Tuesday, 4 January 2011

What The Audience Think...

Thoughts from Val Burgess on her first Belt Up experience...

'I thought about doing a write up of the shows that I've seen over the past few months, but instead I'm sending you what I wrote shortly after seeing The Tartuffe, my first Belt Up show, when I knew nothing about the company other than you'd started at York Uni and were now in residence at YTR.

I knew I was going to enjoy Belt Up Theatre’s The Tartuffe when we were standing in the theatre bar, and members of the cast were mingling amongst us. We chatted with clowns, ladies in corsets, mimes, and the great actor Orgon Poquelin (who was a little put out that we didn’t realise that he was the star of the show), and a chap who asked our names, which we obligingly told him.

As we went to take our seats in the second row of the stalls, the same chap was learning over the edge of the circle, and announced to all the audience ‘here ladies and gentlemen, we have Val and Julie, who have just entered’, of course, we took a bow, and took our seats.

What I hadn’t realised was that we were attending the very final performance of The Tartuffe, and over the last couple of years, and performances in York, Edinburgh, and London, this show has gained it’s own cult following. Belt Up’s style is Immersive Theatre, and for this last show, there were a lot of people who had seen it before, and were happy to get involved. Most people on the front row were dragged up on stage in some way. I was, of course, kicking myself that we were on the second row.

It was, quite simply, the best production I’ve seen for some time, funny, clever, very irreverent, with enough theatre ‘in-jokes’ to make a theatre snob happy, and then some.

By the end, the whole of the audience were on their feet, as Orgon died, and was lifted aloft like a dead Christ. The cheering went on for some time. This time, I didn’t begrudge the standing ovation, they deserved it. They’re in residence at York Theatre Royal, and I’ll definitely be seeking out what they do next. Also, they have a blog. Seek them out people, you won’t regret it.

Since then, I've seen Midsummer Night's Dream, Lorca (which I recommended to a friend in London, who also loved it, and who also recommended it to friends), Antigone, Macbeth, Elsewhere, and Octavia. I've seen you perform in attics, open spaces, a library and a pub restaurant. You've made me laugh, cry uncontrollably and celebrate the sheer joy of live theatre. I'm looking forward to what 2011 brings.'

Thanks Val!

Keep them coming...


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