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Review of Ash at the VAULT Festival

Alice Devlin AshAddictions are difficult to kill. Ash is a struggle between the addiction and its user, a battle to see who will win in the end.

Ash by Bric à Brac is a play that explores the lifelong smoking addiction of George Crozier. Based on a true story, the play is set during a time of change in the tobacco industry. As the effects of smoking begin to harm loved ones around George, his love affair with smoking begins to kill him every time he has “just one more”.

The international Lecoq trained ensemble, Bric à Brac focuses on physical theatre, movement and mime. Written and devised by the company, this play had interesting choreography as cast members shifted about the stage with cigarette-branded suitcases. The physical theatre aspect of the play made the dismal story more entertaining to watch.

An element of great storytelling was lost in this play as the cast moved through their motions quickly. The play seemed too natural – like they’ve done this show a thousand times. It was difficult to empathise with George, performed by Harry Kearton. The characters around him didn’t seem true to character – something genuine was missing. The times when Hamish Adams-Cairns stepped in for comic relief seemed planned and obvious. Adams-Cairns chimed in to say something funny or witty, but the play lacked the physicality of comic relief. The one moment within the hour that had some weight and sincerity was Kearton’s final monologue. The lights shined on him, and his honesty in that monologue really showed in his eyes.

Bric à Brac’s choice of music to go along with the play was fun and entertaining. With its diverse variety of music genres, it was easy to get caught up in listening to Paul Tonkin’s beautiful voice and acoustic guitar rather than the scene itself. Ash has an intelligent and talented company that has a unique take on living a life of addiction.

3 Star Review

Review by Aly Chromy

Based on a true story, Ash explores the life of George Crozier and his journey from his first to his last cigarette.
Set against a backdrop of the tobacco industry’s ever-changing advertisements, this “witty and inventive” show (★★★★ The Stage) uses object manipulation, movement and live music to explore the highs and lows of a life-long love affair with smoking.
Up until the last puff, it’s an addictive story of a Yorkshire community that aren’t planning to quit anytime soon.
This is the first production from international Lecoq company Bric à Brac.

Ash
8 – 12 February 2017
VAULT Festival
Leake Street
London SE1 7NN
Running Time: 55 minutes, no interval
http://www.vaultfestival.com/

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