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London (Newcastle)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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London at the Live Theatre, Newcastle, is an hour-long performance, split in to two 30-minute monologues, T5 and Seawall.

The more interesting one is T5, which puts you inside the mind of the character telling the story. On entering the theatre you are given a pair of wireless headphones and just before the actress on stage wakes up (she has been lying on the bed while the audience arrives) you are asked to put them on. Thereafter you are listening to the woman tell the story through her thoughts. At times she says the words out loud and sings, but there is no sound in the theatre (I lifted my headset to check) so I was intrigued to know how she knew when to say the words or sing. But at the end she takes her wig off and removes the earpieces she has been wearing, mystery solved.

Before the next monologue starts we remove out headsets and watch the stage crew strip the set and leave some scenery propped up against the wall as the next actor waits.

Then on a bear stage with lights behind him,we hear from Alex, who tells his story of being a photographer, father and husband from centre stage. With the layout of the theatre being so intimate he is able to make direct eye contact with the audience individually, which adds to the effectiveness of the tale.

Written by Simon Stephens, neither story makes you feel anything for the characters, but both monologues are well acted by Abby Ford and Cary Crankson. But it is only the novelty of wearing the headphones that made this show different as neither story is gripping or thought provoking.


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