Charity No. 1128337 from March 2009
"This is a dedicated company of people whose enthusiasm for theatre strengthens their outlook on life" Ben Thomas National Theatre
Please cycle to raise funds for Razed Roof
on 6th, 7th, 8th November
See 'News' page for details!
Our project 'Flood' is made possible through a Creative Diversity Hubs commission from Essex Cultural Diversity Project.
Supported by Arts Council England.
Audience comments about 'FLOOD'
We were totally overwhelmed with the beauty and art and the way the story was told. The choice of music, and actors, the times of past and present, the relationships so touching and recognisable. And then
the simplicity of the story telling, making a complicated story accessible to all. What can I say..best ever!
Phil Dale wrote: Imagine, if you will, two actors with Downs Syndrome dressed in
white fluffy head to toe onesies and holding polar bear heads on sticks. Your
reaction? A patronising smile? A stifled giggle perhaps? You certainly wouldn't
expect to be moved in a way that only truly great theatre can move you; but
then that's the endearing beauty of a Razed a Roof performance. The Harlow
based inclusive theatre company, under the artistic direction of the
astonishingly talented Annette Lidster have been creating their own unique
brand of accessible theatre since 2004 and their latest production Flood is, to
put it simply, wonderful.
The play is inspired by the tragic story of a birthday party that never
happened due to the devastating floods along Britain's east coast in 1953. We
follow the life of Charlie, a 9 year old boy who loses his Grandad on that
fateful night and grows to be a cynical and embittered current day pensioner;
kind of a Harry Enfield old man environmentalist, raging against consumerism
and ever increasing carbon footprints. The script, deftly penned by Royal Court
award winning playwright Judith Johnson, switches from comedy to tragedy with
effortless and unnerving ease. One scene featuring a row of pensioners in deck
chairs eating fish and chips on Jaywick beach in late January is as funny as
anything I've seen on a stage in recent years.
It is, however, Anette's ability to combine both able bodied and disabled
performers in simple story telling technique that really sets this company
apart. As the rain pours down she symbolises the growing threat to the Jaywick
household with increasing numbers of bodies, of all shapes and sizes and ages,
swathed in blue material and gently undulating like the relentless water. By
the time two rescuers with torches finally appear we are with them every step
(or wade) of the way as they search the flooded household; we learn of the
death of Charlie's grandad with heavy hearts but breathe a genuine sigh of
relief when his cat is rescued - a glove puppet on the arm of a disabled
performer! When the old mans birthday cake appears and gently floats across the
living room it is almost too poignant to bare. It is an extraordinary scene.
No less powerful is the parallel story of the melting ice caps. Our
previously mentioned polar bears are forced from their natural habitat when
food supplies run low, unwittingly bringing them into contact with frightened
humans. The tragic yet inevitable outcome of this environmental cautionary tale
was witnessed in rapt silence by a capacity audience ranging from high school
students to pensioners. I have seen the Nationals production of War Horse on
more than one occasion and often noted how despite the actual visual
representation on stage, your post show memory is of an actual horse galloping
around. My post show memory of Flood is of the actual blood stained carcass of
a once proud polar bear being gently pawed by his distraught mate.
Flood is beautiful, powerful and striking. Flood is thought provoking. Flood
is life affirming. Flood is, to put it simply, wonderful. If there is a local
equivalent of a national treasure then Razed Roof are it.
Audience comments about 'Our Version of Indian Summer'
A superb piece of inclusive theatre..... at its best.
.........mesmerised with the use of colour and movement in the performance
......a joy to behold
.......I love the way the different people of all different ages and very different
abilities all work together to make it happen: it’s amazing.
.....Brilliant.I also absolutely loved it.
........the kite scene actually had me near to tears, it was very spiritual and moving.
....I love those scenes when the whole cast is on stage and everyone contributes
to whatever is going on: that’s what Razed Roof is so good at.
.....Superb acting, thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.
We are delighted to announce that Catherine Ridge has raised over £1,800 for Razed Roof.
The launch of the new Razed Roof Logo
Simon and the group present flowers to designer Christine Stretham
Razed Roof received funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund
to research the history of Harlow and its sculptures, resulting in the production: 'InForm'.
Dear Annette and Razed Roof friends,
Well done for taking Harlow Playhouse by storm once again last night.
There was a great atmosphere and at the end of the evening two words were echoing all around me
- those two beautiful words - "Razed Roof" - you are certainly the Pride and Joy of Harlow.
Keep up the good work - wonderful, wonderful people. (Ian Beckett)
"The best yet!" was one response.
"This is a dedicated company of people whose
enthusiasm for theatre strengthens their outlook on life"
"It was one of the most moving examples of
reverence for life observed on a stage."
The Financial Times