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24 September 2014
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April 2004
Discontented Summer: House Remix
Polo
The Royals playing polo


"Discontented Winter: House Remix"
by Bryony Lavery
30th March - 3rd April
Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford.

 

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By Joe Pike

Oxford's second offering for the National Theatre's Shell Connections Competition (after 'Where I come from…' by Richard Nelson at 'The Theatre at Headington') was Bryony Lavery's new play, 'Discontented Winter: House Remix' performed by Oxford Youth Theatre at Pegasus Theatre.

Two city gangs named the Low Streeties (mad hip hoppers who consume illegal amenities) and the Top Totties (with sequined mini-skirts, slightly mentally challenged) are on separate missions to kidnap the two polo-playing royal princes (Hal and Ed). One prince is supposed to be opening a drop in centre for the homeless and the other is supposed to be at a high society ball. At the last moment the two princes decide to swap duties and the gangs kidnap the wrong royals!

There is a strange, maybe even philosophical subplot about the weather, governments and communication, and the dialogue uses Elizabethan English from Shakespeare's 'Richard III' which seemed to blend in well with the more modern language. The play seemed to be more of a parody of modern royal life and modern British society than a thought provoking one, but maybe I was a little confused.

Tom Brooks was completely convincing and confident as Ronan, the leader of the Low Streeties and used his eyes to great affect- the audience in the first few rows were apparently quite intimidated by him! Ben Karlin as one of the royal bodyguards (Brotherton) seemed to have all the hilarious one-liners of the script such as (during their mission to find the princes): 'I'll remember this for my money-spinning, tell-it-all book', which demonstrates how up-to-date the script is. There was a danger for one for the performers to slightly exaggerate his/her rôle, which would have detracted from the humour, but this was closely avoided.

The entire cast were uniformly energetic, alive and excellent in their rôles. The vocal interludes, unpretentious choreography, simple set and very effective lighting design added considerably to this excellent production of a very tricky play.
The production is competing with others in the South East to perform in the regional finals of the Shell Connections competition at Watford Theatre. The winners of that round will then have the chance to perform at the National Theatre on London's South Bank.

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