Theatre 503 is an unassuming, charming, intimate venue above a pub in Battersea. Walking in to 503Fusions you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve mistakenly stumbled across a gig rehearsal as opposed to a performance space; the set sparse and littered with instruments and a microphone stand. However, from little acorns big oak trees doth grow and this little venue packs a punch full of talent with spine tingling performances from each of the four spoken word disciples. 503Fusions offers up a smorgasbord of storytelling, spoken word, playwriting, performance and musicianship. The mix of playwrights, performance poets and musicians creates four well defined plays set to a backdrop of live soundscape scores which leaves you hungering for more!
First to set the mood was Karis Halsall (Playwright & Performance Poet) with a one woman play reminiscent of Claire Downie’s ‘Adult Child / Dead Child.’ Set against a backdrop of sparsity and mental health difficulties, the play is acted out by a character effected by the pace, disparity and isolation of city living. The piece offers up a mesh of electronica, audio visual and cityscape soundtracks that merge together to epitomise the craziness of city life.
Next in line was a wordsmith from Brighton, Tommy Sissons (Writer & Performer), yarning tales of working class values and the hardships and graces lived by loved ones and friends. His conscious stream is as intelligent and it is engaging; his monologue never tires in its ability to grab and hold you present. Keeping the pace, the musical accompaniment Normanton Street, were guiding the lyrical tide with soulful, melodic tunes that helped support the twist and turns of this epic piece – close your eyes and you could be listening to The Streets.
The third offering was a brilliant mixture of comedy and social commentary, cleverly narrated and peppered with songs. The audience is taken through a situational break-up and the subsequent quest to find yourself and another as soon as possible. This quick witted play is smart and funny with some sharp performances from the lead player, Gemma Rogers (Writer & Performer). The audience feels like a confidant to the discourse playing out between songs. The musicians act up to create a comedy trio and the songs are light enough to carry the mood but slick enough to get the message across.
The finale came in the guise of Deanna Rodger (Writer & Performer) with a stomping soliloquy set to the backdrop of a night club with only the internal dialogue of a self-conscious mind to keep us company. Eavesdropping, the audience are privy to the self-aware mind chatter that plays out in a raw and impassioned performance. Uncomfortable at times but only due to the brutal honesty of the anxiety within played out so well. Touching on far reaching themes such as the stars and quantum physics in one breath and having the ability to take it back down to the more puerile aspects of humanity and relationships in the next makes her performance bitter sweet and utterly engaging.
The content and the passion of each of these performances, and that of the supporting musicians, was such that it made you sit up, ponder on the words, want more and shake you up a little. Every performance offered something different, took you on another tangent, each distinct from its predecessor but each flowing in to the next with the same vigour, enthusiasm and cerebration as the last. 503Fusions is witty, funny, clever and inspiring, shake off the dust and get yourself to Battersea!
Review by Stephanie Caiger-Watson
‘A city that screams – I want to trim the fat,
I want to be meek, I want to go back to being slight,
Blurring boundaries to create cutting edge new writing, our playwrights and poets turned performers will collaborate with a director and a musician to create an innovative synthesis of storytelling, spoken word, playwriting, performance and live soundscape scores. 503Fusions is a unique and experimental series of provocations to playwrights and theatre makers in which they are challenged collaborate, push the form and create fascinating fusions.
Tommy Sissons with Normanton Street
Gemma Rogers with Nick Rogers and Dominic Kennedy
Deanna Rodger and Tuesday Born
Karis Halsall and Sam Organ
Four Mini Plays set in One City take you from dusk to dawn and back again.
15, 16 and 17 January, 7.45pm £12/£10
Saturday 17th January 2015