Listening to audiences

Final preview performance @ MAC

Our six preview shows have provided us with an important opportunity to engage with audiences in Coventry and Birmingham – to listen to their reactions and to debate (post show talks).

We’ve had lots of useful feedback (THANK YOU), from our audiences and also several reviews:

Reviews of performances at the Shop Front Theatre:

‘All is Well is highly successful in showing the ways in which the personal will always be representative of and closely connected with the political. (…) What seems to matter in the end is a commitment not just to a simplicity of existence, but to existence in general: to go on and somehow remain hopeful in times of catastrophe. It’s a message that seems chillingly relevant in our own present day’. Culturised Beth Longman May 7, 2017 (full review)

‘Director Mark Evans encapsulated the world of Chernobyl beautifully, having the characters describe the stage directions was an interesting approach which paid off, we were no longer looking at the constraints of a shop and instead the audience felt absorbed in the action. The simplicity of Nancy Surman’s set design of Chernobyl was beautiful, fitting the conditions of the auditorium well and yet never feeling that the stage was bare at any moment. All Is Well was an interesting and thought-provoking hour of theatre with bags of potential. The run continues at the mac in Birmingham this week. Catch it while you can’. Love Midlands Theatre Sam Simkin May 9, 2017 (full review)

Reviews of performances at the MAC:

‘It’s not all bleak.  There is humour here, reminding us the people of Chernobyl are humans like us and not just statistics.  And there is a charming blackbird puppet (designed and made by Joff Chafer) expressively operated by Jack Richardson.  Life goes on, the blackbird signifies, and while it does, all must be well.  Mustn’t it? A thought-provoking hour that amuses and horrifies’. Catching Some Rays – Bum on a Seat William Stafford May 12, 2017 (full review)

 

‘There’s a Brechtian quality to the writing – sometimes flowery and poetic, yet more often sparse, characterised by pregnant pauses and by what is left unsaid, with all the action tightly contained within a single hour (…) As we become increasingly accustomed to the global growth of nuclear power, the title “All is Well” seems to satirise our complacency and willful ignorance of the dangers it entails. An eye-opening and deeply unsettling reminder of the perils of playing with power we cannot always control’. What’s On Midlands Heather Kincaid May 12, 2017 (full review)

‘Writer Vanessa Oakes has produced a contemplative piece, Brechtian in its structure as actors advise us of each scene, its location, the weather and even some of the stage directions, supported by the simple set designed by Nancy Surman. The naturalistic conversations have a rhythm to them that becomes compelling. Mark Evans’ direction is sympathetic to this and the steady pace, focus on interaction and feeling of anticipation as we increasingly hope each character can reach their personal nirvana is reminiscent of Waiting for Godot. Each actor is sincere, understated and believable in their characterisations and their often quiet desperation. There is no room for flashiness or chest-beating in this sombre wood. This very understatement gives their words gravitas and impact, leading the audience to reflect in silence for a moment or two before the applause at the end. All is Well doesn’t seek to criticise, blame or even answer questions; rather it takes a sympathetic look at how individuals might be affected: it is rather beautiful and emotive’.  The Reviews Hub Selwyn Knight May 12, 2017 (full review)

The Reviews Hub score ****

‘Vanessa Oakes has created an extremely thought-provoking piece of theatre about an event that is no longer as ‘current’ as perhaps it should be. The sensitivity and rawness of the script was carefully reflected in every element of the stage and brilliantly embodied by the tight-knit group of actors. All Is Well is a sensitive, at times funny and raw embodiment of the price of human progression and scientific intervention’. Weekend Notes Holly Reaney May 13, 2017 (full review)

ALL IS WELL COMPANY 2017 L-R: Dave (lighting design), Vanessa & Beauty, Jack, Mark E, Aimee, Mark C & Janice

Thanks for following our work in progress – if you’d like to hear what happens next to ‘All Is Well’, and where our star blackbird Beauty builds his nest next, just follow this blog and/or email vowriterinresidence@gmail.com to keep in touch.

 

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