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Published: 01-10-2019

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Review of A Song For Ella Grey at Northern Stage

A Song for Ella Grey reconstructs the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the setting of the Ouseburn of Tyneside and in the ambience of the beaches of Northumberland. It’s extremely much a regional story. Becoming portion of a nearby audience, in a nearby theatre, there was a lot added I was in a position to take from this production as nicely as all other people in the theatre. From its beautifully poetic descriptions of the city to its familiar story of the coastlines, it was wholly relatable. Nevertheless, this is also a story with the prospective to transcend locality. Writer David Almond combines a coming-of-age story with ancient mythology completely: the entrance to the Underworld lies beneath the Cluny, a well-known bar inside the Ouseburn and the beaches at Bamburgh are re-imagined as Greece. In spot of the Ancient Greek God, Orpheus, who charms the God of the underworld with his Lyre and Voice, Orpheus in A Song for Ella Grey is a brooding, mysterious Geordie lad with a voice of gold and in depth horizons. In place of Eurydice is Ella Grey, a young girl who falls in enjoy with Orpheus totally and follows him to the ends of the earth.

The core of A Song for Ella Grey is a tale of a teenage relationship, with all the effective invitation and destructiveness that lies inside that. This play is not “a basic tale of a girl and a boy falling in love”, the story goes beyond this, gently exploring a tale of ambiguous sexuality. It does so nearly, so extremely almost, without feeling the need to explain, define or label, which was hugely refreshing to watch.

Claire, the story’s protagonist, is Ella’s childhood friend and speaks of the deep adore that has always existed between them. Claire is the only character to appear live on stage and walks her way by way of the events of what occurred in between Ella and Orpheus. Amy Cameron as Claire is impressive, holding the audience’s consideration throughout the 90 minutes in a part which demands poignancy, flippancy, dynamism and placidity. Which was particularly impressive as the second act was in complete darkness. Maybe the only aspect slightly lacking was the delivery at times was slightly rushed. Nevertheless, for the most portion her efficiency was totally captivating.

Yet this production is not a 1-lady show. Claire’s role as lead is supported by an ensemble comprised of young local actors from the Northern Stage Young Business programme of which I am a part of. As the show progresses, this chorus entices and pushes Claire to carry on with her story by means of the a lot more painful exerts. At other times, we took on the character of teachers, college children, Cerberus and Hades of Underworld. The Young Business was an integral component of the second act which relied wholly on aural stimulation. Becoming portion of this show and method was massively inspiring and close to my heart. Acquiring to be in the audience, watching the full show was really wonderful.

In several approaches, this production has all the warmth and joy of community theatre. In his post show speak, Almond stated that the point of ancient stories is that they don’t occur in some other location or nation, but right here and now amongst us. He’s absolutely accomplished this. Watching the show brought back numerous memories, both joyful and painful, of growing up. Falling in really like with the proper people, the incorrect folks, rejection, celebration, adulation – it’s all here. This is especially poignant for a local audience with the backdrop of a regional story, in a regional theatre.
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