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REVIEW: This Restless State ★★★★ at Newcastle Alphabetti

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This Restless State ★★★★

Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Tuesday 17th – Friday 19th April 2018

Created and performed by Jesse Fox
Written by Danielle Pearson

A single-handed piece of storytelling that is much more than a tale of identity. By examining 3 lives in different eras can you distinguish one’s core values?

This Restless State starts with a cassette from Jesse's childhood in the 1990s, Shania Twain, as he ponders about his present situation.  In other words, what life is like in a post Brexit-vote corridor between how it was and how it might be. Add in the Millennials’ uncertainty over living arrangements and job security and the news that his parents give have just given Jesse.

Using different sound and lighting we visit another character in East Berlin at the time the Wall came down.  Adjusting to the realities of additional freedoms such as the choice of entertainment, free speech and movement. It was a pivotal moment in Europe's history.

Likewise what does the future hold if the European state becomes a single political entity? Or if a population increase results in the need for measures to reduce it? Jesse examines a third character trying to also make sense of the hand that they've been dealt in the future. How bad could it get in Rome in 2052?

Transferring between three discreet stories is a challenge but a combination of light and sound design put clear divisions in the tales. Yet the stories successfully combine into a whole.  Whilst people often say they are not political, the vary nature of how external factors impact upon our lives is the very essence of what politics is about. Using eras of significant change, one can question how one copes with big decisions that we don’t have control of. But that is the thing: you do end up coping as the day to day rituals, that we all have control over, are more important to the human condition.

The show, which run just under an hour, is presented on a “pay what you feel” basis. Alphabetti are continuing to offer shows which are available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. Your contribution to the show can be left in an envelope as you leave.  This is a great way to help expand access to the arts in our region and it is a move that is to be applauded. Alphabetti, as a cultural centre is continuing to grow in its importance in Newcastle and this show is an ideal introduction if you have never paid a visit here before.

This Restless State is a interesting and thought-provoking piece by Danielle Pearson brought to life through the natural storytelling skills of Jesse Fox. It works because it felt personal to Jesse but is also something the audience will easily relate to.

Review by Stephen Oliver

Funded by Arts Council England and the Leche Trust. Development supported by Engineer Theatre Collective. Co-commissioned by Ovalhouse.

This Restless State comes to Newcastle’s Alphabetti Theatre on Tuesday 17th – Friday 19th April 2018 at 7.30pm.
Alphabetti Theatre is located on St James’ Boulevard (between the Discovery Museum and the Grainger Multi-story car park, which has free parking after 5), Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4 HP
These are “Pay what you feel” shows and booking is recommended. Tickets can be reserved via the website: Box Office: 0191 261 9125.

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