Category Archive for: ‘Jo Tomalin’

Photographer Matthew Thomas — With Maeve Bell And Samuel Lennox.

Edinburgh Fringe: Spectrum by Seam Theatre

(above) Spectrum with Maeve Bell and Samuel Lennox  Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Review by Jo Tomalin

 Spectrum ***** (Five Stars)

image Spectrum with Samuel Lennox, Maeve Bell and Dermot Nelson Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Spectrum with Samuel Lennox, Maeve Bell and Dermot Nelson
Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Seam Theatre’s fascinating new devised play Spectrum is based on the life of Temple Grandin, a well-known American scholar, doctor and animal behaviour consultant, with autism. Maeve Bell plays Grandin from a three year old through to adult, and does it with sincerity and integrity.

Bell not only plays the lead character but she also wrote and directed the play. In the US Grandin is a leading spokesperson and activist for autism and a best-selling author, who is also on the autistic spectrum, and Bell is passionate about bringing her inspiring story to the UK, where Grandin is hardly known at all.

Bell’s script is humourous, poignant and enlightening. The play moves along snappily through short scenes with the cast doubling up playing several different characters each. The ensemble of actors speak with American accents very effectively, and Bell is so authentic in her performance that the accent blends in as part of the character beautifully – and never sounds out of place or inconsistent, as is often the case.

image Spectrum with Dermot Nelson and Samuel Lennox Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Spectrum with Dermot Nelson and Samuel Lennox
Photo credit: Matthew Thomas

Actors deftly move around two tall metal shelf units that become everything and everywhere in this play.  Sound effects and music add a dimension to this show that takes us to the world of autism – with the loud zapping sounds showing Grandin’s feeling of internal sensory overload when people get near or touch her, and to the US through brief bursts of upbeat American songs during transitions, and the characters Grandin meets on her journey.

Bell has experience working with people with autism – on the spectrum – and it shows in her fine-tuned performance and in how she sensitively brought out several nuances people with autism often experience, in the play – as the actor, author, deviser and director.  When a play is moving, entertaining and enlightening it a wonderful achievement and Spectrum is all these things. Don’t miss it!

  • Location/Venue: theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36)
  • TICKETS: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/spectrum
    BOX OFFICE: 0131 510 2386
  • Performance Time: 17:15
  • Dates: Aug 19, 21, 23
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom – Scotland
  • Group: New Celts Productions and Seam Theatre Company

 


Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
More Reviews by Jo Tomalin
TWITTER @JoTomalin
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