Line Up at Greenwich Theatre
After five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011 with their debut theatrical piece Take Two Every Four Hours, Vertical Line Theatre Company found themselves newly respected and with backing from Greenwich Theatre. Vertical Line have also found support from The Royal Court, Pleasance Theatre and Theatre 503 within the small space of a year.
Last night, Greenwich Theatre hosted their first bimonthly scratch night, Line Up, which aims to provide a platform for emerging talent by showcasing extracts of upcoming writing from a collaborative team of emerging and established directors and writers.
Ahmed El-Alfy’s take on Olga Nikora’s Then They Came for Me was very well paced, with charming chemistry between the two sisters at its centre. Victoria Fox had an enthralling voice that filled the auditorium with fear, and Alicia Ambrose-Bayly played a young woman with learning difficulties with a subtlety that drew you in all the more. The piece was emotion-fuelled and alarming, but a brilliant choice of opener to the evening.
Another highlight was the hilarity of Jonathan Skinner’s section The Assistant, directed by Zoe Sharp. Samuel Lawrence portrayed an agoraphobic schizophrenic with intense energy, contrasting with sweetly patronising Anna (Anna Nicholson) who was an interactive computer hologram. The writing really stood out here with its gradual development, unravelling at a pleasing pace.
Creative Director Ross Stanley opened the second act with his direction of Superhero Snail Boy by Elizabeth Muncey. Energetic Tilly (Ami Stidolph) lifted the audience into her cloud of imagination, heartbreakingly juxtaposed against her heavily withdrawn father Lukas (Adrian Relph). Kevin Varty stole the show with his powerful vocal and brilliant snail costume.
Artistic Director Henry Regan also presented a harrowing piece by Andrew Maddock, entitled In Out (A Feeling). Hannah Anderson played the girl in focus, and her physical state and perfected accent were simply hypnotising. The writing could do with a few nips and tucks to ease repetitiveness, but the delivery to the audience was effective.
The Vertical Line team filled the Greenwich Theatre with ease and the entire evening buzzed with electricity. The fact that, coincidentally, the majority of the creative team had graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is a testament to the school. Vertical Line achieved what they had set out to do: provide an enormous platform to trial and showcase new work and exciting artists. They deserve to reap the rewards from their obvious hard work, passion and effort, and are definitely ones to watch this year – particularly with their plans to attack Edinburgh again this summer. Watch this space.
Line Up will be repeated at Greenwich Theatre on 8th April and 3rd June 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.