'Sci-Fi Month' showcase review

The Wireless Theatre Company, for me, needs no introduction. I have been a follower of their exceptional audio work for years. So when I heard of a collaboration with Wired Up Media and a live show mixing audio with visuals for Sci-Fi month, I was intrigued. The evening at the Lost Theatre, Stockwell, showcased four pieces- all directed by George Maddocks- two films, and two live recordings incorporating Foley. This was a great showcase of the directorial range of Maddocks, who demonstrated his imagination and capability across film, live performance and recorded audio. At the helm, producer Mariele Runacre Temple displays her curiosity across disciplines and her desire to push boundaries, proving that great audio does not need to be experienced privately on headphones but is perhaps best enjoyed as part of a public theatrical event.

Our first piece, ‘White Noise’ was a submission for the BFI’s Sci-Fi London’s 48 Hour Film Challenge. Entrants were given a prop, a line and 2 days to come up with the most original piece possible. The short film, featuring Josephine Arden (brilliantly both sweet and robotic!) and Jack Bowman (wonderfully downtrodden and pervy!) was a hugely entertaining tongue in cheek comedy about two robot sex dolls rejecting their human owners in favour of a romantic relationship with each other. Funny original and well put together, ‘White Noise’ was a great opener for the evening.

‘Dead London’ was a film with an entirely different feel. This was a submission for the 75th Anniversary of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds US Radio Competition, and set Welles’ alien invasion in present day London. This film was primarily audio, and supported by images onscreen. The film used social media to support the story: we were watching a computer as someone emailed loved ones in a desperate attempt to reach them, checked iplayer for news updates on the warfare and logged onto youtube for footage of the alien landings. This was a refreshing and relevant piece, featuring the voices of Josephine Arden and Jack Bowman as the police officers communicating over the radio, and the unmistakeable boom of Brian Blessed as the voice of the imposing martians!

After the interval it was on to the live recordings and the two plays selected by The Wireless Theatre Company from those submitted for the event. ‘Space Ladz’, the hilarious story of a stag do in space, involved everything you may expect or imagine from a pair of characters called Baz and Rooney on a final batchelor send off. Written by Philip Lawrence, and featuring Neil Frost, David Beck, Jessica Dennis, Daniel Rodriguez and Andrew Macbean, ‘Space Ladz’ had the audience roaring as the live Foley artist blew ‘fart bubbles’ and provided the leafy effects for the spinster talking tree who falls for our groom.

Our final piece, ‘Time Travel Incorporated’, was perhaps my favourite. Written by Peter Davis and featuring Andrew Macbean, Daniel Rodriguez, David Beck, Adam Hall, Neil Frost and Jessica Dennis, ‘Time Travel Incorporated’ tells the touching tale of a time travel agent who sends clients back to visit the past, while all the while waiting for his own lost love to eventually find him. Davis creates his own world where the idea of time travel is conceivable, and gives his characters funny original reasons for their recreational trips (including one man who ignores all warnings and visits the dinosaurs, and one who declares that watching Shakespeare’s actors perform a Shakespeare play turned out to be ‘rubbish’.) ‘Time Travel Incorporated’ successfully combines the skill of sci-fi writing with great storytelling, making it a completely accessible and engaging piece on many levels.

The Sci-Fi Showcase collaboration was a night where many aspects of the technological met with the theatrical. Live performers relied on the skill of the sound and light technicians, and the Foley artist was projected on the huge screen so we could see exactly how the effects were made. It was stripped away and explained so we could enjoy a fuller experience. All in all, an eye opening and original night at the theatre, and a successful collaboration by two companies at the top of their game.

(c) Jade Allen 2013
Reviewed Saturday 4th May 2013 at the Lost Theatre, Vauxhall http://www.losttheatre.co.uk/

Producer: Mariele Runacre Temple
Director: George Maddocks.
Cast: Brian Blessed, Josephine Arden, Jack Bowman, Tom Hunter, Jessica Dennis, Mariele Runacre Temple, Matthew Hebden, Matt Blair, Tom Slatter, Neil Frost, David Beck, Daniel Rodriguez, Andrew Macbean and Adam Hall.


Please also see Female Arts interview with Wireless Theatre artistic director Mariele Runacre Temple http://www.femalearts.com/node/93

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