"Beautifully written, performed and directed" - Show me Shows on Bridle (2017)
"Funny, explicit and challenging" - London Pub Theatres on Bridle (2017)
"Keeps audiences of its toes from start to finish... Revels in provocative statements" - Breaking the Fourth Wall on Bridle (2017)
"A full on assault of visceral, raw, intense emotion. Not for the faint hearted" - LondonTheatre 1 on Bridle (2017)
"Balls-out craziness... The piece was performed with such wilful disregard for health and safety that the person next to me evacuated their seat in terror - a ringing endorsement" - London City Nights on Lulu (2016)
"We Play Project come at this with a sense of humour and willingness to get a bit self-deprecating" - London City Nights on Crystal Me (2015)
"A smart, sharp, deeply intelligent and brilliantly designed and executed show, ‘A Modernist Event’ is a brutal, bitter, and brilliant satire on the representation of feminine sexuality, and a violent, ecstatic shock for its audience" - Edinburgh Spotlight (2014)
"Director Chloé Doherty deserves credit for the scope of imagination in her physical direction; all five performances are ceaselessly corporeal, and visually engaging" - EdFringe Review (2014)
"Chloé is an excellent director who uses her actors potential to its fullest, pushing them to achieve better and better performances. Her heavily physical and experimental style is refreshing to work with and if you are willing to give yourself fully to her performances, you will create fantastic art together." - Samuel Mant, Concierge Theatre (The Hotel, 2014)
"The performances of all actors were fiercely committed and remarkable. Extreme physicality, with animalistic, sexual, erratic, comical and sinister variations, as well as fearless and invasive interaction with the audience pervaded their roles" - BroadwayBaby (2013)
By Joanna Hinson
We entered to see a bare stage, a single microphone, a woman in a horse mask reading a porn magazine.
I’d seen the blurb and thought I was in for an hour or so of thought provoking drama regarding women’s sexuality in contemporary Britain. Instead I was treated to a mix of stand up comedy and monologue which slowly unravelled into a very 21st century tale from the Clamour Theatre Company, with all the drama hitting home via what we learned about our complex and flawed sole character.
The play begins as ‘Evie’ is detained by people unknown for an act she wasn’t aware of was a crime; the charges remaining ambiguous. Her reminiscences and explanations, her disclosures about her private life, loves and relationships, are slowly laid bare and the audience begins to build a picture of her. Modern grey areas such as sexting and stalking are explored and encroaching political censorship as well as social parameters are acknowledged.
Evie is likeable, honest and funny in declaring her past, she reigns nothing in, making you wonder if she’s a victim or a manipulator. While veering between laughing at her and with her, the play poses some familiar issues regarding ‘attention seeking behaviour’, attitudes to women who are open about life/love/sex, the female virgin/whore dichotomy, and feminine vs. feminist stereotypes. Through Evie’s revelations the audience questions where social ideas of ‘normal’ stem from – it lays bare the judgements we are all constantly either making, or are open to, without declaring what the verdict ought to be.
Stephanie Martin was very good as Evie, relaxed in the role and able to adapt the script around a small amount of audience participation/interaction. She held everyone’s attention and kept the narrative flowing.
If the applause at the end is a gauge, no one was disappointed with the performance. There is no resolution, vindication or damnation of who Evie is, she is in many ways all of us rolled into one – and as a woman watching the show I realise much of what it highlights is, or has been, real life to far too many friends, relatives and colleagues. That said, with both feet firmly on the entertainment stage the loudest laughs came from the males in the audience, even if one or two looked a little uncomfortable at first, so don’t dismiss this play as solely for a female audience.
In fact go see for yourself what an UN-Bridled woman has to say.
By Dionne Farrell
Arrested and imprisoned in an unknown place for an unknown crime, Bridle’s heroine, Evie, is dressed in a black jumpsuit – a far cry from the lingerie and a horse’s head she dons in an opening dance sequence - with Christina Aguilera’s ‘Dirty’ blasted at irregular intervals to her growing consternation. As the play develops, we glean from an anonymous voice that she is being punished – for being ‘dirty’, and failing to conform to traditional notions toward female sexuality.
