Circleville, Circlevalley

The beauty of a new play, from a new company, is that expectations are at rock bottom. Well, with Circleville, Circlevalley, expectations soon shoot sky high.

With talented performers and a compelling script, Circleville Circlevalley tackles life’s knock-backs with brilliant dramatic creativity.

A drama therapy class led by Ellen (portrayed compassionately by Rebecca Hamilton) encourages its attendants to imagine their own world. A world where they are in control, where problems are tackled, where even the sky can fall and be reassembled in an instant. Using drama’s exceptional ability to take one outside oneself, each character’s troubled past is tracked and revealed with extraordinary nuance.

Not only are we witness to the personal problems clouding each character’s reality, we’re given insight into the future they hope for. It’s a show with multi-dimensional theatricality – a meta production which impresses rather than patronises.

Mary Higgins, who plays the grieving single mother Sal, delivers a stand-out performance. Her talent is clear as she demonstrates the vulnerability beneath her character’s abrasive exterior with real charisma. Her relationship with Eddy (Seamus Lavan), who arrives halfway through the play, is intriguingly rife with aggression and tension. Together, not only do they tackle head-on the destruction grief can cause, they offer a tangible sense of optimism.

Jobless Joe, played by Yash Saraf, provides necessary comic relief as well as believable angst, and his friendship with the homeless Carrie (Isobel Jesper Jones) is truly heart-warming. Carrie however, who opens the show with her inter-galactic monologue, is the only character you’re left questioning. Is she really delusional? If so, how will she survive when faced with cruel reality?

Experimental Theatre Club have a slick intensity which compels as much as it confuses. Director Sammy Glover is to be commended for her use of the thrust stage type space in the Pleasance Bunker – it was destined to a feeling of claustrophobia but the stage rarely felt still. Actors were amongst the audience, creating a physical involvement that then transpired to a real emotive affiliation.

With talented performers and a compelling script, Circleville Circlevalley tackles life’s knock-backs with brilliant dramatic creativity. It’s on late, but it’s a must-see at the Pleasance this Fringe.

Reviews by Sarah Gough

Pleasance Courtyard

Loren O'Brien: Who?

★★★★
Gilded Balloon at the Counting House

Ed Gamble: Stampede

★★★★
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

Alice and the Dream Child

Just the Tonic at The Community Project

Mothers

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 5 & 6

Lost Voice Guy: Disability for Dunces Volume Two

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Five individuals, united only by their dislocation and displacement from society, come together for drama therapy once a week. Sitting in a rundown community centre, some referred by professionals, some there by choice, these five people are asked to share their lives, their dirty laundry and their favourite flavour of crisps. As the weeks go by, they begin to recognise that a safe space only lasts while you’re actually inside it. Once the sessions are up for good, they’ll be spat right back out again, but whilst they’re here, they are not alone: you’re in there with them.

Most Popular See More

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets