02 May 2008

Branded by Simon Bent

Ben - Tam Williams
Bob - Ian Redford
Mr Lai - Daniel York
Charles - Corey Johnson
Bridget, Rox's Mother - Claire Gordon
Rox - Sally Amaka Okafor
SU-Lin, Tang's Mother - Uma Bussarapom Thongman
Tang - Seong Park
Melon - David Waddington
Desmond - Aaron Andrew Anderson
Ryan - Rakim Young
Clare- Katharine Bennett-Fox
Chinese Workers - Shu-Yu Chin, Oma Dapul, William Mychael Lee
Xang - Hugo Trebels
Henry - Tom Wood
Wang - Billy Sy
Flight Attendant - Ralph Bogard
Serena - Anniwaa Buachie
Jed - Alex Felton
Sarah - Cassandra Harwood
Leo - James Baldwin
Amy - Lisa Devlin
Candy - Harriet Chatfield
Loz - Robin Berry
Joyce/Solicitor - Anne Rabbit
Zhou - Helen Russell-Clark
Yardley - Paul Joseph
Hunter - Shaka Bunsie

Lead Dancer - Aline David
Dancer - Clinton Baugh
Jubal Carbon
Joseph Appiah-Danquah
Kemi Durosinmi
Stephanie Frances O'Brien
Katie Lowe
Emily Mondo
Seth Nicolsey
Stefan Puxon
Bobby Joel Stearns
Miguel Hernando Torres Umba

Musicians - Tom Wood & Francesco Corallini

Choir - Victoria Holtom, Vanessa Mansaray, Mariesa Clarek, Jacqueline Michelle, Elizabeth Ngero, Nicole McKenzie

Director - Matt Wilde
Associate Director & Choreographer - Aletta Collins
Set & Video Designer - Lorna Heavey
Original Music & Sound Design - Ben & Max Ringham

I saw the third of only five performances of this piece at the Old Vic. Seats were free so by the time I booked I had a rubbish one (D12 of the Dress Circle) but the dance stuff was probably better viewed from the circle so I'm cool about it.

You should probably read more about this here

Whilst I enjoyed elements of this, with special note for the raucous audience, I think this was far too clunky in it's efforts to be worthy and down with the kids. Simon has a solid body of well crafted work to his credit but this felt like something more akin to your favourite school drama teacher writing something for the end of term. Perhaps I am just old old to watch so many young people on stage but I certainly didn't get that feeling during the wonderful trilogy at the National last month. Perhaps that was due to the direction there of Paul Miller, who handled Simon Bent's translation of Elling so masterfully. This is not a dig at Matt Wilde because I have also enjoyed his work. I wonder if the whole thing just needs more time.

There were some fun set pieces but I feel this piece needs a lot more work to articulate the message more concisely. I'm not saying it was too long but it seemed to lunge along in fits and starts and felt messy.