Pros: Beautiful music and great hand-drawn animation.
Cons: Despite being short, it was a bit too drawn out at certain points.
Part of the First Bites programme at the Ovalhouse, Strawberry Vale is a work-in-progress and so the showing was a short sneak peak at a future full length production. Featuring the use of digital images, some props and a solo female performer, it was an intriguing insight.
The story is of a teenage girl who fears that becoming an adult will mean leaving behind her beloved drawing, video games and all that encourages her to live out her childish fantasies. In the end, she chooses to have one last day in the world of her imagination, and so goes forth to the Strawberry Vale. There she must navigate her way through the unfamiliar world she encounters. Jessica Kathryn, who plays Gin, gives a great performance in the first part of the show, and in the later part does a brilliant job of coordinating with the moving images.
Ovalhouse in itself surprised me, with its great atmosphere and friendly service. One main downfall would be the seating, because whilst comfortable, having taller people in front makes it a challenge to see most of the stage.
The world presented by 9 Grams Of Moon, which fuses projected digital magic with frame by frame hand-drawn animation, is a splendid idea. It makes it for an intriguing theatrical experience, and raises questions about what else could be done with the use of animation. The music is beautiful and intense and, with further plot development would certainly help to engage audiences. The little criticism along with that, however, would be of the drawn out sequences which lasted just a bit too long. This may have been to show off the effects and music for longer but the effect was to bring the quality of the show down a notch. Despite that, the show got a few laughs, featured interesting imagery and could just about cater to anyone, whether a fan of video games or not. On to level two we go!
Author: Emi Tse and Jessica Kathryn
Director: Emi Tse and Jessica Kathryn
Producer: Emi Tse
Box Office: 020 7582 7680
Booking Link: http://www.ovalhouse.com/whatson/detail/strawberry-vale-by-9-grams-of-moon
Booking Until: 2 July 2016