I couldn’t have got more lucky with the weather for my last trip to this years Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Glorious sunshine turning into a stunning sunset totally enhanced this innovative outdoor performance.
IOU have designed a vehicle and created a show called Rear View– who’s world premiere took place here at the NNF. I was lucky enough to attend the first day of the production although with the fluidity of the piece you’d never know.
This was another production I had no idea what was going to take place. At the 2017 launch it was just an illustration and it wasn’t until Wednesday that I actually saw a picture of the completed bus.
Collecting my ticket from the prettiest box office we were then guided into a slightly nerve wracking life drawing class lead by a gentleman who tries to put you at ease…. but believe me…. I cannot draw.
It is here that we are introduced to the character “Charlotte” and are then lead to the bus and the journey begins. It’s described on their website as “a live performance and participatory installation with multi level experiences using digital technology. Rear View is a unique interactive experience for all audiences where the streets of a town, city or festival become part of the performance.”
I won’t go into any real detail as I wouldn’t want to spoil any of the magic of the production!
Logistically this production is a nightmare but IOU have clearly thought of everything. Little things such as making the headphones noise cancelling so that when you get stuck in traffic outside a pub the yells from the people in the beer garden do not distract you from the audio playing (although it did make me smile). I also assume the soundtrack can take into account the bus being stuck in traffic too, but at 7pm we managed to avoid any.
The driver expertly navigated the tight side streets of Norwich’s Cathedral Quarter as we were guided through the characters life. Jemima Foxtrot’s calming voice told us all about her life and the city she was from – which could be any city and yet seemed made for Norwich’s quite back lanes.
The role of Charlotte was created and shared by Jemima Foxtrot and Cecilia Knapp. Both are well established poets and performers with a wealth of experience in TV, Radio and Stage. It must be difficult to block out the everyday whilst performing this piece in an uncontrolled space but in our case Foxtrot held her own and kept her character even when in a car following the bus.
I did enjoy the double takes and then confusion turned joy on members of the publics faces as we drove past. It was fun to wave a little but Charlottes story and poetry was compelling enough that you never really got distracted.
This is an excellent and original idea smoothly executed and is something that each city or large town needs to experience. I can see variations of this show running all over the world and I am so happy to say I was one of the first to see it.
Rear View runs until Sunday 28th May at the following times from The Grand Hospital. I would book in advance as once word gets out tickets will be snapped up.
SATURDAY 27 MAY – 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 7pm, 8.30pm
SUNDAY 28 MAY – 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 7pm
If possible I would recommend a later in the day performance. As the sun starts to go down it adds an extra theatrical element with the light and shade that you might not get in the bright midday sun. Either way you are in for a treat.
So that ends my coverage of The Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2017. I have had the best time and hope you have enjoyed my posts. Did any of them make you go and see any of the productions? Let me know below!
P.S-photographs ( bar two) are not mine. I have had to use good old google. I was also kindly gifted my tickets to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival- but all reviews are my honest opinion!