The Hamilton Complex Review by Jonathan Evans – Young Critic On The Edge

The Hamilton Complex

Presented by Hetpaleis 

The Birmingham Rep as part of On The Edge 2016 

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

“When a woman says ‘I have nothing to wear!’, What she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m suppose to be today.”

-Caitlin Moran, How To Be A Woman

Experiencing The Hamilton Complex is like looking at the beginning of womanhood through a prism. The same thing is being shown, but spilt in as many different aspects as possible. We are shown thirteen girls all with different names, they perform a series of different acts with recurring images and colours before us with very loose themes connecting them.

The set is constructed like a dreamscape. A rainbow of toys hangs high above, Greek plans stand to the side and a blown-up painting of a garden serves as the background and two television screens at each side of the stage. It effectively creates an other-worldly setting to tell us that we are in a surreal world.

Het Hamiltoncomplex

The Hamilton Complex. Photo Credit: Hetpaleis

This isn’t really a story, this is a series of performances with recurring images and themes and ideas weaved throughout the whole thing, sowing it into a whole. There are no but’s and therefore that lead to any big character revelations.

The girls performances are by far the best thing about the whole show. These girls are actually between the ages of twelve to fourteen and they deftly execute complex, difficult scenes that any experienced adult would be challenged to pull off. As well as that they have long complex performances, dance moves and numerous, fast costume changes to pull off all while speaking in a foreign language to them.

Though the focus is on thirteen-year-old girls this is not a show for children. There is which artistic imagery here that children (even a few young teenagers) will have a hard time grasping. It takes a more mature mind with the ability to cut though the images and understand the meaning. Behind me was a class of (approximately) thirteen-year-old boys and they were giggling at numerous sections. The show operates on the same level of Susperia, Eraserhead and Utena and that is the level of ‘Pure Art.’ Do not think in terms of geography, exact real world roles or function. This world operates on symbolism and metaphor.

The Hamilton Complex is one of the most all-encompassing portraits of Fe-males that you will see. It takes its girls and shows them through every spectrum. It shows them as unruly, mischievous, feral animals but also protective of one another. They can be led around like animals, the ones that pull the lead, the dominated, but also the dominators. It all depends on what costume they’re put in, or choose to wear.

Jonathan Evans participation in Young Critics On The Edge was made possible through his involvement with Mess Up The Mess, Get the Chance (Wales) 

Young Critics On The Edge  is a collaboration between Barnstorm Theatre Company,NAYD (National Association for Youth Drama) Ireland and Mess Up The Mess, Get the Chance (Wales) in conjunction with the Symposium strand of theASSITEJ Artistic Gathering for 2016.

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Young Critics On The Edge- Panel Discussion – Full Audio

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Young Critics On The Edge Panel Discussion Photo Credit: Alan King 

On Thursday July 7th, twelve Young Critics from all across the UK and Ireland met for the final time as part of Young Critics On The Edge.

During this session the Young Critics presented their findings to an audience of Symposium Delegates at BCU Birmingham. Here they discussed their process over the previous four days. They also provided critical responses to the four performances they attended as part of Young Critics On The Edge.

The session was chaired by Anna Galligan from Barnstorm Theatre Company with technical support by Alan King of the National Association for Youth Drama (Ireland)

You can listen to the Full Edited recording of the session here

Or you can listen to the session in smaller sections here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A big thank you to all the On The Edge Festival staff for all their kindness and goodwill over the five days in Birmingham.

 

Young Critics On The Edge  is a collaboration between Barnstorm Theatre Company,NAYD (National Association for Youth Drama) Ireland and Mess Up The Mess, Get the Chance (Wales) in conjunction with the Symposium strand of theASSITEJ Artistic Gathering for 2016.

 

Boing! – Reviewed by Jonathan Evans, Young Critic On The Edge

Director Sally Cookson
Choreographers Joêl Daniel and Wilkie Branson
Composer Alex Vann
Set & costume designer Katie Sykes
Lighting designer Tim Streader, re-lights Jo Woodcock
Producer and rehearsal director Jude Merrill

Presented by Travelling Light Theatre Company

Reviewed July 5th 2016

Boing !is a show about how children desperately try to deal with the anticipation on the night before Christmas.

It is set entirely in a boy’s bedroom where two brothers, wait for their stockings to be filled. They want to go to sleep so Santa will come, but excitement keeps them awake.

The performers are significantly older than the boys they’re playing, but that is forgivable because no child is capable of performing to that level of skill and rigour..They have the limited space of the bed and a little floor space to manoeuvre in and they so gracefully roll and jump in very inch they have.

The plot is obvious fluff but the set up is one that nearly everyone can connect with and what takes you through it is a colourful, energetic performance of childhood.

Jonathan Evans participation was made possible through his involvement with Mess Up The Mess, Get the Chance (Wales) 

Young Critics On The Edge  is a collaboration between Barnstorm Theatre Company,NAYD (National Association for Youth Drama) Ireland and Mess Up The Mess, Get the Chance (Wales) in conjunction with the Symposium strand of theASSITEJ Artistic Gathering for 2016.