REVIEW: DELICATE @ THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH
📍 Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR
🗓 Thursday 6th October 2022
AN INTERESTING EXPLORATION
Delicate is presented by Extraordinary Bodies and is co--produced with Figurteatret i Nordland (Nordland Visual Theatre) and Theatre Royal Plymouth.
The show explores the different things that make our minds and bodies delicate in an interesting way. The four characters in the piece are each dealing with different issues but have a shared passion to not be defined by these delicacies.
Extraordinary Bodies combines the talents of deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists and they make their shows accessible to everyone by making every single performance audio described, captioned and BSL interpreted. What I liked about this piece is that although BSL interpreter was on a screen and not in the room, he was almost like a fifth character and interacted with the on stage characters.
All performances are also chilled which means that low lights are left on in the auditorium throughout and and if loud noises occur there is a warning. Audience members are also free to come and go throughout. This opens up the entire run to anyone who may struggle to attend the theatre for a multitude of reasons.
Because the performers all come from a background of either circus or dance, this show is very movement focused and these skills are shown off to their fullest.
Edward Muir plays a character that is in his fifties and after a silly accident, finds himself suddenly delicate. Reliant on medication and others to live his life he is struggling to find out how he now fits into the world. Muir is a very talented circus performer and his skills on the pole were breathtaking to watch. Muir was born with congenial hip dysplasia and has spent a long time adapting traditional circus techniques to suit his condition and capabilities. This was interesting to read because when watching him perform, you had no idea.
Pat Garrett's character was interesting because she was delicate in two ways. Firstly there were the emotions she was feeling after a recent bereavement, leaving her lost and looking for a way to move forward. She was also exploring the changes in her body. Now in her seventies, she was once a top ballet dancer and even though she left the profession over 40 years ago, she is struggling with the fact that her ageing body stopped her from doing what she loved. Before she trained as an actor, Garrett was actually a ballet dancer so her own life drew parallels with her character.
Laura Dajao is an amputee in a wheelchair. Her character hates being looked upon as delicate and dislikes the word disabled. She occasionally is frustrated with her body, especially when she drops things. Dajao is an inclusive dancer influenced by many different styles including Hip Hop and Contemporary and you could tell from her movement that she is a very accomplished dancer.
Jordan Morton-Trowers portrays perhaps the most intriguing character. He rarely speaks and instead uses his acrobatic skills to portray his frustrations. He has a delicate lifestyle and it seems that he is homeless and all alone. Because of the fact he has little dialogue and doesn't really explain himself, the audience are left to draw their own conclusions about him.
There are also visuals used throughout showing things such as news story clips. These explore how delicate the planet is and draw parallels with the characters on stage.
The set was simplistic and multi-functional and worked exceptionally well for its purpose.
This production is relatable for everyone and so raw that it really makes you think. It's definitely worth watching. I'm glad I've seen it and I would recommend it to people, however I probably wouldn't rush to see it again.
My issues with the show were that the characterisations, for me, could have been a lot stronger. Although I liked the intent of what was being said, I didn't always believe it. Also, I found that Morton-Trowers was sometimes difficult to understand. He was very softly spoken, which was fine, but the issue for me was with his diction. I did find that I occasionally missed what he was saying.
I also found that there were times when the captions and interpreter were very out of sync with what was happening on stage. Because they'd made the interpreter very much a part of the show, this was quite noticeable and as someone whose brain sometime struggles to cope with too many different things happening at once I did find this a distraction.
What I liked about this show is that everyone in the audience will probably take something different away from it. I love it when theatre can stir different thoughts and emotions in people. I find this happens more in dance shows than anything else so it's great to find this in a piece that has dialogue alongside the circus and dance skills.
Delicate continues at The Drum at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 15th October. Tickets can be booked via the website at www.theatreroyal.com/whats-on/delicate/. The show is then touring until Saturday 3rd December. All tour dates and show information can be found at www.extraordinarybodies.org.uk.
All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence.
My tickets for this were gifted as I was invited to Press Night of this production to review the show.
Above: A model of the set in the theatre foyer. Below: The set on the stage.