Review: Sprint Festival 2011, Camden People’s Theatre

“East Dulwich is just like Portugal isn’t it?”
The Sprint festival has been running for the last 14 years at the Camden People’s Theatre and has returned for the month of March for another ‘festival of adventurous experiences in theatre’. It focuses on emerging artists pushing the boundaries of what we know as theatre, presenting a huge range of different experimental theatrical formats – one-on-one confessions, audio walks around King’s Cross, a theatre kit that is sent to your home for you to perform in your kitchen…there’s literally something for everyone here.

Our evening started off with Mamoru Iriguchi’s Projector/Conjector, a journey of two strange beings, one called Projector with a projector on their head and the other Conjector with a screen, on a journey to the planet Swanlake demonstrated through projected images and scrolling on-screen text. The storyline echoes that of Swan Lake but also involved unexpected pregnancies, changing genders and space invaders amongst other things and whilst it was funny, there was also a quiet emotion to the piece which was rather spoiled by an over-laughing audience member.

In the foyer, we got Francesca Millican-Slater, a beneficiary of the CPT’s artist development programme, who presented her I Promise To Swim The Channel (or the story of how I might) with a refreshing openness and warm wit as she prepared for a training session, complete with goose fat rubbing, pulling us into her story with amusing details about previous cross-Channel attempts interweaved with her own journey of being ever-so-slightly obsessed with water. We also got Circo Ridiculoso’s balloon antics which were at times impressive and intermittently amusing although I felt the joke was stretched rather thin towards the end.

Doris Day Can Fuck Off is the result of Greg McClaren’s decision to communicate through the medium of song varying from the fun audience participation of getting people to sing their names in a range of styles to his own singing and playing of recorded voice samples which was amusing but ultimately felt a little disjointed as a whole. But it was The Honourable Society of Faster Craftswomen’s Patchwork which was my favourite of the shows I saw, a pulsing mega-monologue by the lead singer of a punk band as she deals with the realities of individual ambition, maintaining relationships and the vagaries of having a wasps’ nest in the attic. A spoken-word gig but accompanied by a rocking soundtrack and some beautifully crafted illustrations, it was both epic and nakedly personal and ensured we left with a smile on our faces: this would be my top tip for booking.

To create your own Sprint experience, you should visit the Camden People’s Theatre website and look at the timetable to see what takes your fancy from the vast array of shows both onsite and off, some are ticketed some are free, one is ‘pay what you think it was worth’ but move quickly as some are very limited in capacity and already close to selling out.

Booking until 28th March
Originally reviewed for The Public Reviews

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