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Friday, 8 March 2013

Theatre Review: Flock at Northern Stage

Magic amongst the turmoil
 
"Flock" tells a fairy story of 3 siblings that came into being through magical circumstances and then, as they grew up forgot about their origins and became occupied with the serious matters involved in being an adult. Their mother never lost her belief, after all she was still being watched over by the fairy she had rescued from a cage in the rainforest and had blessed her with the three children..from a pomegranate. After her death they honour her wish that they journey to the Caspian Sea, guided by the acrobatic fairy, to find what their purpose in life will be. The legendary bird, the Simorgh would appear to them an bring them enlightenment. Like in the story, "The Conference of the Birds" enlightenment does not come from a magical external source but from within oneself. The 3 siblings realise what they were looking for was right before their eyes. And all this against a backdrop of political unrest in 1920's Iran.

 
The story is told using dance, movements, songs, rope dancing, puppetry and the eclectically constructed music of Mariam Rezaei giving the whole show a magical feel. Expressed often in a childlike way, as for much of the play the siblings are children, I am quite surprised the play was recommended for 12 years and above. My 9 year old enjoyed it immensely and he was gripped by  the whole performance.

The clever use of lighting and the subtle puppetry worked really well with the set up of the props. The set was very attractive but did not detract from the performances.

The actors expressed the feelings and desires of very different people. There was a lot of energy on that stage, and the audience were very close to the action in the studio theatre. This was a fun play.

I did have a feeling of watching the story unfold rather like a child would. But I did want to know what they would find at the edge of the Caspian Sea. I thought the whole thing was executed really well, brought to life and creating an other-worldly Iran quite apart from the politics and religious differences. It was good to see a production set in Iran without a political edge...its a fairy story.

 
Christina Berriman-Dawson, Ruth Johnson, Carl Kennedy, Rosa Macreery and Nazli Tabatabai-Katambakhsh create a very warm and engaging family story with occasional threats from the demons of the dark. All of this is bolstered further by the colours and moods of the music and lighting.
 
It seems that all nights at Newcastle sold out, in fact tonight a few people had trouble finding seats. It was great to see a production fill up at Northern Stage. It is a versatile and pleasant venue for theatre. I'm getting quite fond of it!
 
Zendeh are planning to take Flock on tour in the autumn.
 
 

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