By Laura Aish, PhD Film and TV, Final Year
The Place at the Bridge is currently being performed at the Tobacco Factory Theatre by the Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory group (STF). With a run time of around forty-five minutes, I was really excited to watch my first bit of live-streamed theatre!
Written by Chinonyerem Odimba and directed by Helena Middleton, the play is a fresh take on Shakespeare’s sonnets, exploring the city of Bristol and the lives of characters living there. The show sets out to bring Shakespeare’s words into a contemporary context for modern audiences.
The piece was presented through an ensemble performance, roles were expertly portrayed by Alexandra Wollacott, Nadia Williams, Shane David-Joseph, Zachary Powell and Heather Williams – who each took on a different character and utilised the lines of the sonnets as dialogue to interact with each other.
Loving the rehearsal photos for @ShakespeareatTF's A Place at the Bridge! Tickets still available for the live stream Thu 27 & Fri 28 May with Captions available. To book: https://t.co/Egr37uFAmF #captions https://t.co/MlwGoSsK9m— Tobacco Factory Theatres (@tftheatres) May 21, 2021
A particular highlight of the show was the fantastic musical performance by Sura Susso, whose expert Kora playing acted as both a wonderful soundtrack for the play but also an integral part of the performance itself with characters interacting with the musician regularly throughout.
The set, designed by Alana Ashley, was minimalistic but utilised very effectively. It consisted of several boards that could be easily revolved to infuse each scene with a completely new background and setting. The set design also showcased artwork by Bristol graffiti artists such as Inkie, Mollymural, Zed in the clouds, Stivs and Rozalita.
The performance was a good one and I enjoyed seeing it. You could tell that a lot of thought had gone into all of the performances and the design.
Although lovely to hear the sonnets performed, they were used throughout as the main dialogue which made the underlying story slightly difficult to follow at times.
The livestream format that I accessed worked incredibly smoothly. I would be really interested to see how this performance works in person - I imagine it would enhance audience experience of the dialogue greatly.
Overall though, it was a good piece of theatre that showcased a lot of talent and was enjoyable to watch.
Featured Image: Craig Fuller