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Theatre on an industrial scale

Saving the world: Kenny Barraka who wrote and performs The Rememberers.

Picture: Graeme Braidwood

The Rememberers

Birmingham Rep

 c/o The A.E. Harris Building, Birmingham

***

It is said that when one door closes, another one opens. That is certainly true in the case of Birmingham Repertory Theatre, whose doors were closed this January  and is now taking its work to number of different venues throughout the city. 

The theatre opens again in 2013 but the output goes on and The Rep has a wonderful opportunity now to present exciting work in alternative venues. This is no ‘ stop gap ‘ , but a real chance to bring theatre to a wider audience.

The A.E. Harris building in Birmingham's Jewellery quarter could not look less like a traditional theatre space. But that, surely, is the point.  It is stark, industrial and a little cold ( though blankets were provided! )  but no less equipped to present work that suits this environment.- and in this case the work certainly does suit it.

The Rememberers is essentially  a good versus evil tale set in 2150 AD.  Kenny Barraka wrote and performs the story, using an effective mix of straight narration, rap, song and a background of projections, animation, TV footage and sound effects . As with any ‘one man' piece, the key is to maintain energy and pace  - something Barraka achieves throughout the 50 minute play.

The story is set in a fictional futuristic Defence Basecamp, Norflyn . The planet is in danger of dying out but hope lies in the hands of  ‘7' – a 16 year old girl who holds the key to mankind's future  as it battles against the evil Norcon corporation.  Characters are projected in black and white ‘cartoon' form and blend effortlessly with Barraka's stark but often emotional delivery. He is an intense performer when he needs to be but also engages the audience with real emotion and even warmth.  The use of TV images, futuristic sounds and fast paced projections are interesting elements, but any play needs a human  heart if an audience is going to connect. Barraka certainly achieves this

The play runs until 19-02-11 at The A.E.. Harris building , Northwood Street, Birmingham.

Tom Roberts 

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