Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Intimate Letters: Timothy West & The Pavao String Quartet


Mixed reviews on acclaimed, legendary actor Timothy West and sterling praise for the ladies of the Pavao String Quartet. 

Tracey's Review:

Another great performance at Hawthorne-Theatre Campus-West. Timothy West with the Pavao String Quartet in Intimate Letters. I've not heard of the Pavao String Quartet before but they were very good, lovely soothing sounds of 2 violins,1 viola and 1 cello :)

The show was to be a dramatic retelling of the passionate love affair between Janacek and a younger woman, mainly from letters Janacek sent to his love.  The music seemed to be the main part of the show, with Timothy appearing in the 2nd half. 

Timothy West who is a great actor with many shows and appearances behind him was the main headline and I felt he played the part of Janacek very well, reading out some of his letters with passion, humour and lots of expression.

Now and again the Quartet would play between each reading, sometimes soft and sometimes with the frustrations that Janacek must have felt when his love sometimes seemed un-returned which I suppose with a long suffering wife may well have.  Now and again I did have trouble hearing what he was saying (think I need a hearing aid) but perhaps it was because he was mainly on one end of the stage.

There is so much variety at Campus West and it's there to be enjoyed :)

Jane's Review:
Last night I saw Timothy West with the Pavao String Quartet performing ‘Intimate Letters’ at the Hawthorne Theatre, Campus West.

Billed as: ‘A dramatic retelling of the passionate illicit love affair that resulted in one of the finest and most passionate string quartets of the 20th century, researched by cellist Justin Pearson’, I was not really sure what to expect but certainly looked forward to seeing Timothy West, a well-known face from British stage and screen, appearing live on stage.

The Show opened with a beautiful rendition of Dvorak’s ‘American’ quartet, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Pavao String Quartet both looked and sounded elegant and graceful. The first half was short, lasting only just 30 minutes, which was slightly surprising, and Mr West did not make an appearance until the 2nd half.

It was in the 2nd half the ‘letters’ mentioned in the show’s title were read, and accompanied by the music written by Janácek whilst carrying on a (rather one sided it seems) love affair with a much younger woman, and writing to her of his feelings and desperate hopes for a union.

It was certainly interesting to hear the music alongside the words he wrote, allowing us to understand the deep emotions that inspired the piece; however I have to say I was rather disappointed with the performance as a whole for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I was expecting to be captured by a very strong performance by such an experienced actor and he did deliver the reading with passion, moments of lightness and moments of despair. However despite the fact that he was reading the letters from a book, he stumbled over the lines at least five or six times, and this left me feeling the performance was slightly under rehearsed – not what I had hoped for at all!

Secondly I felt that the lack of any attention to the stage picture made this seem more of a performance being recorded for radio than a show to watch. I understand that the most important part of the evening was in the listening, however with very little effort and slightly more imagination a much more pleasing atmosphere could have been created on the stage by, for example, using matching (or even period) furniture, or using lighting to spotlight the actor and produce a more intimate feeling.

Mr West was on stage for no longer than 25 or 30 minutes and the show ended with the rest of Janacek’s Quartet number 2 being played.

Overall I think it may have been that the name of the production was slightly misleading – it was billed as Timothy West with the Pavao String Quartet – when in fact it felt as if it should have been the other way around. The music definitely took centre stage and the readings helped to give an insight into the composer’s state of mind whilst writing.

The show is touring the country from now on and I am sure will bring great pleasure to any lover of Janacek’s work, and whilst I commend the musicianship of the String Quartet, I hope that the ‘rehearsal’ last night means Mr West will produce flawless performances from now on!!


We have a couple of  great comedies coming up at The Hawthorne Theatre over the next couple of months, check them out here http://hawthornetheatre.co.uk/whatsonstage.html

Remember if you want to become a part of the Campus West Review Team, then contact us on Facebook or Twitter! 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Another great review for Campus West show!

In Extremis Review
By Cat Perry, Campus West Review Team. 

