OUR RATING: Do It!
Storefront City went renegade last weekend with a visit to the Bush Theatre and a series of performances produced by visiting theatre company Theatre Renegade. Not only did we experience five new short plays by five emerging UK playwrights, but we also celebrated the theatre’s first published work, Courting Drama Vol. 1, at their playwright-packed book launch.
A UK-based theatre company, Theatre Renegade places a strong focus on new writing, whether it be completely new pieces or unique adaptations. Collaboration and innovation are at the forefront of their work, providing the impetus and support for new work and new creative partnerships between writers and directors.
Theatre Renegade’s Courting Drama series takes the stage every few months, but it’s not just the final result that has us interested in this fresh, young theatre company who has just celebrated their first anniversary. Their Courting Drama series actually starts with a speed-dating event, as four playwrights and four directors race the clock to find the new collaborative partner. After matches are made, teams have 2-3 weeks to cast and rehearse until all four shows are put on the main stage.
Theatre Renegade has produced four installments of the Courting Drama series, all at the Bush Theatre, with the fourth taking place last weekend. The night started off with Nathan Wood’s Boy, directed by Jessica Edwards, a mysterious and disconcerting story of a young boy who starts his first day of school, but the situation is not as simple and naive as one would think. Next, in Vinay Patel’s evocative The Iguanodon Queen, directed by Sophie Lifschutz, little Sophie, bone hunter extraordinaire, adventures into an abandoned mine. Playwright Sandy Nicholson then brings us the intelligently manipulative story of The Colouring Book, directed by India Maclennan, where three women are part of a psychological experiment on patterns of interpretation. Next, we were excited to see Bruntwood-prize winning Taming Taliban (also known as Yen) by playwright Anna Jordan and directed by Josh Roche. This riveting and painful story follows a mother, two brothers and a young woman whose lives are affected by a vicious act.
While these four outstanding plays were part of the speed-dating process, Theatre Renegade also brought a fifth play to the stage through an IdeasTap Creative Brief winner, Ella Carmen Greenhill, and her short play A Deafening Silence. Directed by Theatre Renegade Artistic Director Ryan Forde Iosco, this drama spins the sinister tale of an idyllic marriage gone wrong, and was so disquieting as to cause us to squirm in our seats. Which was a good thing! We think.
In addition to these lovely performances, we also, as previously mentioned, had the opportunity to meet the Theatre Renegade crew during the launch of their first published book Courting Drama Vol. 1, which is the first of an anthology series featuring plays from past Courting Drama installments. Plays include the heartrending Old Fools by Tristan Bernays, the absurd Conk the Dyslexia Goblin by James Hamilton, the outrageous Extinct by Jamie Biddle, the sensuous Bangin’ Wolves by Phoebe Eclair-Powell and the hauntingly beautiful Scarlet by Sam H. Freeman.
With this publication, the Theatre Renegade team has broken into the world of published scripts – their quality is astounding for an up-and-coming company.
So, we recommend you watch this group for upcoming productions: Theatre Renegade is here to stay.