As much as I love spending all my time at Brum Radio, it’s occasionally refreshing to get out from behind the mixing desk* to soak up some of Birmingham’s culture, and on Tuesday the 15th of May I was able to do just that: I was invited to review a play performed by fledgling theatre company Happenchance Theatre: Wings
The play was staged upstairs at fine Birmingham venue The Victoria which provided for an intimate setting that enhanced the cramped feeling of two performers whose personal and professional lives were spilling over into each other. But more on that later.
Before the play itself began, the room was warmed up by Autumn Evans on guitar, who was introduced by Vita, one of the stars of the play, as having “A voice that shimmers in the darkness” and it’s hard to disagree with that after what we saw on Monday.
The lighting was adequate
Autumn managed to turn the quiet murmurs that took place while Vita was introducing her into stunned, awed silence with her earthy, powerful performance that captivated the room and was a perfect appetiser to the play that followed.
We were treated to 6 songs of hers, some from her recent E.P. and a couple of covers including a rousing performance of TLC’s “No Scrubs” that managed to illicit knowing smiles and nods from the audience when they recognised the song and rapturous applause afterwards when they were blown away by the quality of it.
Autumn has an EP out, The WaterColour EP and I think you should damn well get it, or at least see her live at her next gig and give her the support she deserves.
After an interval, it was onto the Main thrust of the evening: A Play called Wings
The Interval was adequate.
The plot of the play went thus: James and Eva are two comedians with a reasonable degree of success who have found a chasm of different between their philosophies in the form of how much their personal lives should be shared with their audiences.
James is petrified Eva is sharing too much of their relationship on stage to the detriment of not only his social standing, but his career, while Eva has noticed her shows have been much better received and reviewed since she has started sharing details of her personal life, especially her relationship with James.
The fundamental disagreement between them provides the meat and drink of the plot as the two debate back and forth how much of their personal lives should be shared with an audience.
While the future doesn’t look bright for our protagonists on stage, the fun of the play is the fact that the plot is also just a device to service some spectacularly hilarious improvisation between the two performers. It seemed there was as much laughter on stage as in the audience as they tried to get each other to break character and burst into giggles, which was a delight to behold.
Even better was a scene were the audience were made to represent party guests and the performers ran around doling out wine in a need to keep their guests lubricated, ensuring I received 2 whole glasses of wine, which in no way should be seen as a bribe to ensure a good review.
The wine was adequate.
After the play, I was told this was the first full-length performance in front of an audience of Wings, but if that is true, it didn’t show. The actors, Jacob and Vita were naturally at home in the comedic moments but also showed real depth in the more emotional parts of the piece, and this will only become more apparent as they keep performing it.
Go see this play whenever and wherever it is performed. Go and see Autumn play too, as good as they all are now, they’re only going to get better with experience.
The toilet facilities were adequate.