I guess I should start off by issuing the weather an apology, because for the second day in a row (despite my skepticism) we were treated to glorious sunshine and warm breezes down by the Dock space.
And in on that lovely spring breeze, was blown two of the most refreshing performances of the festival so far! Of course the well publicised arrival of Force Majeure performed by the wonderful Eddie Izzard was taking place in the Aldridge Studio, but I was in charge of covering the buzz around two lesser known acts in Last Resort and Jonny & The Baptists. Both pulling out all the stops and competing every inch of the way with the heavyweight comedian, who I am reliably informed also brought howls of laughter to the intimate studio setting.
Last Resort is the production that explores the issues surround Guantanamo Bay, and asks the audience to really think and imagine how it would be to be involved in a place such as that. Before going in, the audience members I spoke to were slightly unsure what to expect but knew that they were in for a thought provoking evening.
“I expect to be challenged and to feel a little bit uncomfortable. I think this is going to be a different experience of theatre than I am used to but I’m really looking forward to it”, one lady told me as she spoke with her friend about things that they might be experiencing that night. “I just thought it would be a good idea to come along and be experienced to this sort of thing”, her friend added with the whimsical sense of curiosity that perfectly encapsulates what Week 53 is all about!
After leaving the show I caught up with Rex, who takes to the stage in his own performance, Pilgrim, tomorrow in the Aldridge Studio. He gave me his insight into the experience, saying, “I thought it was a very interesting piece of theatre. It’s a very sensitive topic and I respect them for dealing with that issue in a unique way!”
Another performance that had the crowds enthralled this evening, but for entirely different reasons, were the comedic stylings of Jonny & The Baptists. This musical duo tackled the weighty issue of climate change through their brand of intelligent musical satire.
I can contest that this was my personal highlight of the week so far, and their powerful on-stage personalities had me totally on board with the message they were selling. Thankfully it was a positive message of climate change, and not some more sinister agenda, because their songs really have a way of sticking in your mind.