By Katie Sewell
Timon of Athens
By Rendered Retina
LAST Thursday,Thameside Theatre was filled with raucous laughter as local theatre company Rendered Retina took to the stage.
“Out of the Box: Theatre for Creative Learning” is the creation of Thurrock-based trio Tom Mangan, Alex Mangan and Jordan Choi, who have toured their work within the UK and internationally.
The audience were treated to two separate performances- Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, which was the recipient of the ‘Best Show’ award at the Scratch Shakespeare Festival 2015, and a performance of Form, which won ‘Best Show’ at the Paris Fringe Festival in 2018.
While both shows were, in this reviewer’s opinion, excellent, the performances could not have been more different from each other. Timon of Athens featured some upbeat musical numbers, while Form was entirely non-verbal. The ease of which these actors switched between the two performances is indicative of the incredible talent and versatility of the actors.
Despite both shows being very different in style, they had one crucial factor in common: both featured an impressive number of props! The performances featured hats and office supplies, however of all the props perhaps the most eye-catching were the 20,000 paper balls which littered the stage in heaps, forming the backdrop for beach and snow scenes. One couldn’t help but wonder how long it would take to tidy them all up at the end!
One scene that was particularly wonderful, in this reviewer’s opinion, was the underwater section in Form. Through some very basic props, the performers managed to portray so beautifully an underwater backdrop- complete with a full cast of aquatic sea creatures. The musical numbers in Timon of Athens were also fantastically funny, and certainly brought an extra dimension to the classic Shakespearean tale.
Seating at Thameside Theatre was nearly completely full up, and the crowd certainly weren’t disappointed by their evening. Both performances were greeted with wild applause- the performers have certainly gained themselves a lot of support within the local community. Having seen them perform, it’s not hard to see why. The trio have excellent comic timing and worked together so dynamically as a group, with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy.
They are sure to have a very bright future in the performing arts ahead of them.