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Review: The Soaking of Vera Shrimp at Newcastle Live Theatre

An Aqueous Tale

The Soaking of Vera Shrimp
Newcastle Live Theatre
Until Saturday 18th October 2014.

Part science project, part heart-felt teenage tale: this is a powerful exploration of one young lady’s place in society.

Vera Elizabeth Shrimp has a presentation to make about what she has found out in science for Mr Gibb, who teaches her at Hill Street comprehensive. The set resembles that of a teacher’s bench and white board complete with an overhead projector. As every good science report should do, Vera begins with her hypothesis. She believes she can feel the emotion in a drop of rain. The emotion was passed on when it evaporated near a person. By collecting and feeling the rain that falls near her bus shelter, Vera senses and then records the emotion.

So far, so good. Alison Carr has written a production which features good science, but it takes more than that to win the Live Theatre/Empty Space Bursary Award. Tessa Parr begins the show acting as a happy carefree Vera but it becomes quickly apparent that poor Vera has more to cope with in life than your average 14 year old should have to. This includes coping with her fellow teenage classmates who can be cruel with their remarks and actions.

Tessa is always engaging and in the hour long show she draws the audience in without asking for undue sympathy for Vera. By not going for the usual emption strings Alison Carr has written a much more meaningful production.

The use of traditional teaching tools like the flipchart and overhead projector coupled with some short voice recordings gives the play quite a unique yet familiar feel. Whilst we don’t get a free glass of wine, the chocolate cakes were a nice touch. This is a one man show that is demanding of the actor and Tessa is simply fabulous as the teenager. The ending left the audience thinking – another sign of great theatre.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18 October, 8pm
The Soaking of Vera Shrimp
Presented by Live Theatre and The Empty Space
In association with Rosie & Me
Written by Alison Carr 
Directed by Rosie Kellagher 
Performed by Tessa Parr

Dates: Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18 October, 8pm
Location: Studio Theatre, Live Theatre,
Duration: 1 hour
Suitability: 14+
Tickets: £8, £6 concs
Box office: (0191) 232 1232

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