Friday, 10 October 2014

Run This Town, Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds (For The Public Reviews)

This Review was originally written for The Public Reviews and the review can be accessed here.

The Urban Playground Team, the UK’s first original Performance-Parkour, is renowned for their free running performances.  They have been seen on Sky 1’s Got To Dance and have won numerous of awards.  Run This Town tells the story of hi-rise city workers and their climb and setbacks on their career ladders, physically and figuratively.

Alister O’Loughlin, co-founder and performer, introduces the performance with a ‘Corporate Promo’ presentation featuring his office workers with their mini biographies and commuter journeys.  Sasha Powell’s visuals give a snap shot of how they ‘run this town’ from dawn to dusk including commuting.

The performance by the six person cast is slick fast moving and the choreography ensures a smooth transition between change of movements and office scenarios with its scaffolding staging.  The Urban Playground Team is renowned for their outdoor and television performances however it feels that the stage and indoor space restricts the performers to fully project their Parkour, athletic and agility movements.

Chris Umney’s eclectic music does not distract, but focuses and enhances the movements and moods from the performers.  There are hip hop fusions and electronic urban back beats that signify the fast pace office and its technological surroundings.  The slower pace features classical music and its beautiful balletic moves which shares to the audience friendships and office romances.  The lighting creates the typical office environment with its intense and dim lighting representing the typical office environments.  The soundscapes of clocks, telephones, computers, door shutting and other typical office interruptions remind one of the busy office environments.

The promotions and setbacks to one’s career are summed up including a lyrical moment, When You’re Ready, Walk The Tight Rope,  and the performer, representing the personal assistant, interprets her story the struggles reaching the top despite holding a first class degree!  The collective dancing indicates their knowledge of who is boss, and the hierarchy is seen by its solid body and facial expressions.  There is the camaraderie, the fights and individual asides that depict a typical day in the office.  The visuals shown above the stage assists the office story and its urban context.  It is familiar and parallel to many city workers today.

An enjoyable production which offers energetic free running movements with its impressive break dancing which The Urban Playground Team is well known for.

Reviewed on: 2nd October 2014



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