William Morris, Maisie Dadswell and Charlotte McEvoy – photos supplied
There are many small groups and companies that have emerged from student drama courses in Norwich and I am never disappointed in their productions. Amplify Theatre is a company started by UEA drama graduate Izzy Cutler and they are planning to take their new show “Bodily Functions and Where to Find Them” to Edinburgh as the Festival season gets underway in August.
Poo. Shit. Sweat. Blood. And maybe tears. These are a bit of our everyday life, but completely unsuitable for discussion on a stage, or in public, aren’t they?
Well maybe not. The three accomplished actors who bring Izzy Cutler’s script to life show us that these basic bodily functions always give us a clue to how these unspeakable things might just be an indicator that all is not well in life. Maisie Dadswell, Charlotte McEvoy and William Norris together give us an insight into that most difficult phase of life as teenagers pick their way through the minefield of late adolescence and early adulthood.
The narrator is Maisie Dadswell, and she guides us through the traumas of a young life referenced by the bodily functions that can mean everything from some ill-advised consumption to an indicator of deeper problems. The three performers are convincing enough to make us feel that this is a personal tale, maybe sharing things that they will regret being so frank about. The style of the drama leads to my only concern, that it is sometimes unclear whether an aside to the audience is a break with character and narrative, or not. But this is a work that makes you look at some quite difficult issues, and quite properly raises questions that too often are ignored or buried in social mores that guarantee suffering in silence for many people.
While bodily functions suggests the more basic business of our lives, the words also encompass our emotions and social development. This work looks into the impact of relationship dysfunction while reminding us that we have a long way to go before gender is not an unfairly determining matter in deciding life’s opportunities. The script is very skilled in showing us how received values can lead to unpleasant consequences. In this short play we go through hope, passion, lust, despair, heartbreak and illness yet it is also funny and touching throughout. The presentation is confident in the close-up and intimate space of the Emerson Studio at the Maddermarket. No hiding place for your blushes.
This drama deserves the attention of the Edinburgh Fringe audience, taking what you can do on stage a little bit further but provoking a real dialogue about how the physical details of everyday life can give us clear signs to the emotional turmoil that we are all expected to keep out of sight. This show should be top of your list of tickets to buy if you are in Edinburgh this August.
© Julian Swainson 2019
For updates and more information on the company and future projects, you can follow them on social media.
Read our review of ‘Good Vibes’ here: http://norwicheye.co.uk/whats-on/norwich-eye-reviews-laughing-mirror-theatre-company/
Also from Amplify: http://norwicheye.co.uk/whats-on/norwich-eye-reviews-amplify-theatre-double-bill-on-male-suicide/
Read our preview article here: http://norwicheye.co.uk/whats-on/comedy-play-comes-to-norwich-before-taking-on-the-edinburgh-festival-fringe/