Skip to Content

Review: Demo

We invited local reviewer, Jack Davey to our very first Demo night. We're so happy the event was a success, and we look forward to many more Demo nights!

I thoroughly enjoyed this Demo event, a wonderful representation of the Lincoln Arts Centre’s relaunch to celebrate a new generation of rising talent, and brand new artistic ideas. It was a pleasure to be returning once more to the LAC, so a huge thank you to the team for having me along! Firstly, what I find particularly charming about this venue is the very contemporary feel, and a clear willingness to adapt and welcome emerging artists. We were seated in Studio 2 for Demo, and I really loved the intimacy of this space, because I feel that it gave a more personal connection with the artists in the way we could interact with them, and be invited into their snippets of performance. As audience members, between these sections, we were invited to fill in feedback forms for the selected artists, and I just thought this was such a nice touch to support these 3 performances, as they develop through their stages of devising.

To begin with, Mishap Theatre presented an excerpt of their episodic show ‘Twenty Something’, which I absolutely adored! The comedic timing throughout this snippet of 20 minutes was pure genius, and it was such a genuine, heartfelt comedy that resonated beautifully. And it’s even more impactful to see all members of the audience laughing out loud and enjoying themselves, it was impossible to get rid of my smile, that’s for sure! Through a string of fragments about venturing into early adulthood, the daunting pressures of mistakes and ‘real world’ challenges were satirised, and it was great to see such a relatable topic, having recently joined university myself, to laugh about the mundane and the ordinary. There was wonderful audience participation involved, which just embraced the company’s chaos in the best way possible, and facial expressions were perfect in heightening this comedic effect. Collating all of this, and without the use of spoken language, ‘Twenty Something’ really proved itself to be a marvellous show, for absolutely anyone to see!

Next up, Sophie Fitzgerald’s ‘Slumpesqué’ demonstrated a very refined artistic approach to handling early adulthood, with projection used incredibly to take us through a day in the performer’s life. Though what really interested me about Sophie’s solo performance was the ability to highlight our internalised conflicts between our public and private lives, as well as what it means to be an adult. Through a set that resembled a form of scaffolding, I really enjoyed how we could see Sophie take risks in a very physicalised performance, embodying what it means to explore the playful life of a child, and the vast ability to embrace opportunity in everything. For me, the piece focused a lot on impulse, a silliness in wanting to find creativity in the ordinary. ‘Slumpesqué’ breathes new life into the mundane reality, which is such a fascinating perspective to take an audience on, because it allows us to follow these ideals out to the real world, and just not take life too seriously, which feels so important right now.

The third, and final performance of the night, was Ewan East’s ‘Piano (To Be Played In Any Order)’, in great contrast to the other presentations of work, but it was so wonderfully raw in its execution, that actually handed the control over to the audience in a clever improvisational mode of performance. As a composer himself, Ewan wanted to hand the reigns over to us, with an interactive online poll. The premise was that a selection of narratives/emotions appeared in the form of a bar chart, and among the audience, we would vote for the first “mood” for Ewan to begin an improvisation with. As this piece went on, we could vote for different moods for Ewan to switch between, of which he had no way of planning, so the talent to adapt to our choices (and a given key to play in) was an absolutely tremendous feat. It was so fascinating as an audience member to be able to dictate the direction of the show, it was so clever, with seamless transitions that could really help us feel the music. And hearing other viewers after Ewan’s section, it was so pleasing to hear how many people could emotionally connect to the music, a completely different sensory experience to the others, but nonetheless incredible!

Ending the Demo event with a post-show discussion, I found this to be so enlightening in terms of seeing where these performances might go in the future, and as this was a ‘work in progress’ night, seeing their intention, and how this might develop was fascinating. I really liked being able to hear the artists talk so personally and expressively about the pieces they had made, and being able to have an open discussion with the audience was so interesting to find out what’s next for them all. The potential for all 3 of these snippets to go international was brought up, and this possibility is amazing to be discussed, and hopefully realised soon because all have an equal potential to make this happen. I also wanted to add a thank you to Ben Anderson (Lincoln Arts Centre’s Creative And Executive Director) for being such a wonderful host for the evening and introducing each artist in a very encouraging manner. I have my fingers crossed for many more Demo nights, because the talent of these performers was just astonishing, I really hope to see the final and revised productions of all of the segments tonight, the Lincolns Arts Centre has such a promising future ahead. And as a ‘Drama And Theatre’ student myself, opportunities to watch these performances is so inspiring!

  • Published:
    Thu 27th Apr 2023
  • Posted by:
    Kayleigh Hunt