Theatre, with love.

Posted on Posted in Review, Theatremaking

My name is Carl and I’m one of the silly bunch who make up Broken Chair. When I’m not being a member of BC I’m also a performer under the name of Carl James. I’ve just recently returned from Brighton with my show Sink.

At the fringe I went and saw an array of shows, some good and some, well, not so good. Two stood out for me, for totally different reasons. One (which I won’t name) dealt with difficult subjects and addressed them in a very poor manner and was slightly offensive for those who might actually be dealing with said issues, it was superficial and they clearly hadn’t researched the topic enough. The reason why the first play isn’t successful is down to a few things, but mostly it was lacking honesty and conviction. The other play, I will name; Brawn.

Brawn is written and staring Christopher Wollaton, an East 15 graduate. This play focuses on male body image and how Ryan (Chris’s character) is focused on creating the ideal body. The play is set in Ryan’s garage, which is littered with men’s fitness magazines, and a pair of dumbbells. Ryan’s character is obsessed with how he looks and keeps repeating how he is only 80% and longing for that allusive 20%, the character appears all muscle but there is much more to discover.

The brilliant storytelling takes you on a journey, loads of unfinished sentences where words are replaced by exercise. You can see the effect this search for perfection has had on his body, his relationships (both with his girlfriend, friends, family) and the strain it has on his mind. The play is honest, the character is relatable and the story resonates with people, it certainly did with me. The story is powerful, the message is clear, and Chris’ performance is honest and heartfelt.

Keep an eye on Brawn as I’m sure it will be going places. Find out more here:

The difference between these shows is the reason to why and how they were created, the first wasn’t made to deliver a message it was just made to be performed, but Brawn was made to tell a story, to show people that men just like women have a standard they have to live up to. Art shouldn’t be made without heart and a passion for the project, in both Broken Chair and as Carl James, the work we create is because we think it’s important and believe it’s something that should be spoken about and in turn create a discussion about the subject. Theatre has the power to move people, so make work that’s heartfelt and powerful.

Thanks for reading, if you would like to know more about my show Sink you can read the review here: or follow me on social media.

Carl James x

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