Triumphant return for Vamos Theatre.

Vamos Theatre

Nursing Lives

24/25 February 2015

It was a packed Walker Theatre that eagerly awaited the return of Vamos Theatre. After conquering Shrewsbury with their masked performance, “ Finding Joy,” it was really no surprise to see so many people had decided that a night in front of the TV lost out completely to the return of this much loved company.

It is a pleasure  to say that no one should have been disappointed. Vamos are back as strong as ever with their work, “Nursing Lives.”

Drawing on a most unusual archive of letters and cards found when The Old Worcester Infirmary was moving home and the building was to become an extension of Worcester University; the show delighted audience members with a combination of tragedy and comedy as true theatre should.

Set in the old hospital the audience are intrigued to find out why a senior citizen thought it necessary to chain herself to a rusty old bedstead to stop workmen pursuing their task to clear the hospital ready for the refit.

The old lady reflected on her time there as a nurse before and during the Second World war and the audience were taken on an enchanting journey back into the days of a strict matron and a devoted staff who were daily facing things that only our wonderful nurses can.

The multi character, multi-talented cast of four moved themselves so effortlessly and gracefully between scenes and turned the art of mask into a wonderful  discipline that offers just as much as the spoken narrative.

There is something just so tender and compassionate with the work of Vamos. They understand not only makes us work as people , the very essence of humanity if you like, but also how best to portray that in a theatrical way. Given the added fact that there is no dialogue just gesture, it is easy to see why Vamos are the best in the business.

It has been said before by many that although the masks the company use are of a fixed expression, with gesture and body movement each face can cover an entire gamut of emotions.There is never any doubt as to what that particular character is feeling. That is the key and that is what makes mask such a difficult skill. The better the company, the easier they make it look. However one is aware that there is a phenomenal amount to remember and a real skill in putting on a show as good as this one. Yet Vamos make it look so easy!

The characters were so rounded. We delighted in watching the strict matron let her hair down at Christmas and the four little pigs singing, “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.”  It was delight to see the wonderfully choreographed hand  scrub routine that showed such amazing cast cohesion, so essential in this type of style. No improv. if things go wrong. Given the fact that each movement had to fit each note of the music there was no room for errors. None were seen!

If one was to summarise what makes great mask theatre one would be obliged to talk of gesture and movement, semiotics, characterisation and a clear objectives beautifully fulfilled. It might just save a lot of time if one was simply to say, for Mask read Vamos! From the applause at curtain call it was clear that all look forward to their return soon.

This is a five star review

Owen Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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