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‘Listen In’ at the Alphabetti Review

Betti’s back! Yes not a person, but the theatre that we all know as The Alphabetti Theatre. Bringing to us their first production of the season, and out of lockdown. Self described as a programme bridging from the lockdown period to the live performance. For now we have to be content with live streaming of this set of audio plays by writer Richard Boggie, comedian Lauren Pattison and musician Kay Greyson.

Using the Alphabetti’s approach to accessiblity to theatre, they believe that this incredible art should be available to everyone, and not just those who can afford it. All we had to do was book our ticket in advance. No payment upfront. After the show you are left to pay as you feel. The link for the stream gets emailed to you on the day of the performance, just click and you are taken into the world of the Alphabetti.

The introduction, we have a few words from Ali Pritchard the Artisitc Director at the theatre, welcoming us. The 3 plays we’re about to listen to are integrated seamlessly into the layout of this theatre. We take a tour through the hallways and rooms, immersing ourselves into each room and story as well as meeting the theatre dog! Accesilbilty isnt just about cost either, and the stream is audio described andcaptioned too.

I’ve always believed an audio play is harder to write than a live performance. You can’t express anything through body language and bodily expression. The story has to captivate you from the off, and in three different ways, each of these plays did brilliantly.

Welcome to the stage…Katieeeee Bakerrrrrrr! Introducing herself to the audience via microphone, from behind a curtain. Waiting to go on. The Last Laugh is Lauren Parttisons debut written play. Normally gigging on stage, telling us about her love life and not even being the funniest person in boots. Lauren brings her humour in abundance through this character, who is worrying about her entry on stage. We hear all about her last gig, where she died on her arse. the audience reaction and range of emotions felt by all. We learn how it feels to be a comic when things arent going well, as well when they are, and why you should always wear clean underwear. The play has a clever ending, and one not anticipated. This may be called the last laugh, but i certainly had plenty throughout.

After the gig we walk through to the Alphabetti’s bar for ‘The Interval’. Written by Richard Boggie, and performed by Carl Kennedy.

A tale of escapism and addiction. This was a much more serious monologue. One persons joy in attending the theatre and immersing themselves to escape their reality, however long it lasted. Entailed, their experience of caring for someone with an addcition. At times discouraging it, others enabling it, and how it affected their life, their relationship, the anger and sorrow it brang. By looking after them, does one protect them or just become part of the problem?

The subject of this play is a serious one, surrounded by stigma and pre-conception. We tend to focus on the person that is suffering the addiction, but do we ever think about how it affects those around them and how they manage. This for me was an excellent telling, of a real life experience. I was left with sadness, sorrow and maybe a bit of relief for all at the end.

As our tour of the continues, we are brought to ‘An Empty Room’. Kay Greysons’s story of her love for rapping, and her plan to succeed from a young age, was inspiring. This vision reminds Kay of an 12 year old self, performing in another city for the first time. Excitment, rolling with the pages, an empty room. Immersing herself regardless. A courage, and belief shining through fear and sweaty palms. Kay’s story was endearing, It shows sometiems whatever you do, no matter, just immerse yourself, give it your all, and do it service with no regrets. I really enjoyed this, and can see with this how she ended up performing at the Royal Albert Hall years later, strengethened by such experiences performing to empty rooms. You’ll probably also come away humming the catchy tunes included also..

A well directed piece overall, bring these three very different plays together, bringing us close to what is a lonely theatre without people.

An immersive audio show available online. Three incredible short plays in reaction to a lonely theatre.   

When:  Tues 4th – Sat 15th May 2021 (excluding Sundays & Mondays) 

Online Audience: The performance will be live streamed every night at 7:30pm. 

Tickets:  Pay What You Feel (booking essential) 

Running Time: Approx. 60 mins 

Age Rec: 16+ 

Access: All performances are captioned & audio described.

Content Warning: These pieces contain themes of addiction, health emergency and grief. For further information please contact admin@alphabettitheatre.co.uk

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