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28 October 2014

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Wednesday 29th October 2003
More Light @ The Crescent Theatre
Reviewed by Greig Watson, site user

More Light
Concubines sealed in a tomb with their dying master rapidly slip into a world of fear, cannibalism and madness in the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama's performance of 'More Lights'.

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The Crescent Theatre

Birmingham School of Speech and Drama
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More Light is on at Crescent Theatre, Birmingham from Oct 28-Nov 1.

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The crisp manners and complex protocol of a Chinese court may hold dramatic potential but the inside of a sealed tomb has less obvious potential. But a combination of the two is a recipe for a tense, simmering, and sometimes terrifying play.

More Light

The Birmingham School of Speech and Drama’s production of More Light begins as a dying emperor creates an image of the world, his world, for his tomb.

Loyally the concubines march into the tomb, sealed forever with their master.

Terminally isolated from outside controls, however, the women’s manicured court manners begins to splinter and crack as quickly as the paint on their faces.

From the bleached white of their robes, faces and demeanour, the women plunge into a new reality of fear, cannibalism and madness.

The tight, close, dark interior of the theatre lends the perfect atmosphere of claustrophobia. While always formal and almost poetic the dialogue goes from stiff and formal to increasingly wild and driven.

Much of the play rests on Imogen Harris in the title role and she succeeds in dominating, without losing a sense of vulnerability, of barely restrained panic. Among the horror of confinement, there is time for hope, for sensuality, for freedom.

But each of the concubines, Scent of Ginger, Pure Joy, Love mouth, Playful Kitten, Young Friend and Many Treasures, lends their own personality to the increasingly complex universe inside the tomb.

Complex without being obscure, More Light is a rich and involving production, directed with confidence and performed with capability and style.  

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