Technical Crew Details:
Paul Cooper and Ken Mose
Peter King, Cliff Palmer and Tim Young
Reviewed by J.M.A. For The Croydon Advertiser, Friday July 18, 1975
Stages of Life
Tee-shirts and jeans were the costumes of Theatre Workshop Coulsdon last week, but this was no dire expedient to combat inflation. The tee-shirts, chests emblazoned with TWC (which I thought at first was TWO and looked around for ONE), were part of a complex whole, a dance-drama entitled “Circles”.
TWC deserved praise for (a) experimenting with new vehicles and (b) exploiting the talents of their young members in a wide variety of ways.
“Circles” dealt with the stages of life – hackneyed you may say, shades of Will Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage,” but Willie didn’t use projectors and slides, recorded music, symbolic dance and mime.
This intriguing medley was devised and coordinated by Christopher Argles, a promising budding impresario. We started with Louis MacNeice’s “Prayer before Birth,” read in the darkened hall, with the slide of a red candle glowing on the screen. Reading was mostly too fast and rather slurred, and I missed one whole poem because of an extremely persistent telephone caller.
Then came (fairly) appropriate music, which ranged during the programme from the “Sanctus” to “Matthew and Son,” and choreographed dance-mime, which as the nine items continued varied a good deal in idiom. This was not just from serious to amusing, which is part of the point of the thing, but from symbolic to concrete, which is merely confusing.
At the same time two energetic young ladies high up beside the screen were writhing in further terpsichorean symbolism whose meaning eluded me.
Mind you, we couldn’t see all the action because about 120 people turned up and I gathered they were expecting about 40, but they did apologise. Maybe they could have done it in the half round like their near neighbours Theatre 270, based not half a mile away.
However, the mimes/dancers mimed and danced with grace and precision and understanding. The slides shown were again mixed in idiom, some atmospheric like a red flower for falling in love, and some interesting in their banality, like a wedding group.
Did something go wrong with the slides after the interval? If so, nobody was in the mood to criticise owing to the inspired idea of continuing the extremely funny wedding reception scene with the actors bringing trays of real Vin Rose (in disposable beakers) and slivers of wedding cake to every member of the audience.
An amusing evening.