As the audience took their seats, we were instantly welcomed back in time to the Victorian
streets of London, as sound effects from the time and place were piped in to the small
theatre. This trip back in time became even more apparent when the actors portraying
Oscar Wilde and Mrs Robinson graced the stage.

In Extremis is based on a true event of Oscar Wildeʼs life but is really the story of his
society palm reader, Mrs Robinson. Set 24th March 1895 it is the imagination of what may
have happened in that room just a week before his trial, to make Wilde stick around.
Imagination only seeing as Mrs Robinson tells the theatre that they were the only two in
the room that night and now they are both dead so no one will ever know what really

Immediately the fourth wall is broken by Mrs Robinson talking to the audience with Wilde
in the background. This tool which is used throughout, allows the audience to hear what
both wished they had said opposed to what they actually said to each other, either to
protect their career in Robinsonʼs case or to protect his name in Wildeʼs. As the story and
the characters thoughts play-out, it becomes increasingly sad as Wilde admits his real true
love for, not his wife, but for a man. His words that almost hurt him to say allowed to the
room are never said out loud to Mrs Robinson and the fact he doesnʼt allow himself to do
so seems the saddest fact of all.

The actors portrayed very believable characters which really pulled you in to the situation
and emotions at hand. Oscar Wilde originally portrayed as stubborn, fast paced and
perhaps a little snobbish, but the moments where we hear his true feelings itʼs impossible
to not feel for this famous man.

Our next review will be on Intimate Letters, starring acclaimed actor Timothy West. We can't wait! 
Tickets available here if you would like to join us http://hawthornetheatre.co.uk/pavaostringquartet.html

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Check out these great reviews from the Campus West Review Team!

Check out these great reviews from the Campus West Review Team!

If you would like to take part in the review team, message us on Facebook or twitter. We'd love you to come and take part. 

These 3 reviews are from Shhh! World Premiere Performance Thurs 4th May. 

Kim's Review
Went to Sshhh! at Hawthorne-Theatre Campus-Westlast night and loved it.  I was a bit skeptical as I had never been to anything like this before, but to my surprise I really enjoyed it.  It was set in a library and involved the lives of young people and their experiences in love life and music. The set involved 3 large bookcases on wheels which were cleverly moved round the stage to complement the dancing.  I was not sure if they were going to sing at times as they seemed to lead you into thinking that.  It was only dance which was very well choreographed and very well done by the talented cast.  The music incorporated many different genres including dubstep, classical, rock and jazz.  The cast were very energetic using the entire stage......goodness how they managed to keep going!!  On the whole would recommend it to everybody.  This is my first time as a reviewer for Hawthorne Theatre and I am looking forward to the next show!!

Tracey's Review
Wow, what a night, went to see a show at the Hawthorne Theatre, Campus West, called Shhh! Taking part in the review team for Campus West is a great idea, hopefully reviewers will encourage more people to attend shows they may never have thought of before!

I’ve never been to a contemporary dance show before but it was amazing! The show was based on the lives of young people in a library. The main props were 3 big book shelves, the odd table and chairs plus of course books which found themselves occasionally being thrown through the air. There were lots of fantastic dance moves, poses, running and jumping to some great music although I did keep expecting them to burst into song. The stage was used to every inch, was a bit concerned they might do themselves an injury with all the moving of the book shelves!  At times I found the music a bit loud and vibrated but that could just be my ears – I’m not getting any younger!

The dancers were fantastic bouncing around the stage for 60+ mins is no mean feat, they certainly threw themselves into their parts with expressions to match the music and stories. Loved the part where they wore headphones, each listening to their favourite style of music, from the delicate to the heavy. They should be very proud of themselves. 

Jane's Review 
Last night I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Hawthorne Theatre at the Campus West in WGC to watch the world premiere (no less!!) of Shhh! A contemporary dance piece set in a closed down library.
Overall I enjoyed the show, and as I left the theatre, amongst the hundreds of images left whirling around in my head, I found myself considering the consequences of the sad fate of many of our now-closed libraries, and the implications of this for the different people who use them.

Hope you enjoyed the reviews! There will be more to follow from In Extremis this Friday at 7.30pm.