Welcome to the Theatrical Niche Ltd website.
We were more than thrilled to announce some fantastic news in Spring 2014:
Arts Council England chose to support our "Blood Wedding" tour of theatres and schools. Since then, we have also received support with our multidisciplinary version of "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes, our Commedia Dell'Arte based adaptation of "Tartuffe", our Spring tour "The Good Person of Szechwan", our modern re-working of "Dr. Faustus" was also supported and we toured the regions with Berkoff's incredible adaptation of "Metamorphosis"in Spring, all with the huge amount of help from our friends across the UK, and of course the Arts Council.
We provide free workshops alongside shows - and are doing so again this season with our modern production of "A Doll's House", incorporating Verbatim sections interspersed with artful choreography. Please check with your local venue to get booked in, and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to learn from industry experts; we can't wait to meet you.
It's hard to express how wonderful it is to receive backing for such innovative new projects.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Here's a video from the cast of our most recent Commedia project, "Lady Windermere's Fan", in Autumn 2017:
Most recent REVIEW snippets for "Lady Windermere's Fan":
LONDONTHEATRE1: **** "This is very much an ensemble piece. Any confusion the set might have given as to what era the show is set in is further compounded by the use of recordings of popular music played as though performed by a chamber orchestra. All this, then, would rankle those who like their Oscar Wilde plays performed unadapted.
The emphasis appeared to be on presenting the show in a fresh way, and this production succeeds in that regard, and to good effect. The exaggerated movements as Lord and Lady Windermere (Tim Atkinson and Venetia Twigg) converse in an early scene do not just fill the performance space and make the stage look busier than it really is. They serve as a metaphor; they dart and dance around like the room like they skirt around certain topics of conversation...this production holds back from full-out melodrama to provide audiences with nuanced and superb performances.
The elegant and flamboyant style of Oscar Wilde’s writing is, as ever, a delight to see and hear performed, a throwback to the days when even putdowns involved exercising a wide vocabulary, as opposed to the trend in this day to deploy a string of expletives. The pacing, too, was measured and steady, with a level of sophisticated elegance that suited the well-to-do characters. A refreshing take on such a well-known play, this is a credible and compelling production"
LIVE THEATRE UK: **** "Director Schermann has delivered a finely timed and energetic production of Lady Windermere’s Fan. It shows that Oscar Wilde can be blended with Commedia dell’arte to advantage. The hard working ensemble class shows great versatility and attention to detail.
Twigg is the founder of the production company Theatrical Niche Ltd and has adapted Lady Windermere’s Fan in a meaningful and clever and entertaining way but without producing anything fundamentally new.
Lady Windermere’s Fan is a comedy of manners, a form that depicts and often satirizes the manners and affectations of contemporary society. The style is characterised by witty dialogue with some farce. The comedy lies behind the use of manners as a mask to behaviour. Twigg’s adaptation has overlaid the figurative masks from the comedy of manners with the physical masks of Commedia dell’arte. It works. The physical comedy and stereotypes of one reinforce the word driven pictures of the other in a symbiotic relationship.
Twigg has also engineered that the original fifteen characters that Wilde used to tell his story are whittled down to four players. Each of the actors plays several roles and still some roles have been cut entirely or melded with others. The result is a sparkling rendition of the bones of the story with many of the essential quotes from the play.
With her cast, Pamela Schermann, the director, has explored this juxtaposition of styles and the notion of merging from behind the mask."
RICHMONDSHIRE TODAY: The set was simple and largely symbolic, and this was not a bad thing: walls and furniture were painted the same distressed way, looking almost like they had been burned in a catastrophic fire, an image obviously at odds with the colourful characters.
The four actors all gave excellent, purposefully stylised performances, and the use of masks and exaggerated mannerisms let the cast perform many different roles, each one instantly recognisable – there was one joke aimed at the audience about it being impossible for all the male characters to be on-stage at the same time.
Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack for “Amelie” was used at key points in the production, which seemed quite fitting music for the style and ambience. After the interval there was another noise that seemed at first to be part of the production, but actually it was just the scraping of spoons trying to get out the last bits of ice-cream from various tubs around the theatre.
All in it was an imaginative and worthwhile adaptation. And yes, okay, there has to be a Wilde quote in this review somewhere, and there’s the famous one about being in the gutter but looking up at the stars. Instead, have this one: “If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.”
BURNLEY EXPRESS: It might have oozed charm and elegance but a social satire at the Burnley Mechanics last week was wild with comedy and emotion...
Lady Windermere's Fan, presented by Theatrical Niche and directed by Pamela Schermann - Venetia Twigg's colourful adaptation brightened up this classic play with stylish new threads of humour, charisma and darkness. Venetia made for a wonderful leading lady, charming audiences with her warmth as the sweet but troubled Lady Windermere. Tim Atkinson was dashing as Lord Windermere, while Bryan Moriarty dazzled as the suave Lord Darlington and Alice Knapton was utterly charismatic as the troublesome Mrs. Erlynne.
Venetia's stylish and high-speed adaptation makes the play as bitingly funny and scandalous as ever - but its quirly modern charm only adds to the fun.
REVIEW snippets for "Metamorphosis":
'A well-executed and hilarious show'.
