Seven performers merge their talents
Sphere, Shop Front Theatre, Coventry, Nov 7-10.
Experimental Theatre Absolute - a company Coventry can be truly proud of - offers space to seven new and established artists in its latest production, Sphere.
Amazingly, none of these actors/performers/poets plus a musician and digital artist, knew what the others were doing before they met at the start of the week and their individual efforts were forged into interlinked pieces.
Music from an actress with a beautiful voice, Amy Kakoura, opened and then gave shape to the separate performances as Laura Nyanuye told us about the "survival kit" she'd received from her father in Zimbabwe, and Raef Boylan read his thought-provoking poem comparing hard-core drinkers with women posing as educated thinkers. I was especially moved by his "sausage-rolled" description of rough sleepers.
Then there was Demi Oyediran's fantasy rhyme about our over-reliance on mobiles as she confronts a frog - she'd kissed a few of those in her time - but now was cool on her own, "scrolling and phoning".
We in the audience - sitting at small tables in a club-like atmosphere - were brought back to reality with a bump as Kimisha Lewis left us in no doubt about the wearying inevitability of revenge knife-crime attacks - how the fictitious father of her unborn child would feel naked leaving the house without a blade in his pocket...for protection.
As a non-tech person I didn't entirely follow academic Ashley James Brown's entertaining digital diatribe but this was interrupted by accomplished playwright-performer Ola Animashawun bursting into the Shop Front Theatre to remind us of its "wi-fry" fish and chip shop past and how we've all just got to get on with Brexit...and each other.
It's not Viva Espana - it's stay over there, we are Britannia, observed Ola, who runs workshops for the BBC and reminded us that telling him to "get back where he came from" means Willenhall.
Each of these pieces marks the end of a long line of plays and narratives set loosely around the theme: We Are Where We Are. These seven voices work well in Sphere but could also stand alone. Personally I'd love to see the artists standing up in cafes all over the city during 2021.
In the meantime, I recommend you try to see Sphere - if there are any tickets left.
For tickets go to: http://www.theatreabsolute.co.uk/