Escape the Scaffold

As the third and final addition to their Outliers season, The Other Room are back this week with Escape the Scaffold fresh from it’s run at co-producers, theatre 503 in London and yet again, this takes the audience on a brand new journey as soon as the doors close behind them. As we settle down for a rare two act production in the tucked away space at Porters, it’s safe to say we are soon locked down within the house the same as the characters we meet.

The plot jumps back and forth between time but revolves around three friends from university, both in their student days, pjs and tequila shots and all, and also their lives years later as they meet again under different circumstances.  As we step in to a basically furnished house, we see hints of relationships within the love triangle of Grace, Aaron and Marcus and while moments of their interaction show real glimmers of reality, there is a permanent state of unease and their political differences clash from the early on chicken dinner.  From a student lifestyle where the outside world is full of plans to move on and grow up, to what appears to be a police controlled state where the outside world is unsafe and full of fear, there are themes of love, delusion and danger throughout as the three have big choices to make. 

The set is instantly brought to life by a beautiful lighting arrangement by Katy Morrison, as the basement shines with lost hope through the floorboards and the wallpapered walls show hints of the past etched into them. However,  the transitions between scenes are sometimes disjointed and the constant switches in time are disorientating at best as the storyline proved too elusive to keep up with throughout. 

A bewildering, fast paced production which left too many questions unanswered for my liking, but theatre to make you think whilst leaving a sense of unease is no mean feat, and in Escape the Scaffold, the directors and actors collaborate to create a tense and relevant performance. 

Escape the Scaffold plays at The Other Room until the 6th May. For all TOR related updates, follow @TORtheatre on Twitter.

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You’ve got Dragons

It’s the Easter holidays, so of course Chapter Arts is full of excited children and their parents downing a much welcomed cuppa, before Taking Flight’s anticipated You’ve Got Dragons takes to the stage. Taking Flight pride themselves on bringing highly accessible theatre to audiences of all ages, and this slice of children’s fun was definitely not exception.

As the lights dim and two Dragons emerge, the audience watch with anticipation, some a little nervous, as the brightly coloured set comes to life and Benjamina tells her story.  Ben has Dragons which follow her on the bus, in class and hide under her bed… but over time she manages to control her demons, taking your dragon for walks can help if you were interested! Whilst some of the anxiety symptoms may have gone over the heads of the younger ones, this doesn’t have any impact on their ability to enjoy the performance, and the music and on stage instruments keep them all involved as different characters appear and the Dragons become a challenge to overcome. 

Despite a slow start and being a little chaotic at times trying to be everything for everyone, You’ve got Dragons has something for the whole family as the parents sympathised with the universal bedtime routine and there was laughter all round as the postman swaggered crossed the set. 

With various elements performed in British sign language, captions on the stage screens and some audio description, the production is incredibly accessible and the bright colours and bouncy music is a welcome burst of sunshine from an otherwise gloomy, rainy Cardiff evening.