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Event Preview | HighTide Theatre

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After a hugely successful year in 2017, HighTide Theatre returns to Walthamstow for a second outing. Bringing a varied programme of theatre, comedy, music and activities for children, HighTide has announced an enticing line-up of local vendors and performers to lure residents back to the pop-up festival site of Walthamstow Town Square Gardens. 

The event will take place from 18th-30th September, and will be free to enter. Featuring a large bar and dining area housed in two giant heated tipis, with art pieces on loan from the Walthamstow wonderland God’s Own Junkyard, HighTide certainly looks the part. Its neon fantasies, restored and retro signs, cosy furniture and nostalgic pinball machines will transport you to another time. The bar will be a collaboration between local and national companies, featuring beer and cider from Walthamstow breweries Pillars and The Real AL company, spirits from Hunter’s Gin, and soft drinks from Peter Spanton.  HighTide will also host the local company Velopresso with their famous pedal-powered coffee trike, serving signature blends from the Waltham Forest coffee company Perky Blinders. 

Food will span from speciality sausages from Walthamstow Dogs, Vietnamese street food from Hanoi Câ Phè and Mexican street food from Wood Street’s Homies on Donkeys. At the weekend, Wendy’s Vintage Ices will serve their retro ice creams and lollies and Romeo’s Sugar Free Bakery will provide their trademark sugar-free cakes and biscuits. You’ll be spoilt for choice. 

The festival will host a range of local talent, inviting them to feature in the festival after taking part in Open Mics nights in Waltham Forest on the 4th, 5th and 6th September. Winners from these dates will perform in the bar during the festival, providing free entertainment. Performers aged 18-25 will also be considered for HighTide’s new talent showcase, Stars Over The Forest, at the Festival on the 22nd September. 

For ticketed acts, the programme features eleven family shows, among them the local company Baby Panda presenting Five Little Monkeys, visiting companies such as HighRise Theatre with Lil.Miss.Lady exploring the history of Grime, and Waltham Forest company Stand and Be Counted presenting Where We Began, exploring the concepts of home, featuring an international cast. The comedy programme features work from artists such as Arthur Darvill, Tim Key’s Megadate, and excitingly the arrival of five productions fresh from Edinburgh’s Fringe. 

HighTide’s centerpiece production, co-produced by their associated company DugOut Theatre, is a coming of age tale by Aldeburgh-based writer Tallulah Brown called Songlines, seen by Fest Magazine as riding ‘a wave of gentleness and compassion for teenage awkwardness’, and is elsewhere highly reviewed. Other productions include Jessica Butcher’s two-part ‘Sparks’, Danusia Samal’s gig-theatre piece ‘Busking It’, David Aula and Simon Evan’s ‘The Extinction Event’ innovative examination of what happens when science starts thinking for itself, and finally Harry Blake’s fabulous new comedy musical about Norse gods ‘Thor and Loki’, which has likewise been greeted with rave reviews. 

It promises to be another successful year. 

 

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Review | Three Women at The Trafalgar Studios

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3 Women (2018) banner taken from LondonTheatreDirect

Katy Brand’s Three Women at the Trafalgar Studios offers a representation of the title across respective and somewhat stereotypical generations. 

Suzanne, a crystal-loving 40-year old played by Debbie Chazen, is facing trauma stemming from her childhood, which surfaces throughout the evening. Chazen perfectly executes a bitter rivalry between her and mother Eleanor, played by Anita Dobson, and reveals just the right amount of emotional upheaval from her loss of love. 

Maisie Richardson-Sellers adds an interesting and sometimes offbeat character to the mix. Laurie is portrayed as the peace-keeper whose beliefs surrounding post-genderism dictate a large amount of her lines. Richardson-Sellers performance feels forced at times, possibly due to the constant stream of information that her character is instructed to feed to her peers. Although sporadically comical, it is just that, and appeared as though she was reading from a chapter of a non-fiction, Millenial analysis. 

But it’s Dobson who takes centre stage, not only providing the much-needed comic relief with her witty one-liners and blasé view of her family’s approach to life, but also with her emotional collapse towards the end of the show. This display of impassioned contrition proved Dobson’s worthiness of her extensive acting career and left me satisfied at the believability of the show. 

Brand has written a confounding piece which appears to be mostly based on a societal view of generations today. Although it faces some difficulties in plot and characterisation, it is worth seeing for Dobson’s performance alone.

Three Women is running until the 9th June at the Trafalgar Studios.

By Lucy Morris

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