Monday, 17 October 2011

Fighting malady with melody since 2011

A sell out audience were treated to a wonderful evening of delightfully different entertainment last Friday. The night opened with a performance of Moses Supposes by Sole Rebel Tap. This was a lovely high energy tap dancing piece by Hannah De Cancho and Katie Ballard, who also teach regular tap classes for all abilities in Oxford. If you live near by, then check out their website for more details!

It was then the turn of a cast of our GCSE students to tread the boards with their recent examination piece. The performance, devised entirely by the students, was loosely based on their own version of a 'medicine show', but which included a mix of physical theatre, commedia dell arte, modern mask work and absurdest theatre. It followed the journey of a man to track down Oswin Owl (who is certainly not a banker!) who had snatched his innocent children. After a variety of mishaps that would make Gonzo Moose proud, the man is reunited with his children and Mr Owl who explains through song (It Must Be Love, by Madness) the reasons for stealing the kids! A member of the audience took the time at the end of the show to say how much he loved the performance:

"The students were a pleasure to watch. The physicality was wonderful and I loved the strength of the characters."
Praise indeed! Well done to Oliver Webb, Jack Matthewson-Inglis, Michaella Penfield and Izzy Rowand.

The stage was then reset for Curious Company's first in-theatre performance! The company, made up of Louise Rennie, Marie-Lou Flexen, Steven Skinley, Russel Boodie and Pete Russer, are used to performing outside at festivals and fairs and taking their own brand of 'Curious' to the streets. Dr Russet's Travelling Medicine Show was a splendid mix of live music, laughter, singing, dancing and an old lady's wind that would work in any setting.

Curious Company's show enforces the idea that the true power of healing lay in the act of song and dance rather than the potions themselves. Taking inspiration from 1930s jazz, blues and folk, Tap dance and Charleston, Vaudeville and Music Hall, fused with more contemporary influences the Curious Company cast have created a piece of theatre that offers both a taste of nostalgia, and a reflection on the restorative properties of entertainment and human interaction.
The audience were invited on stage at various points to get involved with 'fighting malady with melody' and as a result, the atmosphere of the evening was as effervescent as an offering from Russett's own Homespun Wonder Tonic.
Thank you to Curious Company for a marvellous show. We're looking forward to the next time already!

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