Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Theater Review Articles: "Imaginary Beasts Troupe Makes a Meal of ‘Hairy Tales’" & "Matchless Magic"

Amy Meyer (front) and Poornima Kirby as the Countess
'To bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears. That is because the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man!' (Quote from Imaginary Beasts FaceBook page, on Hairy Tales)
You may remember my post last Thursday about Angela Carter's dramatized radio plays Hairy Tales (specifically, Vampirella & The Company of Wolves)? Now that a few performances have run we have some reviews available to give us a peek behind the curtain.

Here are some excerpts from a review in The Boston Globe "Imaginary Beasts troupe makes a meal of ‘Hairy Tales’":
Presented by Imaginary Beasts under the umbrella title “Hairy Tales,” as part of the company’s “Once Upon a Time . . . ” season at the Boston Center for the Arts, they posit that the beast in us all is anything but imaginary. 
At the BCA’s Plaza Black Box, the floor for “The Company of Wolves” is painted, or perhaps chalked, in swashes of brown, gray, and white that suggest tree trunks — or wolf fur. The back wall comprises four panels of horizontal wooden slats, in front of which is a long table and props: baskets, a chair, a stool, a red napkin, a gun, a hatchet, a feathered hat. The backdrop for “Vampirella” is a white sheet draped over the wooden wall with holes, through which the Count appears. The table doubles as a bed and at times is upended; a magic lantern projects images and information on the sheet. One of director Matthew Woods’s better inspirations is the hula hoop that serves as the Hero’s bicycle.
(You can continue reading the whole article HERE.)
Michael Underhill as the Hero

And there's a more personal review on the Boston Arts Review blog by Beverly Creasey titled "Matchless Magic". Here are a couple of excerpts from her write-up:
Of the two evening shows on the same bill, the first, THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, is what you might call a stylized “horror” story with a twist, about women and their infinite attraction to wolves... You may not recognize them because their fur grows not on the outside but on the inside... 
Lovely stomping, clapping, jumping choreography by Kiki Samko has the villagers dancing a reel, unaware of the shadows surrounding their exuberant celebration. Director Matthew Woods and company have found a delightful, inventive theatrical “language” with which to tell a story. Two actors, back to back, lock arms to become a four legged creature. Another becomes a ticking clock with outstretched arms for the hands. (A swinging pendulum is supplied by another.) Two more position themselves so that we see only the isolated head of one and just the body of the other, to add up to one “headless horseman” of a corpse.
...The piece de resistance, however, is the second play, VAMPIRELLA (Lady of the House of Love). Your breath will be taken away by the confluence of images in the play. From Joey Pelletier’s racing, tiptoeing, begging handed, lantern bearing Nosferatu (Woods pays tribute in VAMPIRELLA both to Murnau and to the original magic lantern “moving pictures”)… to Michael Underhill’s hilariously droll Brit peddling madly through the Carpathian mountains on a wild hula hoop bicycle….to Amy Meyer’s weightless, gravity defying form sliding down Dierdre Benson’s door-wall-platform-table-bed…to William Schuller’s taller-than-life Vlad, able to penetrate a castle wall at will…to Poormina Kirby’s helpless, blind bird, caged in Cotton Talbot-Minkin’s inverted hooped skirt armature (Talbot-Minkin’s costumes are extraordinary creations)…to Kamelia Aly’s bloodthirsty governess (Attend the tale of Sawney Beene!)....I could go on and on. 
Woods’ savagely beautiful set design/direction (not to mention Sam Beebe’s haunting music and Chris Bocchiaro’s chiaroscuro lighting) makes you wonder how Carter’s gorgeous language (“corridors as circuitous as passages inside the ear”) could exist without the thrill of the Imaginary Beasts to make it soar. Miss HAIRY TALES at your peril.
You can read her whole review (with many more details for the two stories), HERE.

There's another review from The White Rhino Report HERE which, although it doesn't give a whole lot of new information about the presentation or content, gives an enthusiastic personal - and clearly delighted - perspective on the double bill, which is worth reading as well.

I'm inspired just reading these three reviews! We'll have to see if it makes enough impact to travel or the rights given to other companies to perform it in other cities/towns. Here hoping. *fingers crossed*

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