Ferment fortnight January 2015, at Bristol Old Vic Theatre , showed just as much diversity and talent as always. This time I only managed to catch 2 shows; Little Waves written by Theo Scholefield and Hotel Limbo by Tin Shed Theatre Company.
The beauty of Ferment is that these 2 incredibly different pieces were showcased one after the other, in one night. And yet the similarity was that they were both so detailed with their story telling.
Little Waves has 2 female characters, and on this occasion the performers sat on high stools and read from the script. Although it was clear some time had been put in to getting to know the text and develop characters by the actors Felicity Montagu and Tilly Steele.
This was a simple but beautiful play which told the stories of two women, one younger and one older. The stories weaved around one another, and rolled over peaks and troughs in a natural way, keeping me engaged. The piece explored the close relationships the women had with their family members, dysfunctional relationships told at such close proximity that they seemed to be more normal. And although both women were troubled, Scholefield somehow opened a door so we could see their inner workings and follow their journey without questioning their thought process. I somehow found myself identifying with these women, as we covered a relatively short period of time in quite minute detail.
Hotel Limbo on the other hand, were looking at a much bigger picture. They explored themes of hope, loss, ambition, disappointment, life and death. The detail in this physical performance came from the focus of the performers to devote themselves entirely to the moment. The highlight being the moment they bring a doll to life as a puppet. It was hilarious because of the personality they created, but I hung up my sense of realism and for those few minutes, that doll was a real life baby, checking in to a hotel.
Hotel Limbo was very short, as it is in a much earlier stage of development. I was very disappointed when it abruptly stopped, and am keen to see more. Tin Shed Theatre Company are now very intriguing, I have not had the opportunity to see them before. But I will certainly look out for them again.
As for Little Waves, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ferment team and their development team continue to work with Scholefield to create a more polished performance, and show this piece again soon.
There is usually at least one more showcase for Ferment work later in the year, so keep your eyes peeled!