Thursday, 14 December 2017

Doorways with Ladders and Footprints Review

It’s a cliché to say it’s hard to find words to describe a performance by Shallal, but the appeal of the company seems to by-pass words altogether, to eschew the intellect and speak directly to the audience’s …. soul is really the only word. A glance at other members of the audience finds them gazing with rapt attention and also a faint smile, because no other company speaks on this level and no other nights in the theatre do what a Shallal show does.
Shallal is a company of all ages and abilities, working mainly in movement, dance and mime to music, occasionally breaking into words or poetry, sometimes into full-blooded song. The different sketches evolve from one another with use of costume and a few props but mainly by the interaction of the people on stage. They move with fluidity through each item and on to the next, changing moods from broad farce – how many adventures can be had with a standard step-ladder – to sadness and melancholy, to fiery dances, working sometimes in large groups and sometimes in couples, never hurried and sometimes almost dream-like.
Their recent show at the Acorn had two themes; one was related to mining and to Godolphin House in particular, and the other was a welcome tribute to the philanthropic work of John Passmore Edwards, whose contribution to public cultural life in the C19 was expressed in libraries and galleries all over Cornwall and elsewhere. Although words are not Shallal’s prime medium, Sir John’s love of reading was revealed in many ways, from contemporary written accounts to the use of countless huge tomes as props for many inventive purposes.
The value of Shallal is of course not restricted to the pleasure of their performances but in the confidence it has so clearly given to those involved,  who probably never imagined themselves on a stage. It’s one of Cornwall’s great hidden treasures, and I’m smiling again as I write this at the memory of the gentle magic they so effortlessly produce.   

Mike Sagar-Fenton 

We are so grateful to Mike for writing a review for us. Our recent work has had audience comments but not an 'official' review and I felt we needed it.
My husband remembered that Mike had reviewed us before and suggested we invite him to the show.
Looking at Mike's website and biography reminded me how special the element of place and people can be in Penwith and the intelligent, caring and profound sense of community it has.
All these qualities of care and community are everywhere, if we look, and Shallal is embedding itself into other communities:
in Falmouth where Friends and Dancing is, "Great Sharing on Wednesday. Well done everyone!" and Shallal 2 which has recently had 3 new members, David, Emily and Esme, a choreography undergraduate, "Thank you Amy, for all you did for and with us" and a visitor from Russia, "Welcome" to Katia! and Paul and Hannah returning, "Welcome back".
Out There the new  group in Liskeard is slowly embedding itself in the community under the guidance of Lois Taylor, who i am really enjoying working with.
Shallal is providing a range of engagement and provision, as well as Zoe Osmond and Jonathan Knowles at present as trainee associate artists, with Joseph and Anna also 'in the wings'.
AGM and Christmas Party tomorrow. 
I can share Mike's review with the company.
Peter Kirby,( who we might need to film miming the soprano in the Phantom of the Opera, utterly hilarious! and a highlight of Friends and Dancing's Sharing along with dear Trevor back performing and involved after operations and he plans to come to the party tomorrow!) has requested party games and a quiz so more hilarity! Shallal Quiz remains to be seen! with hostess Ms Jo Lumber!

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