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What You Will (Bristol)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Last night I attended The Brewery Theatre to see the world premiere of What You Will – produced by Guy se Beaujeu and Simon Reade. I went to the theatre with absolutely no idea of what the show would be like – I knew of course that it was the alternative title to William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but other than that I was completely in the dark. However, The Brewery Theatre has always managed to surprise me with their productions in the past so I was looking forward to the evening.

The first surprise was to find that I would be watching a film and not a live play – a little different I thought but I’m sure it will be fine.

Director Simon Reade introduces the film with a short synopsis of what we can expect to see, and how the film came about. The film – What You Will – is certainly an innovative production. It follows on from a trip to the Tobacco Factory Theatre in 2008 by the inventive Theatre Company Filter with their production of Twelfth Night. In that they used a mix of live music, physical comedy and audience interaction. It became one of the theatrical events of the year.

This new film mixes scenes from that triumphant tour with fly on the wall style scenes of the company – a sort of mockumentary / documentary mix, telling the story of an imaginary theatre company “Sea-in-a-Sieve Theatre” touring the South West of England with their production of Twelfth Night. The audience is never quite sure whether the incidents occurring in the film are true or imaginary.

I can only describe the film as the sort of thing you would probably see late night on Channel 4 TV. The audience at The Brewery Theatre on press night at least were largely composed of students, and I would hazard a guess that they were mainly drama students, who I suspect are the film’s target audience. Listening to their conversations at the end of the evening it was obvious that they had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Clever in places, the film does give an insight to what goes on back stage and out on tour. It shows the difficulties of having a small group of people travelling, living and working together for quite a long period of time – arguments occur, romances are made and ended and all is certainly not sweetness and light.

Perhaps it’s a good thing for would be future actors to see – usually the public are only shown the glitz and glamour of the industry so this film makes a refreshing change.

The erratic motion of the camera comes close to making me “car sick” on occasion, but this is compensated by the beautiful Cornish scenery shown throughout.

All in all an interesting evening's entertainment – certainly worth a visit!


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