So, the second day of PULSE was the annual Suitcase Prize Day, and both our first full experience of Suitcase Day, and we were not disappointed. We saw a total of 12 shows all competing for the coveted Suitcase prize, which contains a cheque for £1000, with the shows having to try and be environmentally and especially public transport friendly for touring, ideally all the props fitting into just a suitcase, hence the name.
There was such a variety of shows and we’re very glad we didn’t have the impossible job of choosing a winner. The very deserving Augmented managed to earn the title of the Suitcase Winner. The show gave such a unique, powerful but also funny insight into hearing loss and cochlear implants, and Sophie Woolley told her story with passion. We went in not knowing anything about cochlear implants, and we found the scene of Sophie dancing alone to music streamed straight to her implant very powerful. Indeed, it was a very moving and worthy winner of this year’s Suitcase Prize.
But the brilliant shows didn’t stop there. We both have to agree that the performance of Venus from Dan Watson was a standout show for us. We loved the fun energy that immediately filled the audience as soon as Dan took to the stage. It was a struggle to stay in our seats and not get up and join the 80s Pontins dance competition recreation.
Not only was there fabulous dancing but also some beautiful singing from several of the shows. Eiger by Haroula Theatre combined their high energy movement with a singer that brought another level of emotion to the piece. Dressed. by ThisEgg and Made My Wardrobe was similar to Eiger with their mixture of live singing and physical theatre, which enhanced the true story that was being told.
Another show we both enjoyed was The Light Bulb Man by The Backpack Ensemble. We really enjoyed their imaginative use of an overhead projector, which was a flash from the past, and the silhouettes projected on stage. We were intrigued by the story and wanted to find out how it ended.
The day concluded with last year’s Suitcase Prize winner James McDermott’s hilarious Rubber Ring. We really felt like we were on the journey with him from Sheringham to the o2 to see Morrissey (even though Maddie wasn’t sure who The Smiths were!). James’s simple yet effective switch in characterisation felt like we met a range of different people despite just James being alone on stage.
What a great and varied Suitcase Day. All the shows had something to offer, we can’t wait to see these developed further in the future and Augmented next year where Sophie Woolley will hand over the Suitcase prize to the next lucky winner.
If you like the sound of these shows then you will love Quarter Life Crisis on Tue 5 Jun at 6:30pm, Education, Education, Education on Fri 8 Jun at 8pm, Our Carnal Hearts on Sat 9 Jun at 3pm and We’ve Got Each Other on Sat 9 Jun at 9pm