Roseacre: Fantastic Physical Theatre

Friday 15th July, 2016, at Harrogate Theatre.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It is the infinitely creative style of this company and their impressive approach to a piece that continues to allure; anything fresh and different, anything that is explorative and dynamic, is a great pull for me and Square Peg do this so well. As I mentioned in my review of their production of ‘The Maids’ (found on the home page), their style is so arresting because it is superbly slick and very, very clever. All of the things that I loved the first time around when I saw ‘The Maids’ were present and just as impressive the second time around; timing, blocking, multi-functional props and surprising, innovative use of space and objects were nothing short of a fantastic.

‘Roseacre’ is a Nordic Noir Crime Thriller which tells the story of a murder and a modern love triangle (very pleased to see a same sex couple presented, there needs to be more of this representation on stage). It was a strong production and performance by the cast but I must say that I preferred the challenge and grit of ‘The Maids’. After speaking to my accompanying friends, I realise that this is probably down to the fact that I don’t really seek out or appreciate the popular on-screen Nordic crime dramas on which Square Peg has fashioned this production. The pregnant pauses seem too frequent for my taste, but this is obviously a personal preference and is in no way criticism of this production- it seems spot on in its adoption of the genre. I would, therefore, definitely recommend it for the fans of Nordic Noir Crime Thrillers.

Highlights in ‘Roseacre’ were the brilliantly conceived dart throwing scene, the beautifully choreographed ‘find Vivienne’ scene and the gun as door-handle. I also loved the funny sex worker who happens to be a capable makeshift surgeon and a triumphantly defiant woman of the night; Katie Robinson has proven herself to be a deft multi-roler. This production also introduced me to new cast members and it’s clear that Square Peg have a talented casting pool to draw from.

Overall, this was another cleverly constructed production from Square Peg- far superior to a lot of physical theatre productions that I have seen. Their style is distinctive and ambitious; they use space and objects in ways which would never have worked when verbalised or envisioned, and yet work perfectly within their productions. The perfect transitions are likewise what makes this company an absolute triumph in the world of physical theatre- the superb attention to detail suggests an extensive and painstaking rehearsal process. Although I did find ‘The Maids’ to be more fearless, all of those stylistic features, characteristic of Square Peg, were very much working their magic in ‘Roseacre’. Would I see this again? Probably not, but only for the reason that apparently Nordic inspired crime dramas aren’t a personal favourite… Would I see another Square Peg production? For sure. After two shows, I think I can safely say that this company is likely to keep me interested and entertained for the foreseeable future; it feels different and enlightening to watch how they use their actors, space and token props, and the sense of quality in the finished product of a Square Peg production is unquestionable. For that reason, for me, this talented company is well worth watching.

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