Howard Barker: Double Bill at the Arcola Theatre
Colliding two plays from acclaimed dramatist Howard Barker might seems like a dangerous idea at first sight, and yet this Double Bill is delightful.
Rising director Robyn Winfield-Smith seems fearless with her choices, and she must be, to deliver such an astonishing experience. Her choice of bringing the London premiere of The Twelfth Battle of Isonzo with a revival of Judith : A Parting from the Body is intelligent, sensible and well considered. The audience is confronted with love, sex, war and truth, all at the same time, but in such different ways that one is compelled to think and rethink about the human condition in its entirety.
While the two plays are indeed different, both have in common very talented actors and a beautiful stage production. The Twelfth Battle of Isonzo allows the audience to identify with the characters with a suprising yet thrilling 3D audio experience, transmitted through headsets. Emily Loomes and Nicholas Le Prevost invite the spectators on a mysterious journey, helped by sound designer Iain Armstrong and composer Gregory Batsleer. Mere minutes after this immersion, Liam Smith, Kristin Hutchinson and Catherine Cusack take the stage and enlighten this small space by bringing it to life, while focusing upon death.
Howard Barker’s flippantly witty writing, coupled with the ingenious staging of Robyn Winfield-Smith, brings the audience into an immersive world, brilliantly designed by Rosanna Vize and poetically lit by Christopher Nairne.
This exhilariting theatrical gem is part of a pioneering programme of associated events – including the Arcola’s first ever touch tour and audio-described performance for blind and partially sighted audiences. A day of accessible theatre will take place on Saturday 12th December with a workshop to share experiences and think about solutions to make theatre even more accessible. As it should be for everyone.
Howard Barker: Double Bill is on at the Arcola Theatre from 25th November until 19th December 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Howard Barker: Double Bill here: