Sunday, 29 June 2014

Alive: A Review

by Marley Andrews

The eerie, dimly lit interior of the Square Tower set the scene for Friday night’s performance of ‘Alive’, a devised piece performed by sixth form actors and actresses and inspired by Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, as part of the Portsmouth Festivities. Having heard so much about it over the last few months of writing and rehearsing, I was both excited and intrigued to finally see the culmination of all of their hard work. To put it bluntly, I was not disappointed.
The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth was the perfect venue for the performance to take place, with the simple staging and striking black and white costume choices allowing the acting alone to take centre stage in what was an incredibly powerful and haunting piece to watch. Pete Rapp and Phoebe Ruttle’s portrayal of the The Creation and The Creator respectively were outstanding with the bitter relationship between the two keeping me hooked right until the very end. The audio and lighting added to the intensity of the performance, especially through the use of the repeated heartbeat at the start, and the inclusion of Chopin’s 'Raindrop Prelude', which brought back fond GCSE Music memories but also fitted absolutely perfectly to the climactic scene it was used in and was an incredibly moving yet disturbing moment in the play. By using the aisle between the audience as part of the stage, it further made you feel part of this intense story as the barrier between audience and performer had dissolved somewhat.
The best thing about it being a devised piece was that I had no idea what to expect, which further heightened the atmospheric and powerful performance given by the cast and left room for the actors to make the characters their own which was an enormous success. I left the venue both lost for words at how incredible it was, but also extremely proud to know such talented people.

Now if this has persuaded you to want to witness it for yourself, then I’m afraid you missed out on the only Portsmouth performance of ‘Alive’ before they take it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. However, if you just so happen to casually be in Edinburgh between the 19th and 25th of August and are at a loose end, or are indeed planning on attending the festival then, I would absolutely recommend that you buy a ticket and go and see this piece for yourself.

It will be performed at 14:55 every day between the previously mentioned dates at Paradise in the Vault, runs for 50 minutes and tickets are £7 (£5 for concessions). They really do deserve all the support in the world for all the hard work that went into producing and performing this powerful and haunting piece.



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