The third day of this year’s PULSE Festival was Scratch Day. This is where companies come and show their work early in production which is really interesting to watch. All the shows were at different stages, some being worked for several months while other have only been in development for less than a week. We saw a total of 11 scratch pieces over four sessions and a total range of theatre.
Session one started off with a quirky first piece by Eleanor Westbrook called Big Berg and we really enjoyed the eccentric characterisation. Although the performance was quite abstract we still found the story of a man trying to claim the land for himself easy to follow. We also enjoyed Pepper and Honey in the first session which involved a baking tutorial during the show, where members of the audience really got involved making traditional Croatian pepper and honey biscuits, which we can confirm tasted great. Despite the fact some of it was also spoken in another language, we never felt we couldn’t understand what was happening on stage.
The second scratch session was presented by Testing Ground, a programme commissioned by the festival to bring work by D/deaf and disabled artists to the stage. We immediately were intrigued by the first show The Blind Traveller when we were invited to sit at a table on the stage along with the performers. It was exciting really being in the action on stage, while there were also performers in the audience really blurring the lines between what was the audience and what was the show, which we loved. Then the next show Henry 5 brought to together football and Shakespearean language and although we’re not really football crazy we did really feel like we were in a pub with them, and couldn’t help feeling their excitement. The final Testing Ground performance was Inspiration Porn which was a very engaging delivery despite the fact the company had been working on it for less than a week.
The third session started with Haley McGee with The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale. We loved the relaxed approach Haley took, making us as the audience feel relaxed but also engaged with her story. It was unique combining math equations with gifts from exes to determine how much they would sell for. She managed to make maths interesting which is quiet the achievement.
In the final session of Scratch Day, it started off with Live Long and Die Out by Melanie Wilson. This piece was different in that it combined dialogue alongside three singers producing beautiful harmonies really adding to the intensity of the show which explored the themes of how we as individuals damage the planet. As audience members, we also had to write down our own answers to the question “why do we have children” in which the singers took what was written down and sang them together in three parts. We found this was much more of an engaging way to reflect on how we responded to this question as an audience. Small Nose Productions with Punch and Judy’s – A CLOWN’S Version was performed with great presence. Mark and Dan worked great as a comedic duo, while as an audience we were laughing from the moment they entered the stage. With great timing and charm, this clown version of Punch and Judy was truly enjoyable. Together they provided us with a funny and feel good show where we all left with a smile on our faces.
At PULSE 2016 we watched and loved Vincent Gambini’s magic show and when we saw he was coming back this year with a new show The Chore of Enchantment we both couldn’t wait. We both had high expectations as we love magic and we have to say, he didn’t disappoint. It was a truly enchanting performance where we were blown away by his tricks during the show. What we love about Vincent Gambini is his combination of his great skills as a magician alongside the comedy he delivers with it. We weren’t only amazed by the magic throughout the show but all of the audience were laughing out loud as well. We only wish we knew how he does it!
Scratch Day was fantastic with so much potential for some great completed pieces of theatre. We loved the versatility that was displayed throughout the day and can’t wait to see the shows later on when they have had more work put towards them.
Does this sound right up your street? Don’t miss out on Quarter Life Crisis on Tue 5 Jun, Education, Education, Education on Fri 8 Jun and Moonfall on Sat 9 Jun
Want to stay in touch with the New Wolsey Theatre? Of course you do!