'A brilliantly bizarre performance!'
"We live in a society that tends to alienate people, and box them up in categories without even thinking about each other's feelings. The awareness of mental health issues, however, has increased over recent years and the more we become aware of the challenges they pose, the more we are able to take care of them.. The performance is directed by Alice Sillett, with the help of Will Pinchin on Movement Direction. It's an extremely well-done job, and the whole play flows flawlessly. That would not have been able to happen without the talent of the actors.. through Physical Theatre, Gleave makes you see his transformation as a beetle.. with a little help from on a amazing puppet...
..Eerily relatable, and it's this quality that allows you to ponder the topic on a deeper level."
BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL:
'Dark humour and absurdist qualities'
'Obvious parallels to people with dementia and the lack of tolerance towards them'.
"Berkoff.. who has long been an advocate of the theatrical use of non-naturalism and Kabuki-esque physical movement adapted Metamorphosis.. it is is his version that Theatrical Niche Ltd is currently touring with, having found a synergy with his aims and their own fluid style... Director Alice Sillett and Movement director Will Pinchin have brought to life the dark humour and absurdist qualities of Kafka's tale."
THE GUILDFORD DRAGON:
"The outsider takes on contemporary resonances: the plight of the homeless, for example, and of migrants and refugees...
Four actors make up this small and dynamic company; one of whom was tasked with the beetle role.. bodily contortions, limbs waving, feet flexing.. suggesting the agony of a man trapped inside the body of a beetle.
A noisy, high-energy production.. particularly affecting."
REVIEW snippets for "Dr. Faustus":
FEMALE ARTS - **** "Immediately as I walked into the lovely Arts Theatre, I got a taste of the circus.. I knew I was in for a treat. What I thought was really clever about this production was the clash of traditional and modern thematic devices. Amongst the long-established viusal element of the circus was glow in the dark paint nd modern day clothing.. this was mirrored in both the music and the text. The juxtaposition of Julius Fucik's music and the casual appearnace of Alt-JJ just before the interval. Marlowe's text intertwined brilliantly with director, Venetia Twigg's Adaptation with modern day language, which served as a brilliant device to merge the two realities.
Charlotte Watson... is a lovely, daring actress who had me captivated from the start. She brought a wonderful cocktail of strength and vulnerability to the role and commanded the stage with intensity and truth.
Matthew Springett played Mephistophilis with an impressive balance between dark and light... I know this cast engaged in some of Grotowski's techniques and I could see them at work...
The star of the show just so happened to be the embodiment of Hell in the form of a 6ft lizard puppet...
This production brought a new, fresh insight into the play which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Theatrical Niche's recontextualised version was strong, dynamic and a true pleasure to watch. A brave re-working of a classically sinful production.." - Molly Miller
LIVE THEATRE UK -
"Theatrical Niche in association with Arts Council England are touring a very novel treatment of Christopher Marlowe's classic and we caught up with it just around the corner at The Arts Theatre. The small space above The Arts is perfect for this intimate exploration of good and evil... The choice to talk to the audience directly is a clever one, which draws the viewer in from the beginning. It does not take long for the four actors to illustrate the means by which they will deconstruct Marlowe's play; spontaneous thought, circus tricks, interpretive moves and gymnastics... this feels like a direct conversation with Faustus. This is a playful but deadly game of dealing with the devil, and testing who is in control.
.. The unvarnished nature of the text, sprouting out of the actors mouths and expressing itself in every physical way, propelled the discourse.
.. Venetia Twigg and her team have endeavoured to illuminate Marlowe's play and present it in an energetic, innovative way for contemporary, perhaps younger, audiences. It is never a waste of time to investigate the themes of good and evil in theatrical ways. These talented players should be congratulated for their energy and innovation."
LONDON THEATRE1 -
"..a female Faustus gave another dimension to her relationship with Mephistopheles..Movement Director Sheri Sadd's choreography here highlights the perverse nature of their relationship - it resembled a controlling scene of domestic violence in which one partner is hopelessly ansnared to the other... Mephistopheles with his manic laughter and twisting limbs was highly effective and impressive.
Twigg's reimagining of Dr. Fautus uses puppets to depict the creatures from hell, increasing the nightmarish, surreal quality of the performance. But what was perhaps most effective in unnverving the audience was the use of UV lights to illuminate secretly painted faces of the devils and demons on stage. As the play unfolded, Faustus' face and body became covered with secret ink, showing her descent into darkness.
.. while this adaptation of Dr Faustus does not have the benefit of a celebrity, nor the panache of the RSC, it's a brave version by a company unafraid to try new things".
"The production itself is one of the best versions – in English or Spanish –
that I have ever seen."
- What's Peen Seen on BLOOD WEDDING
- Bargain Theatre on BLOOD WEDDING
"***** Thoroughly enjoyable providing many moments of
humour intermixed with moments of heartbreak. Highly recommended."
- The Good Review on LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS
" **** Brilliant...Not to be missed"
- LondonFestivalFringe, Soho on DECENCY/DISCRETION
"Original, thought-provoking questions on human nature... hilarious performance"
- Honest Theatre, London on DECENCY/DISCRETION