As this is still my first year as a Norfolk resident, this was my first chance to experience the wonder that is the Norwich and Norfolk Festival. Thanks to the wonderful people over at the Corner Shop PR, I was able to attend some of the festival. They very kindly gave me the opportunity to see some shows and write unbiased and honest reviews. I was gifted tickets to A Simple Space, Bells and Spells.
A Simple Space
A departure from typical circus where everything is in excess, A Simple Space was simply spectacular. Modern circus group, Gravity & Other Myths, brought the show all the way from Australia to this year’s festival.
Set in the intimate Adnams Speigeltent, A Simple Space was exactly that, seven acrobats and an incredibly talented musician pushed themselves to their limits. The show explores physical and mental strength as the acrobats showed off their impressive skills. Pared back lighting and exotic sounds accompanied, making the show truly something.
Hidden in the heart of the Chapelfield Gardens, adjacent to the Theatre Royal, Adnams’ Spiegeltent transports the audience to 19th century Europe creating a unique experience. All of the Spiegeltent shows are unreserved seating, so I would recommend arriving 20-30 minutes before the start of the show. However, the gardens have a gorgeous outdoor eco-friendly bar and plenty of seating areas making arriving early an addition to the experience.
The up close and personal nature of the show puts the audience right in the center of the action, with opportunities to be a part of the show. Every breath, movement, and bead of sweat presented in such an intimate yet cosy manner.
The show will be running as part of the festival until the 26th of May and tickets range from £20 to £24.
Bells and Spells
With creative direction from Charlie Chaplin’s daughter, Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, and staring her daughter, Aurélia Thierrée, Bells and Spells is truly otherworldly. The show was created in France and has toured across the globe, before making its UK premier at the festival.
The play followed the journey of a hopeless kleptomaniac, played by Aurélia, who is taken on a transcendental journey at the grace the objects she swipes along the way. A beautiful fusion of the traditional and the strange, the show brought stage magic at its finest to our fine city.
Aurélia’s stage presence was ethereal and paired with Jaime Martinez’s dance created a visual experience beyond anything I’ve ever seen. The play relied not on dialogue, but intricate sets and elaborate yet simple costumes guided by the music. Both the set and costume changes were meticulous, effortlessly blending each scene into a narrative.
It was my first visit to the Theatre Royal since last August, and I left in awe, Thierrée’s performance makes you question all of your preconceptions about what theatre should be. A departure from reality, Bells and Spells is a show of contrasts; light and dark, comedy and drama, the wonderful and the strange, my only problem with the show; that it only graced Norwich for one evening.
I thoroughly enjoyed attending both shows and if you would like more information about the festival or to see the lineup click here.