Archive | April 2018

Imagine If Theatre: #MakeThatChange

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#MakeThatChange is a legacy to Imagine If’s latest production You Forgot the Mince which toured throughout 2016 and 2017 to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, twelve theatres and ten prisons across the UK reaching audiences of over 2000 people. #MakeThatChange is a youth arts project which has worked with young people aged 15-20 year old, dealing with social, housing, and educational issues. Offering a barrier-free introduction to the arts, #MakeThatChange has engaged with young people who have not had any other engagement with the arts. Looking into types of abuse and how they can be reflected in the arts, Imagine If provided workshops across multi disciplines.
After seven weeks of workshops in rap, spoken word, physical theatre, film and photography, these young people have created pieces that were showcased in a caring event at Carriageworks Theatre. The result was quite remarkable with the participants clearly reveling in the opportunity to work creatively on subjects that meant a great deal to them. The theatre production focused on bullying and in particular homophobia and the misunderstanding on LGBT issues. They did this through a variety of means, from naturalistic to physical theatre and made excellent use of the theatre space and acoustics. What also was clearly evident was just much confidence and self-assuredness the actors had gained.
For more information see @imagine_if_co or  Thanks to Imagine If’s Artistic Director Chesca Joy.

DeNada Dance Theatre: TORO – Beauty and the Bull

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TORO is subtitled DeNada Theatre’s Beauty and the Bull and gives a sideways nod to the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. It is inhabited by a girl, a bull, two brothers, two men, dragimals (animals in drag), a lipsyncher croon and four matadors. The first act is set in a prostitute’s parlour, somewhere in colonised South America. The Girl (Emma Walker) is sprawled out on the stage prior to the action and is then subject to violent abuse which she almost seems to acept.
But such submission is a long way from Carlos Pons Guerra’s intentions; rather the show focuses on the misuse of male power and the discrimination faced by the LGBT community. The movement is very violent throughout with menacing stances and threatening thrusts. The costumes frequently are taken from vogue and drag culture as well as the more traditional matador outfits.
The soundtrack plays a big part in emphasising the crafty choreography and sets the Hispanis scene perfectly. Barnaby Booths lighting uses frequent chiariscuro and in the second act the crimson red curtain adds to the seedy tone one may find in vogue or circus. Despite the violence there are also sensitive and sensual moments even if there is always a frightening atmosphere too.
O think TORO succeeds in its aim to combat homophobia and xenophobia as well as providing an intense and absorbing ensemble performance with Emma Walker standing out for what is almost an endurance test over the two acts. Disturbing but illuminating also.
Review by Rich Jevons at Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds on 14th April 2018. See for info on this and their forthcoming show Mariposa.

St Peter’s Singers: Bach’s Mass in B Minor


As I sat in my small flat on Good Friday I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with myself when I wondered if Leeds Minster had any events. I was thrilled to find that St Peter’s Songers of Leeds were performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor. St Peter’s Singers are most definitely a jewel in the crown of Leeds’ cultural scene and conductor Simon Lindley truly a man of God.
With the National Festival Orchestra at the height of their powers and soloists Claire Stafford, Lucy Appleyard, Claire White-McKay, David Brown and Quentin Brown giving outstanding performances this was a performance par excellence.
The Mass in B minor (BWV 232) by Johann Sebastian Bach is a musical setting of the complete Ordinary of the Latin Mass. The work was one of Bach’s last compositions, not completed until 1749, the year before his death. Much of the Mass gave new form to vocal music that Bach had composed throughout his career, dating back (in the case of the “Crucifixus”) to 1714, but extensively revised. To complete the work, in the late 1740s Bach composed new sections of the Credo such as “Et incarnatus est”.
Simon Lindley’s incisive programme notes give the audience a good back ground to the piece and having the Latin translated keeps the piece accessible and absolutely profound. This is music that reaches heights of religious ecstasy and the Sanctus in particularly captures this bountiful beauty perfectly.
See for upcoming dates by this highly talented group.