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Credit: Juno Snowden
Credit: Juno Snowden

Animus, Laban Theatre – Review

Pros: Fantastic musicality and beautifully empowering female performances.
Cons: A story that could be less obvious and better connected between songs.

Pros: Fantastic musicality and beautifully empowering female performances. Cons: A story that could be less obvious and better connected between songs. Having attended Laban Theatre for a variety of dance performances, it was wonderful to see Trinity Laban’s third year Musical Theatre students starting the festive season with a bang. After also creating The Clockmaker’s Daughter, which Trinity Laban third years performed last year, Webborn and Finn have returned with their second production of Animus at Laban Theatre. Animus, set in 1757, London, tells the story of Charlotte Donne and her quest for redemption. Not knowing where to turn…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

An interesting story with powerful performances in a beautiful theatre.

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Having attended Laban Theatre for a variety of dance performances, it was wonderful to see Trinity Laban’s third year Musical Theatre students starting the festive season with a bang.

After also creating The Clockmaker’s Daughter, which Trinity Laban third years performed last year, Webborn and Finn have returned with their second production of Animus at Laban Theatre.

Animus, set in 1757, London, tells the story of Charlotte Donne and her quest for redemption. Not knowing where to turn or who’s really looking out for her best interests, she starts on a nasty trail. Through a city of murderers, liars and thieves, the Donne family find themselves at the centre of a battle they only seem sure to lose. We see Charlotte’s connections with various members of London’s toxic society and see how her downward spiral goes out of control.

The first ten minutes of the performance worried me due to the lack of consistency in story line. It seemed unclear so early in the performance; I was concerned that the captivation of the audience would be lost. But, as soon as Charlotte’s story continued to unfold and we started to understand each individual character’s contribution to the whole plot, the story and the performances became a lot more interesting.

The performances from the cast were fantastic. It was incredible to see so many powerful female characters performed with dedication. With some characters, it was exciting to see what new talent we’re sure to be seeing on our fringe and west end stages. Trinity Laban, being mostly well known for its music and dance, needs more credit due to its talented Musical Theatre students, as it would have been nice to see a full house for the short run that they had.

For me, the life of the whole performance is down to the strong, beautiful and captivating performance of Simone Sullivan. Playing Charlotte’s accomplice, Fanny Penhaligon, showing her sultry and sensitive sides, Sullivan’s performance was a force to be reckoned with. The singing qualities of all the performers were outstanding, illuminating beautiful sounds with entertaining movement and acting.

The biggest concerns for the overall performance were parts of the writing. Occasionally the story lacked depth and I think could be adapted slightly to show the less obvious sides to the story that became prevalent towards the end.

Overall, this classical era of this piece, combined with modern music and performance was wonderfully entertaining. All of the students should be incredibly proud of their portrayal and performances. They’re a group of incredible singers and performers that I hope we get to see more of soon.

Creators: Michael Webborn and Daniel Finn
Director: Simon Greiff
Producer: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Musical Director: Louisa Green
Choreographer: Fabian Aloise
Booking Until: This show has now completed its run.

About Dayna Jeynes

Dayna Jeynes
Dayna has previously studied a Foundation in Musical Theatre at Mountview academy of Theatre Arts. This year she is going on to do a BA (Hons) in Arts Management at Goldsmiths University, London from 2016-2019. Alongside cocktail making, travelling and all food experiences the world has to offer, her Welsh heritage is finding its way in London.'