshy-floatiness and shimmering sequin numbers and Ginger with some gorgeously feminine “Let’s go to Ascot” stuff. Jarrold mixed it up with different print combinations that made me want to reconsider my slight aversion to tiny florals, and Walkers of Pottergate and Love Couture provided some of that catwalk drama that’s a must at any fashion show worth its salt.
What was great is that almost everything being strutted about was “Yeah, I could wear it” rather than “Can you ever imagine doing a Sainsbury’s shop in THAT?” And for the impatient shopper that I am, the whole event fitted a good afternoon of potentially fruitless street-traipsing into a neat little hour.
All in all a great event. The bottom line is fashion retailers in Norwich are doing themselves proud and looking very stylish while they’re at it.
You can see a full programme of what’s in store over the week here:
And a big thank you to Emily Wilson, one of the photographers on our City College Norwich Young Blood project, for sending over some of her pictures from the evening.
To check out some sample pages from the supplement, click here: http://www.norwichmagazine.co.uk/youngblood.html
For more of Emily’s fantastic photography, click here:
A word of warning
Should this man come to your door (conducting a survey or some such ruse) be sure to squirm uncomfortably and ask him to leave.
Happy 10th edition!
A chocolatey surprise courtesy of Young Blood editor Simon Butcher (and his equally talented sister). Thank you very much. Needless to say, it didn’t look like this for very long!