The Red Chair

The Door, Birmingham Rep


THE Clod Ensemble are a ground breaking company, making theatre in the most unusual of places, inspiring, through art, those who would not ordinarily see theatre.

Writer and performer Sarah Cameron leads with a story full of imagination and child-like wonder. With her immense talent of storytelling and characterisation, The Red Chair was a beautiful story of a man who got so fat that he and the chair become one.

This production is gloriously poetic and through Cameron’s mastery of language and the spoken word, the audience were transfixed on her traditional Scottish tale throughout all one hundred minutes of the performance.

Her script was almost Shakespearean, especially with allusions to Greek mythology and animal imagery, which gave a magical element to her innocent story. The fantastic play on words weaved perfectly into songs and rhythmic beats. An impressive moment was when she listed tonnes of foods that the fat man ate in a rhythmic list, keeping us engaged with the beat and showing her skill of delivery.

Cameron is a pied piper of words – constantly kCameroneeping us transfixed with wonder to her story. She makes each character incredibly visual and different and her physical and vocal skills give an emotional connection to the wonders of her imagination.

Her one woman show is a testament to her all-round talent. The story is created by her alone and Cameron plays all of the characters – the man who constantly eats is immediately known to us when she sits on the only piece of set, the chair, taking on the role with a strong physicality of detailed structure, moving her arms and miming to eat in a gluttonous and greedy manner.

Her strong physicality make us connect to her beautiful tale of myth and folklore. His wife runs around tending to his every need and again Cameron’s strong physical persona is joyful to watch. Their ‘iveesible’ child is seen when a single spotlight is pointed towards her and a child-like voice is heard. Each character is different, bonded by language and the power of Cameron’s poetry.

Her physicality paired with a fabulous variety of vocal deliverance and choral performance makes the poetic piece constantly entertaining. Cameron needs no set, apart from a wooden chair in the middle of a circle on the ground. She is the master of the evening’s entertainment and what she tells us always sparks our imagination.

The extremely vivid story that Cameron describes so well paints an individual picture in our head of the place and time. Cameron immerses herself into the fat man’s world in every possible way. In short ‘intervals’ we are offered refreshments of cakes, dates, chocolate and whiskey. It is a highly creative way for the audience to be involved in the story.

The Red Chair is a beautiful tale and Cameron does well to translate her Scottish roots into a wonderful figment of her imagination. The piece is playful as it is entertaining. Cameron gives a magical charm to each and every element of her loveable mythical tale. It is accessible to anyone, and for lovers of poetry and language, this is definitely a piece to admire. To  19-09-15

Elizabeth Halpin



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