Saturday, 15 October 2011

DrumChasers

Better late then never, I said last Sautrday that I was going to put this post up, and I'm only just getting round to it now. Lazy, that's what I am, just lazy. Also increidibly disorganised and forgetful!

Anyway, I said last week that I'd been to see an incredible show called DrumChasers which is touring at the moment, unfortunately just coming to the end of it's tour actually, so this may not be massively relevant to many of you, but I do suggest keeping an eye out in case it comes somewhere near you. I believe that it will be heading to Holland (I think) soon, and also that there are plans to head to London at some point.

The cast are mostly unknown. The only exception being Stephen Fry who I suspect most people will have heard of, however he wasn't there. A voice over of a narrator was pre-recorded and played in the right places. The narrator explains what is happening and gives you a bit of history on the plot because, apart from a couple of lines from Mr Bennett there's little to no dialogue.
To give you a vauge idea of what DrumChasers is think of a percussion show (something along the line of Stomp but with drums and percussion instruments in feet - there's an entire routine played on the triangle!) with a Romeo and Juliet style plot with warring factions and star crossed lovers and that's pretty much a run down of what the show is, but it doesn't really do justice to the sheer joy and power of the show as a whole. I have to admit to not being able to play any form of musical instrument, but that doesn't mean that I can't see talent in others, and these guys were incredibly talented. It absolutely amazed me the sort of beautiful noises that could come out of instruments that is basically someone hitting an object with a stick. It made me completely fall in love with Xylophones and Glockenspiels (sp?), they make such a beautiful noise.
The show takes places in the backstage of a theatre where the caretaker (Mr Bennett played by Jack Warner) is tidying up. I think the entire audience fell in love with Mr Bennett, he was brilliant, and his plot arc was very dramatic! As he's tidying there are some odd noises and the DrumChasers invade the theatre.
The first DrumChaser that you really see is Weckl (Rachel Stone), who practically speaking isn't actually a DrumChaser, but I'm not going to get that involved in that detail here. First and foremost, I want her hat, it was brillant. Weckl is the force that keeps the two warring factions apart, through the use of two lightsabre esq weapons (and yes, you can buy replica in the foyer - there were a lot of happy kids there). Weckl didn't get as involved in the percussive performances as some of the other performers, but she was a beautiful dancer was was fabulous to watch, giving a macabre but sensous performance, and her fascination when she inspected Mr Bennett when she first saw him was a joy to watch. She also leads the audience in some percussive clapping of their own at the end. Yes, there is audience participation, but don't worry, it isn't scary and you won't be dragged up on stage, but you'll be amazed, even you can be involved in making lovely percussion noises through only the use of clapping.
The second performance that caught my eye was Buddy played by Simon Morgan-Thomas. Buddy was one half of the love story and is a character who is relentless in his determination to bring the two factions together.There is a charm in his depiction of a young man in love for the first time, not quite sure how to act to impress her, his efforts hampered by the warring groups who don’t want to see love across the divide, and it's a beautiful moment when, rather than presenting his love with a bunch of flowers he presents her with a bunch of drum sticks tied with a ribbon. He was also the only cast member to come out into the audience at the end of the performance, drawing smiles (if also a little nervous laughter, especially from us) from all that he approached. Again, another dramatic arc that had the audience on the edge of their seats at the end.
Finally you have to mention Gene & Jansen, performed by Amy Kelly and Roger Chapman, who are very much the comedy duo of the ensemble. They are the trouble makers of the group and responsible for the two funniest routines in the show. One of thses is a brilliant UV sequence. I did theatre when I was (a lot) younger and logically speaking I knew how the UV sequence was done, most people will but, despite the fact that we were sat on the front row, I still couldn't actually see it being done, and it was such fun to watch.
Another routine that I loved was when they decide to steal tambourines of Mr Bennett because they're fascinated by the noise they make. It's a wonderfully playful routine where the tambourines are passed round the stage in an elaborate game of piggy in the middle while Mr Bennett trys to chase after them to get them back.
Overall, as you can probably tell, I loved this show and have been enthusing to anyone who will sit still for long enough (people are starting to avoid me). It was fun and imaginiative, and really high energy. Suitable for all the family there were families with young kids who were fascinated by the noise and colours to groups like ourselves who just sat there open mouthed at some on the sounds and routines created. If it comes near you, I really do recommend going to see it becuase it was just such fun.
The web address if you want to see their tour dates etc is www.drumchasers.co.uk
There's also a trailer on the site! And a shop - personally I'm hoping that they'll add a dvd eventually

No comments: