So Much Said With So Few Words.

Vamos Theatre

Dead Good

Walker Theatre

27th-28th February 2020

There’s a well known theatrical expression called Triple Threat. It loosely translates to somebody who can dance sing and act. However I in a totally subjective way, will attach the non de plume to Vamos Theatre, not just because they can probably do all of those things in abundance: No I have seen three of their shows and three times I have found myself trying to wipe a tear away discretely. Tonight however discretion wasn’t called for as everybody in the entirely packed Walker Theatre was doing the same. That is because Vamos can say so much without uttering a word. Such is the brief of Full Mask Theatre and Vamos are without  doubt the best exponents of the art in the country. It is simply beautiful to watch.

Dead Good is a sensitive, hilarious and tragic account of two guys at what is now termed “End Of Life.” Bob and Bernard become friends after both being given crushing news from their Doctors. For one of them death is going to come faster than the other one and the narrative is driven by how the men deal with their news. More of that later firstly a little word on the ethos of this amazingly creative mask company. Taking thorny issues such as dementia or cancer or end of life, they inject into each matter the humanity and humility that is so often forgotten, as relatives and loved ones prepare themselves for the loss they will endure. However as a society we don’t talk about these dark issues too much  either through fear or through denial; we push these them away and to the back. Vamos take them out from the cupboard of life,  polish them off and present the issues to us in a way we can all hold on to: In a way we can  understand other people’s issues and prepare ourselves for our own. Vamos are not afraid of grabbing those issues and illuminating them and in return we reflect and understand. It is genius. We are after all no longer Victorians and Illness isn’t whispered about quite so much.  Now we can see death for what it is , an end and extinction and it is nice to know that we are all in the same boat. From Poor Man to Prince we all exit the stage. The true wealthy people are the ones that have the wealth of talent and skill to help us face those days. Medically there are guys doing it all the time, mentally preparing us there’s Vamos.

With a sensitivity so rarely seen on British stages Bob and Bernard share their last  times together, they drive around England taking selfies and having fun until the end. The audience laughed at their daft antics and even though like in life we knew the end would come. With it would come pathos and sensitivity that’s held a magnifying glass up to that fact, the fact that we all go and really there is nothing to be scared of and there is nothing to worry about. Bob and Bernard know this and they squeeze every atom pf pleasure from the time they have left.

With an incredibly poignant scene at the end sobs were heard amongst the rapt crowd. Not corny sobs but one heard the sound of a crowd reflecting in unison at issues utterly personal to themselves. The common bond was made. We are all people we have a beginning and an end it is what we do in the middle that matters. Vamos are just so good at saying what we have a difficulty saying and one has never known so much said from a stage with so little. Observing the rules of no dialogue it was through gesture and movement that the story was told, wonderfully and expertly..

The rehearsal schedule must have been gruelling. The synchronicity and timing was so stunning there were marks for everything and everyone and they hit them every time. That is true  professionalism.  Vamos never ever look like they have just thrown something together to please the crowd. They go much much further. This show takes a viewer so deep into oneself that one is left dazed somehow. One, for example had no idea of running time it felt a lot shorter than it was and that was because it was good. Tonight the full crowd was there for a reason they expected and Vamos gave it up in spades. Wonderful just so wonderful.

The set was genius comprising just three upturned oblongs pushed together centre stage in each one was a door and the scenes were set by the curtains over the doors. To then show video on them was a sublime stroke of magic. Embracing all the modern facilities yet still making it look deceptively easy: That is great design. There is a big production team and it is wonderful to think lighting and sound designers, set designers, mask designer, Director of Masks and on goes the endless list, all working together ,all on the same page and they get what it is Vamos wants to achieve. Combine their collective skills compound it by the performers talent and one can’t fail to turn out top quality five star sort of work.and tonight the crowd got vintage Vamos and I think that is exactly what they went for.

This is a Five Star Review

Owen  J.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. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. Follow hos blogspot at https://owenscribblerlewis.blogspot.com

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