A Corner of the Ocean @ the tobacco factory theatre

A corner of the ocean.

As a diver – and having been in a few situations when perhaps I could have been left at the bottom of the ocean (literal or metaphorical) I was attracted to the themes within this production immediately. Presented by Jammy Voo and performed at The Tobacco Factory Theatre in June, this was to be my first taste of seeing contemporary physical theatre in a while. But it was a lot more than that. Combining music, physical theatre, puppetry, comedy and visual imagery, it was a brilliant demonstration of the opportunities theatre can bring when you start to think outside of the box. Suddenly, I realised, the performance possibilities are endless. Things I learnt from this production:

Puppet power. My most recent experience of puppetry was er.. a performance of Avenue Q. This was in a different league. Using four different varieties of puppet it was first time I had seen this kind of storytelling in a way which was interweaved with other types of contemporary theatre.  Outside of comedy, I don’t remember ever having had an emotional response to puppetry before this performance. The bed scene was touching, the closing scene was extremely powerful, if a little scary and I’ve gone off minks in a big way.

I enjoyed the use of space, the staging was quite intricate but didn’t seem overwhelming and the characters moved within their own complex corners and sometimes within each others. It seemed evident the company had a close rapport which s added to the slickness of the performance. The incorporation of live music and singing served to intensify the experience as emotion and mood changed from scene to scene as we got to know the different characters and experience the highs and lows of dealing with loss.  Things I particularly remember: the story of a girl crying on a bus, a Christmas spent alone, how it’s inevitable your head will explode if you always do and say the right thing, dancing to (born slippy?) the application of make-up (perhaps also a reference to Jimmy Voo’s clowning origins?) and how in the culmination of the work, the characters discovery that even in the darkest times of love and loss, there may be a positive moment, in the realisation that perhaps much of your identity and your life can easily be eclipsed by your relationship and the man you love.

I stayed for the question session at the end which was really informative and a great way to understand how the piece was together (thank you). I’d been thinking about clowning a bit (as you do) and whilst this was not a clowning piece the voo’s have inspired me to give it a go.

This was a highly creative, invigorating and original piece of work which demonstrated the multi-skilled and accomplished talents of the company whilst revealing exactly what it is to be a woman experiencing love, grief and loss.

Oh crap. Realise the last sentence made it sound a bit like a school report.

The performance was empowering and brilliant.

‘nuff said.

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