The Beanfield Review

29th April 2016
The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol

My dad and I got to the theatre very early so we got dinner and let me tell you the food was incredible. Incredible food. Food. Yum. We had been there before and had a sausage roll that was out of this world so our expectations were high, I had a vegetarian chowder (there was potato and swede and cheese on rye toast as a side) and it was DIVINE. The food was beautiful and the staff there are lovely as well, very helpful.

Anyway onto the actual show. I had sort of forgotten what the show was about by the time we got there as we had booked the tickets so far in advance but a quick read through of th hand out reminded me why I wanted to see it. It is about ‘the battle of beanfield’ which was bascially where the Police stopped a group of travellers from going to Stonehenge for the Solstice and beat the shit out of them, arrested hundreds of them and no one got convicted. That was obviously simplified but you get my point.

The performance had elements of direct address to the audience, recorded media including interviews with people and footage the performers themselves recorded and movement. The movement had a beautiful moment when used with a strobe lighting effect, I won’t say what it was as you should go see it, but it made something quite brutal beautiful, it also added a sense of danger as we only saw snippets.

I feel like sometimes when media is used in performance it can detach you from what you are seeing in front of you, personal feeling here don’t kill me, but with the involvement of the people we saw on stage and the way they asked the questions in the interviews again on stage really integrated it into the performance. It didn’t feel like “oh, now we watch the screen” or “oh, back to what is in the room”.

On the other hand, I did feel like the ending was dragged out and a little over acted. Throughout the play the performances had been pretty solid but structurally I feel it could have been worked on. One gentleman was involved in the first two segments but hardly at all involved through out the rest, this would have been fine except the performers sat on the side of the stage until very near the end. A few minor tweaks and this performance could have been much better.

The company Breach is very young, it is made up of recent graduates from Warwick university, and this was their first show so I think with a little more experience and trial and error they could produce exceptional work. I look forward to following them and seeing where they go…not literally of course I have my own life to live.

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