By Ester Boccafoglio
First published on blog 1 November 2013
Some Halloween! We had a great night at Stour Space, didn’t even get lost around Hackney Wick for once, and loved the play. This piece had it all: the visual – stunning costumes, spectacular make-up, lights and intriguing ways to use the space, tricks of sound, characters and beautiful text.
It started the day before with an email from fictional estate agent Dulcamara warning us about the perils of getting lost on the way. In fact, the journey started in the dark streets of Hackney Wick, where the route was signposted by shady characters blended with lampposts and sculptures, bringing to life the street art of this bohemian area with macabre dances.
At arrival at Stour Space, we met grumpy Dulcamara in person, a very strong performance by young comedian Sandy Wardrop, and his hilariously unsupportive secretary. While playfully bickering and insulting each other, these two nosey characters kept you on the edge with questions about your love life and financial situation while you waited for the viewing of the space to begin.
Once the meat of the piece begun, you became aware of several characters, the ghosts of the space, which had been hiding in front of everybody’s eyes up to that minute. And you felt for each and all of them, from the for-ever-waiting ghost of Madame Butterfly to the “rascal” Don Giovanni and the loving couple of viewers ending up quarrelling over his destiny.
Unlike many immersive theatre pieces which rely mostly on visual and on shock tactics, this play had a linear narrative and well-defined characters. The blend of acting styles, from naturalistic to melodrama and physical theatre worked really well in expressing the characters.
There was attention to details: if your gaze happened to wonder off to study the quirkiness of Stour Space and try to guess where the next ghost of broken-hearted woman would appear, you could always notice the purple light of the lamp carried by the ghost of a raunchy maid brilliantly interpreted by Camille Levans, as she floated around the space.
Only regret was that the piece was too short to satisfy the curiosity it raised: only 50 minutes, and only run for three days. Hopefully this successful attempt will encourage ISCaD to develop the piece for the future.