Review – Talk to Yourself at The Kings Arms

I was going to start this post off with the sentiment,

I love Manchester.

It’s true, I’ve got a t-shirt with it on and everything.

But to do so, I would have committed the cardinal sin of referring to a ‘happening’, an ‘event, an ‘occurrence’ as being in Manchester rather than Salford. I do this an incredible amount of times when referring to anything at the Lowry or Salford Quays (the clue’s in the name, for goodness sake) or indeed MediaCity.

So technically

I love Salford

For Salford is the scene and setting for The Kings Arms, that glorious old pub which pumps the finest ales known to humanity downstairs, and hosts talent and creativity upstairs.

And it is in Salford (and Manchester too) where, on a Monday evening, you can bear witness to bold, experimental, unabridged, unapologetic theatre and even contribute to the development of said performance.

Hosted by Mike Heath and Salford Development Week, Talk To Yourself is a production from YEAP , a theatre company based in Manchester. Salford Development Week is a fantastic opportunity for both writers and performers to try out their work and for audiences to provide feedback and contribute to the development process.

And this is what I mean by I love Salford – for having such a brilliant place as the characteristic Kings Arms where you can spend a wet Monday evening exposed to such opportunity and, well, entertainment.

And I love Manchester because I just do. And because it’s such a hive of creativity,  producing such set ups as YEAP.

We’re lucky us Mancunians, Salfordians, North Westians – original and honorary.

Talk to Yourself was a script in hand performance, written by Lea Fante and directed by Adriana Buonfantino, and was a monologue based on true stories and experiences of pregnancy, focusing on the subject of abortion.

The experimental part of the piece, for me, was the dialogue between the woman reflecting on previous experience, and debating her current situation (Lucy Temby), with interjections from a nameless…computer? robot? being? side stage (Diana Atkins) who provides stone cold objective statistics on abortion – a contrast to the emotive and strong musings and indeed performance on stage.

Theatre and indeed all facets of the arts are subjective. A piece is only realised/finalised/completed when it has provoked an emotion, reaction, a response from another person.

To judge a performance is akin to judging a reaction – there’s no right or wrong. I prefer not to critique theatre itself, only reflect on how it made me feel.

For the record though, the evening including the performance, venue and a forum for feedback, gave good epitome of fringe theatre; raw, brave, thought-provoking, intimate, uncomfortable, real.

And, to be honest and simple, thoroughly enjoyable. I was left longing to learn more.

Whilst my own feedback is neither technical nor specific , I hope what is clearly a love letter to fringe theatre tells you what you need to know (I might get that printed on a t-shirt).

Curtain call please for the YEAP , The Kings Arms and Salford Development Week

Click on the links for more details.



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