Any time The Wardrobe Ensemble is involved in a production, I can confidently expect to be soundly reminded of just why I love theatre so very much. This production was no exception.
A collaboration between The Wardrobe Ensemble and The Wardrobe Theatre, this two-woman show endeavoured to bring to life the story of The Great Gatsby in the simultaneously intimate and distant way that only lockdown theatre can truly achieve. And boy did it ever. Never have I felt as much like I was really back in the theatre this past year than I did watching this production. It may well be my favourite Gatsby adaptation I’ve ever witnessed and, putting source material aside for a second, is just a stunning execution of theatre all on its own. Both the performances and the stagecraft were utterly stellar and it proved to be one of those shows that left me emotional simply over how good it was.
My last piece of Shakespeare for the 2018 Fringe, and I ended on a pretty damn good’n. This was a wonderful rendering of one of Shakespeare’s funniest works and one that maintained all the awkward charm that play is meant to have.
The last of the three one-person shows I saw this year, Narratively Satisfying was one heck of an emotional journey. It takes a special something to make a one-person show work, and Jennifer Lack has not only that special something but liberal sprinkle of extra special somethings on top of it.
This was one of the most moving theatre experiences I had at the Fringe this year. In terms of straight drama, perhaps the most moving. I’ll have to think about that. What’s certain is that I came out of this production near the point of tears from what I’d seen and heard on that stage.
H.G. Wells’ classic novella has seen many an adaptation in the century or so since it was written, and each adaption has brought its own unique spin to re-imagining the story. Gone Rogue certainly brought their own flavour to it, while thankfully very much keeping the spirit of the original. It drew quite bit, I think, on the 2002 film adaptation for inspiration but still stood very much as its own entity and did enough to carve out its own place as an adaptation.
You had me at “fantasy musical”. I love fantasy fiction, I love musicals, it would be difficult for me not to like this show. It helps that this eager group of performers bring all their enthusiasm to bringing that premise to life in a fun-filled loving parody of classic fantasy clichés. It’s easy to tell that the creators of The Quest genuinely love fantasy and rip the genre’s most tired tropes to shreds with nothing but the most honest affection.
It’s always lovely to encounter shows that manage to perfectly balance drama and comedy in such a way that the two compliment and further the effect of each other, rather than conflicting. Getting this right comes down, as so many things naturally do in the theatre, to the combination of writing and acting. If even one of the two is off, then the comedy and drama cannot coexist effectively. In the instance of Same Old Same Oldies, the comedy and drama smoothly orbit one other, each coming to the forefront and then retreating exactly when they should.