heads cast

Heads Will Roll

Birmingham Rep Door


THE fresh and dynamic Told by an Idiot are a fascinating company, championing playful devised theatre, with creativity always at their heart.

Paul Hunter is the Co-Founder and Artistic director of the company and since 1993; audiences have been welcomed to a reflection of his colourful and hilarious world with a talent for storytelling and character building.

With previous shows at the REP such as My Perfect Mind and Never Try This at Home, Hunter and his company are no strangers to the Birmingham audience. In Heads Will Roll the audience become distinguished guests to a Spanish primary school and are invited to see their exploration of El Dorado.

Hunter describes this performance as ‘an experiment’. To the creative mind, it is a show that expresses extravagance and the lengths we will go to attain our goals and desires. In practice, the audience see three subplots unfold into one crazy performance. It is a show full of laughs about a fictional story of a golden man disappearing into a lake, the BBC television show entitled Eldorado in the 1990s and the hunt for the city in Mediaeval Spain.

Hunter places a creative responsibility on his performers in order for the play to grow and Alicia Martel, Andrea Pelaez, Merce Ribot and Patricia Rodriguez are experts at giving grand and somewhat over the top performances, yet they are still totally believable.

All are fabulous performers who can be watched all night. Hailing from Spain and Columbia, the ladies blend together a perfect mix of culture and history to create their unique world. Speaking in English with Spanish ad-libs, the audience instantly feel a connection to the real performers, which gives playful and creative warmth.

Each scene is a short burst of energy that transports us from one subplot to the other. The performance is managed chaos that all comes together in the end with a happy and joyful finale. Transitions are stamped with live musical interludes, sung beautifully with great comic timing from the cast. Michael Vale’s wondrous design of set and costume ignites the audience’s imagination at every turn. There is a backdrop of a child’s picture drawing at the back against a platform, which is used for scene changes and emerging surprises.

With three subplots that magically evolve together by swift transitions and wonderful commitment from the four actors, an entertaining exploration to a mythical world is seen.

Told by an Idiot have a fantastic way of bringing out the best of a child-like nature and play that we so often crave for in adulthood. With imagination at the heart of each scene, anything is possible. The most inanimate object is used as a prop of great significance, such as a carrot or a piece of paper. Sound effects are a fantastic edition to the setting of scenes and they are used to clearly mark out their desired picture. Alicia Martel is fabulous on piano, as well as giving a hilarious musical background with incredibly funny lyrics to suit the flamboyant and crazy scenes.

We never know what is coming at any moment with Told by an Idiot. They are incredibly innovative and are a celebration of great creative theatre. To 16-11-16

Elizabeth Halpin



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