Monthly Archives: June 2021

Sparkly Bird

Brighton Fringe
28th May – 27th June, 2021

The 2021 Brighton Fringe is seeing a return to attending the live performance, which after a year of quarantine will bring joy to many. Offering an abundance of shows to scroll through and plan for. ‘Sparkly bird’ was for me a happy return to the theatre that has been sorely missed. For the welcome performance of ‘Sparkly bird’ I was excited. The Brighton Fringe is well known around the globe as a pioneering shining light for theatrical events. The show got down to business beginning quickly straight into Kat Lee’s written and directed eulogy of a dear ones suicide.

‘Sparkly bird’ was a musical, theatrical, dance and screen compilation that had the life and death of Suzanna Reine at heart who took her own life in 2004 at the tender age of 36.

The venue was for a smartly personalised dressed presentation with long drapes for movie footage and had the band in a row. The acts had specially segregated themes to give tribute to Suzanna whose feelings were brought back to life. A trapeze hung in the heart of the stage where we were treated to dancing and acrobatics of our two dances by Catherin Ben Abbes, and Miz Wells.

Kat lee-Ryan’s sad times show presented the story through compassion so honestly made with joy in the heart produced by the well known; Bad Times Sound, We went through everything with Kat in her examination of Suzanna unfolding many points of view also raising compelling points with the power of music, dance and screen behind it. She sang of the painful disbelief that sudden loss always has.

With the face of Suzanna in a portrait shaped camera angle it took hold of us with an expression of pain and being overcome. The dance of the two was of her aloneness as she danced in solo but then joined in partnership with someone who held her as she fell and as she fainted.

The narration came at important moments with Simon Goodman who offered spoken insights of the tale; he would repeatedly and at intervals read out loud from his clip board dressed in a fine looking smoking jacket, though he was on her side. Kat Lee’s emotions in the development of her profound connection with the phases of the music going from deep upsetting grief to tune’s playing the sweetest and most playful song of memories when life felt complete.

The air of respect and roaring tenderness clasped the hands of Suzanna’s story and her journey. Following her around the many act performance was an enriching walk through the taste and truth of her life with attention grabbing capable vocals, commanding and sure.

These are two lines of Suzanna’s ups and downs on top of the world to being way down in desolation and blackness; “I think I’m superman…up in my room.” Where “…sometimes it all falls down.” A beautiful recollection of a so short life appreciated as a wonderful show and in the most appropriate way brought to our attention the grievous world of suicide. The reddish glow of light, the darker stages, the in-between surreal moments caught by camera coupled with spangly costumes made this sparkly bird a vision to enjoy, this was the highest tribute ever.

Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

Effing robots: How I taught the A.I. to stop worrying and love humans

Brighton Fringe
28th May – 27th June, 2021

With the Brighton fringe underway I found my way to ‘Effing robots: How I taught A.I. to stop worrying and love humans’ which was performed by L Nicole Cabe of Giant Nerd productions. She appeared on screen with black on either side as a simple online discussion offering introductions to who she was as a person and what her passions were, self admitting a pull towards sex. She was setting us up for an hour of extremely well informed information about A.I. With twists and turns of the monologue that gave up a real sense of personal consideration towards our A.I. education.

She well knew that today the infiltration of technology can nowhere be ignored by anyone, as having cemented a place in the hearth of our very living rooms. She has taken the show on for a few years and is a hardened contributor to the Brighton Fringe itself.

She took us lovingly in hand making it work for us, delivering her messages in her role as an important informer. Her love of technology transferred onto us to greater and greater levels, in an accuracy that levelled the playing field. It was about how well we know programmes and apps, but dropped a few grenades that she smoothed over by delving into sexual problems of males in society, using America for compelling example.

She made no bones of censorship when she suggested that our human and super human happenings are because we are all already cyborg’s! Cyborg’s who are interconnected with lap tops, video games with the formation of communities of what she called a wider tribe. The monologue was peppered with her outgoing personality calling herself a self absorbed Artist, joking about online dating. This aspect allowed her to investigate how far ahead her theories are on A.I. taking over.

But her take wasn’t like a 1984 warning it was in fact the polar opposite of that. It was her embracing of the self revealing roots that robot’s or as she called them sex – bots are at the point of being a fact that cases the love we have for ourselves which is actually being increased with A.I. interaction. And that at this stage the primary function of technology is for understanding humans.

She had role reversal experiments to enhance her across the board opinions on this new highly effective state of human and machine relations. It was clearly visible that her take on tech has been long established and that the intimacy between them is offering an unignorable relationship of clearly positive and powerful promise of things to come.

Refreshing, dynamic, reasonable very well mannered joking with us kept the hour to a speedy pace in an interaction that was full of masterful presentation. It was fun, informative and giving of things that many of us are unaware of. I’m happy to leave these things be for now but I’m now more than curious to see the next level of this new integration so well executed by Miss Cabe who played the robot and the human teacher of love’s new possibilities.

Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

The Old House

Brighton Fringe, 20201
May 28 – June 27

Kate Maravan is an exceptional actress with a polish’d pedigree. From wherever in the world, & from wither which angle, her one woman play – The Old House – is nothing but enjoyable. Some will like it more than others, that’s for sure, but no-one will ever dismiss the play; it is too raw, too tender, too well done to ever think otherwise.

The crux of the content is a mother-daughter getaway to a former holiday home by the sea, somewhere beyond Chelmsford. The daughter is approaching middle-age & the mother definitely has dementia’s onset hovering over all her actions & words. Kate swaps between the two characters with a snap & a flop, tansitioning seamlessly with a well-timed face wrinkle, or a relocation of the head’s angle.

Kate: We’re off to the old house, all the way to the coast
Mother: The old house, we had some wonderful summers at the old house

Inbetween these scenes we have various slices of the most marvellous performance poetry; it really is stuff well-written & recited just as well. Overall this minimalist masterpiece of mime, rhyme & memories is more than a fine watch, & more of a radio play than a physical play, & it positively works as a stream. The Old House literally pulses with life; while the subject matter of decaying mind & fraying consciousness is handl’d supremely delicately, born from the fact the play is an elegy to Kate’s own mother’s battles with the perilous & unforgiving wastelands of old age.

‘The Old House’ is the second play I’ve seen in the streaming age. The first was full of live action, sets & props, & I didn’t really enjoy it. The Old House, however, with only a smattering of sound effects to coax the mind into its cosy bosom, was something I got into &, dare say, enjoy’d. Not for everybody, but for those who its is for (you know who you are), The Old House is an entertaining spectacle of professionalism, love & joi de vivre.

Damian Beeson Bullen