Wonderful Nola Rae

There is a partial review of Nola Rae at Small World Theatre in the Tivyside this week, but if you would prefer to read in its entirety then you can read it here. It was only short to start with, but not quite as short as the para on the sports page suggested!

Review   Nola Rae

Mime is an exciting and exacting theatrical medium and when done well it can, for members of the audience, be a sublime experience raising everything as it does from smiles, laughter, sympathy and more. Nola Rae, appearing last Thursday evening at Small World Theatre, created just such an experience for those who were there to see her. She is an internationally acknowledged first class exponent of the art, and to say she does it well is an understatement. She is without exaggeration a masterly performer and a major figure in her field. It would not be an over-statement to say that the audience for the event were spellbound from the word go. Without a word being spoken and sharing the stage with simple puppet figures a story was told which lacked nothing of the power and detail, that one hope for from such a story. In fact magic appeared to be done in this show, where cloth puppets came alive and contributed to the action with Mozart the clown, sharing all manner of wordless conversation and behaviour; at times co-operative and at others showing signs of bitter power struggle. The characters were, of course, given their extraordinarily convincing personalities by Ms Rae’s skilful manipulation of them and simultaneously her own constantly comical and understandable response to them.

Beginning with playing the role of Mozart’s father Leopold, discovering that the baby he is toting around on his shoulder is a genius on the piano, Nola Rae took the audience step by step through the story of Mozart’s life. It was funny and magic, and at times achingly sad. One might wonder how such an intense story of one of the greatest composers ever, even played in large part for laughs, could be expressed without words. It is the power of mime using facial expression and bodily movement, transmitting the meaning from stage to audience, ditching the interrupting translation of words,  entering straight into the emotional centre, the heart. From birth to ignominious death, Mozart’s life was spelled out with every twist and turn from the child prodigy composing his own music, his capacity to play the piano without effort, through the years of adult concerts, with royalty in attendance for his exquisite composition and performance, then lust and drink, family life, encroaching madness and such sad, moving scenes at the end as he approaches and reaches the very end of  his life.  Mozart Preposteroso –  it appears that there is nothing that can’t be said without words.

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