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Two theatrical treats and a taster from IYAF

Two theatrical treats and a taster from IYAF make for a busy and entertaining week

Comedy at the Orange Tree

Seven Year Twitch - Paul Kemp and Katie Miles - photo by Robert DaySeven Year Twitch is a hilarious comedy of manners, marriage and morals. If you’ve ever been in counselling or received any form of support from a psychiatrist, you will find Seven Year Twitch very funny. And if you have ever been in any kind of relationship, you will find it very funny too. In fact it would be impossible not to laugh at David Lewis’s play which at times reverts (almost) to the farce for which the Orange Tree is so famous. Couples come separately each to their psychiatrist. There is confusion and betrayal and there are secrets. And the psychiatrists are just as confused as their patients leading inevitably to breakdown – of communication and of relationships.

Fran (Amanda Royle) and Terry (Simon Mattacks) are the main sparring partners in the neat clinical set of a psychiatrist’s consulting room. She is the ignored wife, he is an obsessive birdwatcher/twitcher. Both seek help. Fran turns to Charlie (Paul Kemp) who has more than enough problems of his own, while Terry turns to Megan (Lucy Tregear), who is herself not uncomplicated.

I really enjoyed this play – the cast is excellent, the play uplifting and enlightening, and the simplicity of the set and the really neat choreography sustain the entanglements beautifully. And watching Simon Mattacks and his girlfriend Jill (Joannah Tincey) in a one-man birdwatching chair-hide in the sitting room forms a memory that will last and last.

Seven Year Twitch at Orange Tree to 22 June 2013
0209 8940 3633

Tragedy at Richmond Theatre

Also this week, again in Richmond but this time at Richmond Theatre, I was lucky to be treated to a masterpiece from Rupert Goold’s Headlong whose work I have long been in awe of. Chekhov’s The Seagull was a real breathtaking experience and one which others will write about more learnedly than I. Let it be said, to my shame, this was my first time seeing The Seagull and my first time seeing a Chekhov play. There, I have admitted my lack of experience and knowledge! However, if I have been tardy in my embracing of his work, then Chekov and Headlong made the wait well worthwhile.
The set itself is a clever: seemingly simple, yet intriguing enough to engage in its own right. Characters write upon the back wall in flowing script that dries and disappears; a long plank is the centre piece for the action – a table, a bridge, a seesaw.

Abigail Cruttenden is brilliantly beautiful as the self-absorbed actor, Arkadina, and - with Gyuri Sarossy as her insecure lover, the writer Trigorin - compelling. The final encounter between Konstantin (Alexander Cobb) and Nina (Pearl Chanda) –the girl whose innocent and enthusiastic search for art and fame has found her only unhappiness - is tragic.

The Seagull is on tour now so catch it if you can!

A taster of IYAF at the Rose

The International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF) launch party held at the Rose Theatre Culture Cafe was a splash of colour and entertainment provided by many of the Creative Talent companies participating in IYAF this year. Providing just a taster of things to come (the full programme is available soon at IYAF), I recommend blocking off some of your summer diary for the following events.

6 July K Games – Features live music, BBQ’s BMX, skate boarding, roller and scooter competitions with a ton of goodies and giveaways

6- 11 July Workshop Week – Muck in and try something new, enhance your professional development, tap into your inner artist and enjoy an inspired fun day out!

12 July Raise The Roof. Always a highlight of the cultural calendar, this is the opening concert kicking the International Youth Arts Festival Kingston 2013 off in style. It starts at 7.30pm at the Rose – and the plan is to leave us desperate to see what the weeks ahead will bring! Book now!

14 July Kingston Carnival. Take to the streets with IYAF Kingston Carnival, come and join performers, giant puppets and carnival dancers take over the town centre!

20 July Kinetic Visions’ evening of dance promises to be a great as it will be varied, with young contemporary dancers, classical, street and jazz from all over the UK, Kingston and abroad. Highly recommended by me.

25 July Royal Gala Night. This features National Youth Music Theatre production of Whistle Down The Wind in the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex with champagne reception, at the Rose in Kingston.

My Top Tip

Get yourself an IYAF Festival pass – the best way to see as many shows as you can fit in! – and just wander round Kingston soaking up the fab festival atmosphere.

International Youth Arts Festival 6-28 July. Full schedule of events

Sarah Hodgson is Editor-in-Chief at Time & Leisure Media Group