The world’s first pop-up, plug-in-and-play theatre, Roundabout, has arrived back in Stoke-on-Trent with three new shows. Theatre company Paines Plough is performing three shows as part of local event company Appetite’s three-day roundabout tour, and one of these shows was Growth.
Growth is a story about manhood and how the main character Tobes, played by Andy Rush, copes with the prospect of a lump being cancer. The show sparks a lot of emotions and does so in a funny way, without skirting around the issue of cancer and what people go through when faced with it.
Writer Luke Norris managed to cram puns and jokes into Growth, turning the show into a human, laugh-out-loud-funny show.
Remy Beasley and Ricahrd Corgan played multiple characters during the show, each one different but playing off of Andy Rush’s Tobes.
Growth takes a deeper look into the way people react to serious problems like cancer, and how individuals would claim to cope if they were in Tobes’ shoes. Growth also looks at the way people grow as people during hard times, and the way that the people around Tobes adapted to his news of a possible cancerous testicle.
While Growth may be for a more adult audience, Paines Plough have also created something for the kids.
I Got Superpowers For My Birthday is a show about kids turning into teenagers and mysteriously getting powers on their birthdays Superpowers is a great show and funny little play that looks like the actors are reading from a story book.
The characters Fiona, William and Ethan all discover their fire, ice and earth powers and begin fighting monsters and eventually The Darkness. Using an incredible lighting system and one person’s dedication and attention to detail, the entire stage lit up with imaginary beasts like dragons, goblins and a fanged slug.
With a fantastic plot twist at the end, the entire family can enjoy a show that looks at friendship, courage, and the joys of becoming a teenager.
This show managed to show the underlying theme of puberty in a way that kids might understand, without expressly saying it. Each child had a different family style, like William whose mum was ‘gone’ and only lived with his dad. Even Fiona had an unconventional family, living only with her aunt. I found it very inclusive to see that, and the representation was perfect for kids that probably wouldn’t relate to families like Ethan’s, with a mother and a father.
This trio of budding actors performed fantastically for a crowd of excited school kids, and I Got Superpowers For My Birthday was a hit with the younger theatre goers who all came out asking to watch it again.
Throughout the two shows I had the pleasure of attending, I got to witness three actors show just what it means to perform several different shows at once. On one day they can perform any two shows, and learning all of those had to have been difficult so my appreciation for the shows has increased.
Love, Lies and Taxidermy will be premiering tomorrow night for the first time in Stoke and is a show not to be missed judging by the quality of the two previous shows.
This magical pop-up theatre will only be in Stoke until Sunday, so go to the Appetite website to get your tickets, or call New Vic Theatre Box Office on 01782 717 962.
Images provided by Appetite.