Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

At Company of Sirens

Company of Sirens- Dark Vanilla Jungle , Chapter , Cardiff , March 5, 2015
At Company of Sirens by Company of Sirens- Dark Vanilla Jungle This is something that I usually do, and I don’t do it very often, in the last paragraph of my reviews. But go and see this remarkable, unmissable performance now! Seren Vickers, a second year student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama is only about to leave her teenage years behind but she gives the most, captivating, strong and charismatic performance as the besieged teenager, Andrea in this extraordinary, award winning, troublesome, play by Philip Ridley.

She greets us with a beguiling smile and starts to tell us about the time she was stung by a wasp. “…I have to start somewhere.” And so off we go on this this compelling and gripping adventure. Highly acclaimed writer, artist and film director, Ridley is a master of strong graphic writing. In this production, with its fine and subtle direction by Company of Sirens Artistic Director, Chris Durnall and Vickers’ totally engaging performance we see and feel his stark, dark pictures hit the back of our brains.

She is just fifteen when we first meet her. Her mum helped her with the wasp sting. The eleven year old Andrea has a warm relationship with her mum. Andrea tells us her mother is beautiful but she is not. Her mother sings professionally, Andrea cant sing. Andrea’s mum meets a man. Soon they are gone, leaving Andrea alone. Andrea takes us with her on her graphic, fantastic, colourful, mainly very dark colours, search for love.

I want to leave the content of the play there for you to go on Andrea’s journey and experience it with her.

At the beginning of the play the stage is brightly lit and the house lights are on; audience and performer are in this big room together. She holds us in a very natural conversation with her innocent smile. Each member of the audience has the feeling of sitting beside her on a stool in a bar. Another fine quality with this performer is that although she is totally convincing in her characterisation we remain aware that she is an actor giving us a very fine performance, this enhances this first class, total theatre experience.

Through her body she gives us the whole range of human emotions, the strength and force of her reactions are very powerful yet we seem to remain somewhat ambiguous in our sympathy for the character. She does have a very tough time and we leave her in one of her many, seemingly hallucinogenic moments and wondering what will happen next.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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