This woman, who confesses that she is ‘a bit much’, proceeds to open up about her past loves and relationships, debunking those very ideas, and moving the audience to consider their own attitudes toward pornography, the female body, and shame. Through simply staged one-woman show – with only a microphone, a horse’s head, and some magazines – Stephanie Martin moves us humorously through one woman’s journey in a relationship that doesn’t always succeed in satisfying her needs, and her thoughts about the constraints that are figuratively put upon women in relation to sex, and physically put upon her during her prison sentence. Though the writing doesn’t always move fluidly between each scene or theme, Martin has a command of the material and audience that makes the infrequent lack in fluidity forgivable, and plays into the character’s awkwardness.
A funny, explicit and challenging addition to a growing canon on female sexuality, Bridle is necessary viewing that I hope goes on to have a long life on the stage!
A Modernist Event
By Mark Bolsover
A brutal, unnerving, and yet incredibly smart, wry and exhilarating borderline assault, in ‘A Modernist Event’ The Lincoln Company present a deeply intelligent and awe-inspiringly brave and committed piece of absurdist physical theatre.
Drawing on Artaud’s conception of the ‘theatre of cruelty’ (—the piece, in part, represents a new rendition of Lincoln Company’s avant garde piece, ‘Artaud: A Trilogy’), as well as on Modernist drama and poetry, at its heart ‘A Modernist Event’ represents a harsh, guttural and bitter satire on the representation of women and, more particularly on the social mores, dogmas, and stigmas surrounding feminine sexuality. Utilising a bare set, with a few pieces kitsch sixties furniture and props, the show is woven together from a number of fits, focused around this central concern.
The first of these, based on the company’s production, ‘Gas Heart’, forms a kind of parody of nineteen sixties fashion. The audience is introduced to a soundtrack of, initially, predominantly Beatles tracks, which segues into generic sixties instrumentals, uniformly well-chosen and suitable, inobtrusive accompaniments to the brief sequences of this part of the show.
The cast, immediately visible, are ranged around the space in authentic nineteen sixties period costume, in the form of psychedelic glamour model bathing suits. From the outset there is a strong element of textual self-consciousness and self-reference. The sequence takes the form of physical and dance performance and is accompanied by very slickly produced and well-executed and integrated multimedia projections which play well on silent film and Surrealist cinema traditions (with style and visual cues alluding to, amongst others, Dali’s Un Chien Andalou) and sixties film, initially featuring the cast though transitioning through the ironic appropriation of stock and—cleverly dubbed—documentary footage.
The cleverly written and performed, absurd, disjointed and fragmented dialogue plays on Modernist poetry (particularly the likes of T.S. Eliot), but also on Dada, relying for its tremendous and well-played comedic value, on repetition and the gradual decay of sense and meaning.
The show does well here to cleverly play the Modernist tone and style and sixties fashion and representations of women off against each other, the company’s smart and hilarious performances in the guise of sixties fashion models highlighting the pretensions of the former and the absurdity and crudity of the latter.
The show then transitions through a very classily produced short film featuring the cast in, which plays brilliantly on surrealist cinema and certain tropes from pornography. During the film, on stage, the cast disrobe from their sixties glamour swimming costumes, alternatively stripping down to their underwear or to knowingly crude sexual role play outfits. The audience is invited to participate in this, though it is left open to what degree this participation stretches.
From here the show descends into the sequence from which it derives its true and raw power. The sequence incorporates elements of the surrealist-mock-pornographic short in an increasingly disturbing and disturbed, feverish, almost nightmarish bacchanalia.
The cast begin to leave the stage, and to cavort amongst, and over, the members of the audience, stopping to harangue and molest them. Male members of the audience are dragged out onto the stage, and are made, mutely and involuntarily, to participate in—or, rather, are subjected to—an hysterical (in a sense veering continually between extreme humour and emotional and physical disturbance) mock-sexual assault, somehow managing to cleverly incorporate repetitive, ritualistic physical and dance performances.
