I have just got home from a production of “The Heights” by Lisa MacGee at the Live Theatre, on Broad Chare, on Newcastle’s Quayside.
The play, performed by Live’s Youth Theatre, centres around a girl, Lillie Lee (Michaela Forbes) confined to her bedroom due to an unspecified illness. She observes the young people on the Heights estate around her home. The youths speculate as to why this young woman is watching them, never leaving her home. In turn, she makes up stories about them, to occupy herself in her little room. Interactions between her and some of the young people lead to suspicions, more speculations, and events the reality of which we are encouraged to question.
The actors and actresses in the production show great talent and ability to carry off what could be a very difficult performance. Events are played and replayed, the audience is addressed through narration, space on the stage is shared and reused for different scenarios very effectively. There is even comic characterisation, for some light relief in what can be quite a tense situation. Puppetry is used for storytelling at one stage by Iona Douglas in one of Lillie’s tales.
The set is a clever use of the Live Theatre stage, being able to be an external and internal space of the estate, where youths act out their rivalries and older people live out their lives, while Lillie watches and imagines.
The 11 members of the cast made this story come to life. Dean Bone, Emma Crowley Bennett, Adam Davis, Iona Douglas, Michaela Forbes, Grant Gair, Arron Gair, Melanie Hodgetts, Niek Versteeg, Lauren Waine and Adam Wells are names to look out for in theatre on the future.
Live Theatre is a great venue, very attractive and just the right size to always feel close to the action. I haven’t found a bad seat yet, there must be one!
“The Heights” is on until Thursday 5th April. Booking details on their website : http://www.live.org.uk/whatson/index.php
Also coming up at Live is “Geordie Sinatra” by Fiona Evans, a dark comedy with a live jazz trio looking at the effect of dementia on the life of an ex club singer, Geordie and his daughter Nancy. Expect a lot of Sinatra’s back catalogue! “Geordie Sinatra” runs from Wednesday 18th April until Saturday 12th May.
“Utopia” looks at a different vision of the future of humanity. Casting aside all our failings and imagining “what we could have won” Live Theatre is keen to hear from visual artists who could provide art works representing the theme of “Utopia”. If this is you, provide a digital copy suitable for hanging in the street area at Live Theatre during the show. Details on how to submit on http://livetheatre.posterous.com/utopia. This writing project will commission writers to produce short plays challenging visions of our future. “Utopia” runs from Thursday 31st May to Saturday 16th June.
Thanks to Live Theatre for a great night, and all photos are taken from Live Theatre’s Facebook page.