Y2D Productions. Royal Croquet Club - The Menagerie. 22 Feb 2015
One man, two stages, and a very clever twist. Leo is a solo show that offers more than one experience: a live actor in single stark room, oriented in landscape, and his recorded counterpart in portrait, twisting reality as he appears to climb walls and bend normality.
Set inside three walls, the actor has just his suitcase and his hat for company and entertainment. The show becomes more surreal as he realises that not all is as it seems, and he pushes the limits of what he can do.
It's a well-crafted concept that grows with the character as he delves deeper into a dreamlike world in which the laws of gravity don't apply. The piece combines acting, acrobatics, music, cinematography and artwork to produce a genuinely unique show. It does rise and fall somewhat. There is a gorgeous scene where the characters draws a room for himself, complete with table, chair, window, wine and companion animals, but also slower moments of repetitive movement that are unnecessarily drawn out.
There are some technical aspects of the show which I find challenging.
Seeing the show around lunch time, light occasionally penetrates the tent and makes the screen dull and hard to see. With the live performance and it's recorded sibling sitting side-by-side, my eye is constantly drawn away from the recording, where the magic is happening, to the clearer and better lit (but less interesting) live version.
This is compounded further by my seat position. Much of the action is taking place on the left-hand side of the performance box, and with the screen also on left-hand side of the stage, those seated on the right-hand side of the auditorium must work to ignore three quarters of the stage in order to focus on the screen. This effect would be lessened by switching the performance box and the screen around, ensuring the performer is centered on the stage, or just by giving the screen more prominence.
Whilst the aforementioned does impacts the enjoyment factor, it doesn't take away from the originality of the piece. With lovely moments of humour and delight, it's a family-friendly show that should please.
When: 14 Feb to 15 Mar
Where: Royal Croquet Club - The Menagerie