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Review: Contained: True Stories from the Heart, Mind the Gap Productions, New Wolsey Theatre, February 9

13:29 12 February 2016

Contained by Mind the Gap at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Contained by Mind the Gap at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Archant

England’s largest professional learning disabled theatre company produce a show of honesty, tenderness, anger and sharply observed humanity.

When it comes down to it, we can’t choose who we are related to. It can go one way or another before we get around to having to… just get on with it. At its centre, the performers in Contained weave their stories in and out of each other but all meet, in the end, at home. Home is with parents, Grandparents , foster parents, each other and within themselves. For if one message rings out, literally, it is : “ This is me, I am here and I’m fine”

The stage is lit by the house lights for most of show. The process of theatre making is a concept laid bare here by the performers: they lift, they adjust microphones, move scenery, carry props, plug in amps and wind up cables. Real questions are being presented here about disability and public display. The very notion of “watching” is under scrutiny , and I have never seen a show where there ownership feels both an artistic and political statement.

The performers tell their stories; their real- life stories, straight into a microphone. Some are uplifting, some are funny and some are bloody heart breaking. There is a real life romance on stage and a very cool band of cast members. Jez Colbourne’s music underscores throughout and it heightens the honesty of the performances creating a compelling and engaging dynamic with the audience.

The style of this show is more live-art than well-made play and this is fitting; disability led theatre should be pushing all boundaries. This show knows it’s the small things that happen that tell the biggest truths. It also knows that at the end, the best theatre has you leaving slightly more human for the experience of it.

Jackie Montague

Broadchurch and Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall knows a good story when he encounters one. Such a story can be found in his latest stage play, a full-bellied laugh-filled extravaganza entitled Worst Wedding Ever.

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia returned to Ipswich’s Regent Theatre last night with a sparkling and enchanting presentation of La Fille Mal Gardee, a chaming comic ballet in two acts.

Hysteria comes with quite a reputation. Penned by an acclaimed comic wordsmith, showered with praise by ecstatic critics on its original production and the recipient of an Olivier for Best New Comedy in 1994, any new staging has a lot to live up to.

LipService take us on a witty, clever and ingenious journey with Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Darcy. Deliciously irreverant, the world of the female writer is deconstructed in a hilarious pastiche mash up.

Classical Indian dance and hip hop is combined in a new work at the DanceHouse in Ipswich. Arts editor Andrew Clarke found out more

Rudyard Kipling’s book was given the Oddsocks Treatment and it was fantastic to see what they could do with some instruments, small jungle set and five people; transporting the audience into the heat of the Indian jungle for fun and laughter.

Showstopper!: The Improvised Musical, the Olivier-winning show which wowed both London’s West End and the Edinburgh Fringe, is arriving at the New Wolsey Theatre this weekend and is looking for lots of audience participation.

The Olivier-winning farce Hysteria about the meeting of Sigmund Freud and surreal artist Salvador Dali in Hampstead in 1938 is being staged at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds and the Colchester Mercury as part of a nationwide tour.

John Cleese is a comedy god. A founder of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, creator of Basil Fawlty and an integral part of such groundbreaking comedy series as I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again and The Frost Report, you would expect him to be basking in the sun on some comedy equivalent of Mount Olympus consuming ambrosia off the belly of a woodland nymph.

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