Presided over by the figure of a nun almost inarticulately barking derogatory moral condemnation of female sexuality, and incorporating pornography, role play and sexual fantasy, the cast’s performances can, nonetheless, by no means be described themselves in any way as titillating or sexual. The show goes far too far, but this above all is its strength. The intelligence of the piece and of its cast is always brazenly on show here.
The show’s descent into orgiastic frenzy, and the admirably commited and really very brave performances of its cast are, at all times, clearly incredibly and intelligently controlled. Apparently highly sexualised, there is, nonetheless, nothing sexual about the performances. And this is this is, ultimately, the point. The portrayal of heavily sexualized young women, deliberately and anachronistically adopting the roles ascribed to women in pornography and sexual fantasy, while the figure of the nun loudly remonstrates against sexual license and pleads for virginity and chastity, coupled with the brute and almost animalistic performances, reveals the cruelty and violence inherent in or to these forms. And this is where grounding the show in Artaud’s concept of the ‘theatre of cruelty’ is shown to be a stroke of genius.—The discomfort, objectification, and humiliation at stake in these forms is transferred here onto the members of the audience, and in particular onto the male members of the audience brought onto the stage.
Being subjected to the continued disturbing and yet smart, controlled and hilarious assault, with its attendant discomfort, shame and humiliation, is genuinely absorbing. There is an authentic, thoroughgoing and (apparently) shared experience of ecstatic transport here—an exhilaration and a being pushed or forced over some kind of barrier or limit, with an accompanying disturbance and dilation of time, that takes some to dissipate once the show itself is over.
A smart, sharp, deeply intelligent and brilliantly designed and executed show, ‘A Modernist Event’ is a brutal, bitter, and brilliant satire on the representation of feminine sexuality, and a violent, ecstatic shock for its audience.—Very strongly recommended.
A Modernist Event
The Lincoln Theatre Company presents an avant-garde evening, jam-packed with the surreal. The theatre-goer who seeks tranquillity and meaning will definitely not find it here. Rules are thrown out the window, because in this absurd world anything is possible. This play is not for the faint-hearted, so expect to be shocked.
The actors are present onstage as the audience head to their seats. There are five females resembling frozen mannequins in psychedelic 60's swimwear. Or six, if you include the creepy skeleton in a wig. They all have big hair and equally big grins. As the swinging 60's music plays something suggests that this is the calm before the storm.
As the hour unfolds things soon disintegrate into chaos. The company’s clever use of lighting is in tune with the surrealist feel. Film projections are shown from strung-up sheets adding another weird and wonderful layer to the performance. The play mirrors the disjointed nature of the 20th century modernist art movement and the action varies from a strange dreamlike calm to a wild frenzy. Terrifying moments include when the actors choose audience members to join them onstage and when they urge everybody to take off their shoes and their socks.
During this performance there is a multiplicity of different acting techniques. The effect is deliberately disorientating. The strange voices and peculiar slow movements juxtapose the madness and hysteria. Movement is intrinsic to this production. The actors organically work as one in numerous ways - from creating giant flesh-like shapes with their bodies to individually walking in sync in a floating manner. Throughout the performance there is a good group dynamic.
The Lincoln Theatre Company successfully challenges traditional theatre conventions through a combination of comedy and elements of surprise. References are made throughout to popular avant-garde artists Tristan Tzara and Antonin Artaud. Do they succeed in creating a modern age theatre of cruelty? At times there is almost too much happening. The production is also quite long so after a while the shock factor wears off and the bizarre becomes the norm. But ultimately it is up to the audience to decide.
