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Pulse. The final week. Day three

Pulse 2012. The final week. Last day

By • Southeast
It would seem that this year's Pulse Fringe Festival finished with a bang, not a whimper, as modern music played such a key element on its closing day.

Victoria Melody in her one-woman show Northern Soul lifts the lid on two niche pastimes that may become extinct: pigeon fancying and soul music. Her approach to performance is unique in the way that she immerses herself in others' lives to develop a study as rigorous as that of the anthropologist – then bring that study to life in performance through a variety of media including from films, photos, dance, music and comedy. Melody's candour is engaging, and her ability to interweave lives creats a coherent and compelling show that entertains and informs.

Moving from the north of England to ancient Greece, Kindle Theatre skilfully and appropriately relocated classical tragedy to modern music in its performance of The Furies. During this performance, the audience is disorientated by initially entering what appeared to be a heavy metal rock gig. Rather than a traditional theatre setting, this performance was held in a large hall and the audience stood as though they were at a rock gig between three stages.

Through the course of the one -hour ensemble performance, the story of Clytemnestra's pain, loss and revenge is told with menace and drama. This is both powerful and intimate as rock ballads are belted out with powerful, haunting, clear and controlled voices but the cast then slithers sensually and interacts with the audience as iy moved from stage to stage.

Returning back to the mundane, The Oh F*** Moment is staged in one of the offices of the New Wolsey Theatre itself where the performers, Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe, greet the audience with a cup of tea and the performance initially has the atmosphere of a cosy team meeting in the workplace. It then morphs into a confessional and an opportunity for performance lecture and poetry. The openness with which Walker and Thorpe reveal stories from their lives encourages a similar level of openness from the audience and concludes with by a well thought out poem on the futility of regret.

For Birdhouse, the physical theatre company Jammyvoo draws on influences from both Hitchcock and physical theatre to create a disconcerting and eclectic set of sketches that explores the subject of fear and of birds. However, this piece stands independently of the film and, through an effective mixture of performance, lighting, sound design, props and masks, a menacing yet comedic atmosphere is created.

Despite being a “work-in-progress”, this has the strength and professionalism that some finished productions at this year's Pulse lack. Jammyvoo have ambitions to tour this production to rural theatres; however, given the eclectic nature of the piece, one wonders whether some audiences might be bewildered by it.

In the middle of Ipswich's busy Saturday market, Rajini Shah reached out to non-traditional audiences by encouraging them to Write a Letter to a Stranger. In a market stall, members of the public are encouraged to sit down, have a cup of tea and write a letter to someone anonymous. After the letter is written, they are encouraged to pick another letter from an anonymous set of envelopes on a plate, take that letter and read it. This thought-provoking piece did appear to engage Saturday shoppers in Ipswich.


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