A Substitute for Life and Lucid

The RADA Festival takes place each year in the summer term there are many productions to see and workshops to attend as well as art installations it has been fantastic to see so much going on.

I only had time to catch a couple of productions.

The first was Simon Brett’s play A Substitute for Life performed in the Gielgud studio theatre at RADA was quite an intense hour.  The Second was Lucid by New Public which was a physical theatre performance and I hadn’t been to one in such a long time.

In A Substitute for Life Tim Hardy played Francis Kenworthy a man we are introduced to and who through that hour offers us a portrait of a man who has arrived at this point in his life and reveals his story incrementally throughout the performance.

Hardy’s performance is compelling.  The piece itself is  and Hardy is confined to his desk for much of the performance. Hemming him in and concentrating his performance from the waist up. The character of Francis is brought vividly to life with a stammer and a love of literature or at least that is how we are introduced.  He narrates his own history and does so assuming some characters who had the most impact on his life.

The play is a tantalising slow reveal of a man who has suffered at the hands of all of the adults in his life and ill equipped for adulthood.

The tension in his play is based on the contract between the protagonist and the audience, who are in essence hearing a confession and as each new piece of information is revealed the relationship between audience and actor evolves. It was an in-depth character study wonderfully rendered.

Lucid on the other hand was incredible.  An ensemble piece about what happens when you dream. An hour full of vignettes which take you through nightmares as well as those amazing dreams where everything goes right. A devised piece that moves through several forms, mime, dance, karaoke, dance, combat a riot of recorded sounds and music soundtrack the impeccably choreographed moves.  From rage and despair to euphoria and every beat in-between.  

Glorious, clever and very funny.

Lucid moved me in ways I didn’t expect. If you get the chance to see its well worth your time.

A Substitute for Life is will be playing at the Edinburgh Festival

More info on New Public