A Modernist Event
"This is the fringe experience I have been looking for for 3 weeks And yet not a single review from an audience member?? You know...the ones that really tell you what you need to know. Why? Oh yes, these reviews are from people who have actually bought a ticket. Hi there! (The company have not made the mistake of blocking audience reviews as so many companies have this year although this is only the 3rd write-up in 3 weeks I have felt compelled to write). AME (that's what I'm calling it) is one of those finds that are a little further out - allow 20 minutes to get up Nicolson Street until it changes its name and keep going. This distance thins out the audience but this is no fault of the professionalism of the cast and quality of production. Which is. First. Rate. There is a nudity warning. I have to say I didn't expect the nudity would be mine following being disrobed on stage and I apologise to the rest of my audient colleagues. We were strongly warned against photography, so hopefully nobody captured an image of the J-machine's 6 pack. In the dark lights it was hard to make out all 6, I will grant you, or in fact any more than one, but let's press on. The show was full on engagement from the first frame to the last. I knew little of the genre, but 'absurdist' describes it perfectly. I felt safe and unsafe in intended measure in the hands of the performers. I know 'stars of tomorrow' is a cliche and it is my fault I had never registered the Lincoln Company (I'm only a lowly fringegoer). I will be looking out for them from here on in. I am not much on stars - generally 3 plus is fine but I would find it hard to give less than 5* for the full on way the extraordinary cast drove every beat...From dolls to devils, porcelain to persecutors, a hugely appealing sound design and imagery melded to standards that exceed most professional productions in a edgy fourth wall-breaking experiment in colour, theatre and nightmare. I think Modernism may be a Vintage idea reflected in the Retro costuming. And it is a good vintage. If this 'A Modernist Event' was a brand new experiment, I think today they'd call it an "A Star" Modernist Event. Does an absurd production have a moral? It does for me. Don't date an actress involved in one. They'd just have too many tools in their bag."
Artaud: a Trilogy
by Isla VT
Going to see a production of Antonin Artaud’s work can be a daunting prospect because you know by default that it will a disturbing experience: either disturbing because it hasn’t been done well, or disturbing because it has. Using excerpts from Artaud’s screenplay The Seashell and The Clergyman, as well as material from his plays Spurt of Blood and The Cenci, The Lincoln Company have created a bold, potent spectacle and experience. Artaud’s theory of the Theatre of Cruelty is hurled into the 21st century in an impressive and impactful way, whilst remaining true to the essence of Artaud’s idea: that the cruelty of the theatre is the violence of showing the audience what they do not wish to see, exemplified in this production as the depths of human depravity.
The audience were asked for the benefit of ‘the experience’ to remove our shoes and socks, any anxiety from the audience was justified by what this part of the experience entailed (although I won’t ruin it for you). The space was essentially a black-box theatre, with a sheet tinged with a blood-like colour at the corners, onto which was projected the black and white film of The Seashell and the Clergyman which began the production. This film consisted of a series of abstract scenes and impressions, accompanied by ambient, but bizarre music, which was humorous at points and unnerving at others: the perfect opening to the edited and combined plays we were about to witness.
The performances of all five actors were fiercely committed and remarkable. Extreme physicality, with animalistic, sexual, erratic, comical and sinister variations, as well as fearless and invasive interaction with the audience pervaded their roles. Audience interaction and inclusion in the piece was a huge focus of this production, no matter where you sat you were not safe from being touched, screamed at, lead up on stage, sat on or kissed. My only serious critique of the performances is that, in their complete commitment to the performance, they sometimes seemed to confuse intensity of character with intensity of volume in line delivery, which occasionally masked Artaud’s fascinating language and was a bit much. The set, although minimal and intimate, was fitting for the piece, as there was always so much to look at onstage. An interesting moment of quiet beauty was the scene with the Perspex screen which created the effect of a translucent mirror between two lovers for a breath of calm in the madness of the piece.
If I were to summarise the essential feeling you get as an audience member watching this piece it would be something akin to witnessing a violent orgy at an insane asylum. Bold, maniacal and disorientating, The Lincoln Company succeeds in performing the ‘unperformable’ in a daring and memorable way.