Mascha and Vascha – Strange Ladies

Two grotesque old ladies bicker in a small gypsy-esque living room.  Eyes roll and teeth gnash as they rasp their way through their day.  One is a dreamer and the other a doer, one a skinny hunchback and the other comically rotund, but for all their differences they are inherently tied together; being the only thing the other one has left.  Their monotonous life is full of washing and futile attempts to go outside, indeed anything to fill the gaps in the hours, minutes and seconds of each interminable day.

With the heavy ghost of Waiting For Godot hanging over its head, Mascha & Vascha does at times pay a successful homage to Beckett’s masterpiece, with a couple of beautifully existential lines but these are too few and far between.  More often than not this surreal dialogue appears forced in a piece which seems to be trying too hard. 

 Hannah Pyliotis and Lily Sykes are undoubtedly talented performers, creating intensely physical individual caricatures that are punctuated with imaginative ‘gestus’, within a sweet and present friendship that is a delight to watch.  However too often they push their random symbolism too far; at times being uncomfortably over the top and at others too naively ready for a ‘trick’ so that they are never fully convincing clowns. 

This is a first time piece of work which starts in all the right places, but somewhere along the journey loses focus and sadly ends up in all the wrong ones.  But it is also a young company who may have faltered in this show, but are sure to find their feet in future ones.  Onwards and upwards.

 Mascha & Vascha runs at The Camden People’s Theatre until Friday 21 August at 7.45pm

Edinburgh I love you, but let me flirt with London a little…it’s surprisingly tempting

I wrote this piece when I didn’t know that I was going to be going up to Edinburgh with my lovely friend (and children’s book writer – PLUG!) Louise Beere, but I like it so much that I’m going to post it anyway so read on McDuff and the basic premise is the same – Edinburgh in August is fabulous, but London has revealed itself to be just as wonderful:

Edinburgh is calling to me like a long lost lover.  Loud and clear over the airwaves, newspaper pages and facebook status updates, everywhere I look the presence of the Edinburgh Fringe haunts me with it’s vibrancy, variety, drinking and surprisingly good weather.  Great fun if you’re stuck down in little old London.  But not for me the moping of one whose financially straights have caused this enforced separation, no darkened bedrooms and constant stalking of facebook friends who are up there for a bread crumb of the experience. No! Once more into the theatrical breach dear friends, and blow me down what a delectable breach London has to offer in this holiday month.

So far I’ve seen an appallingly lazy production of Dreams of Violence at the Soho Theatre (boyfriends and girlfriends shouldn’t work together if this half arsed attempt is the result) that was great fun to rip apart, a delightful theatrical ditty in the form of Con Ghiaccio’s Grimms, an insightful production of Tis Pity She’s A Whore and an all woman glam rock version of Macbeth.  Next up is absurdist comedy Mascha and Vascha, a Butoh inspired performance, Down-A and a one woman show about family loss, Twinless.  And all that’s in one week.

There’s just so much choice for a city supposedly put to sleep by the migration of artists to the great Scottish capital and although much of this variety has to do with the punked up Camden Fringe, other great fringe London venues are refusing to be cowed, with the Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s Hot August Fringe naughtily representing the South in its usual fabulous fashion and The Arcola in Dalston with the delightfully trendy Arcola Grimeborn Festival.

So forgive me Edinburgh if I let my hair down a little in this glorious capital of mine and forget to stay with my head under the covers pining for you; you have my heart, but what’s a girl to do in the face of so much theatrical temptation? I’m off to flirt more with a bit of the London theatre scene and over the next couple of days I’ll be posting the bits that I’ve written for The Camden Voyeur and also The Fringe Review because it may be repetition but it’s what I’ve been writing this month and this poor blog oh mine has frankly been looking quite neglected.