Tree - MCA - Creative Critics - MIF19

The Creative Critics from Manchester Communication Academy review 'Tree' by Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah. First Set.

Tree - MCA - Creative Critics - MIF19

What do you expect when you go to the theatre? Old people singing do-wop standards? Cheesy showtunes? This was what I assumed about theatre trips too – before I saw Tree.

Tree was an interactive play which combined dance and acting in a wonderful combination. It started off with a party and ended with a rave. How many productions can you say you’ve seen where it feels like you’ve been on a night out?

A standout performance came from Alfred Enoch, who played Kaelo, a young man destined to discover the mystery of his roots – linking to the title of the play. The story focused on themes of racism, family and grief. It was a very moving plot.

Furthermore, the interactivity of the play was a massively engaging and memorable experience. Audience members were handed props, with which they were encouraged to perform with themselves. This was the first time I had seen a play like this, and this will certainly not be the last.

‘Tree’ is a must-see production. It is a ground-breaking play, and if you get the opportunity to view it whilst it is at the Upper Campfield Market Hall, please do!

By Armando

Tree is an amazing performance full of life and colour. The performance goes over political and racial issues that affect a lot of people and shines light on the issues. The night starts off as a party with loud music playing and light displays. Everyone was dancing and the cast members were dancing with the audience encouraging them to let loose. After the dancing, you are lead off the stage and to the audience seating/ standing area. The performance starts and can I just say - it’s amazing. The way the cast express them self, made the emotion so pure that audience members became emotional. The dancers in the performance were amazing. They moved with such grace and every dance move was clear. The chorography told a story and I think that’s amazing. The singers in the performance had a majestic voice that was powerful, clear and loud but it was also relaxing, calm and soothing.

My favourite part about the performance was the fact that the audience were involved. They picked audience members to come on stage and due to the atmosphere being so friendly they agreed. Flyers were thrown about to involve you in the plot and signs were handed out when they rioted. Everyone there wasn’t afraid or shy. The way the cast had behaved made the atmosphere a friendly place. It was truly amazing.

As a Creative Critic, we got to speak to the cast after they had performed. The cast were amazing people. They told us stories on why they had agreed to be a part of this performance. They told us how they each connected to the play. One was there because they were somehow connected to the issues the characters and the other was there because they thought the issue needed more light shone on it. When I asked what they thought the main meaning of the play was, they all had fairly different answers. However, one thing we as the audience and them as the cast all had in common was that we thought that we are all the same we shouldn’t be treating people differently. Especially not because of skin colour.

It’s an amazing performance with an even more amazing meaning. Everything in the play carefully dug into the issues of racism. It was a truly euphoric experience. I would fully recommend you go and watch it.

By Alisha

Before going to this event, I was completely oblivious to what I was going to watch and if I’m being honest, I preferred it that way because then, it was a mystery. As I was entering the venue, it grabbed my attention straight away and kept it throughout. There were many bright lights and the music was extremely loud. I would definitely recommend you go and see this if you like raves and/or clubs. WARNING: I would not recommend this for you if you have epilepsy. The start had an authentic ‘party’ feeling:  there were a lot of different dance moves and different choreography. When the play started, I was a bit confused but extremely intrigued because they were a lot of different people using their body in different insane ways.

Watching deeper into the performance, there were lots of flashing lights and jump scare moments - for example, there was some unexpected gun shots. I soon realised that there was a lot of violence and some offensive language. This play had many hidden messages and embedded metaphors. This play could have been interpreted in many different ways with many different meanings, but personally, I think the meaning behind this was that anyone can stay strong and you should always look for answers whatever it takes. 

The actors looked so determined and dedicated to this performance and they also said they ‘felt at home’ when they were on the stage. The main character suffered through a tough time with the loss of him mum and his dad and only his grandmother to turn to. His grandmother, unaware of her daughter’s death, took to her grandson as time went on.

The audience played a big part in this performance, as throughout, the employees passed out signs to audience members to hold during the performance. There were different stages in this play when the actors broke out into music and started singing. When the music started, different employees started to bring audience members up to the stage. So I would say this performance was very interactive in term of audience interactions.

By Daragh

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Header Image Credit: MIF


Emrys Green

Emrys Green Voice Team

Emrys is the Business & Projects manager at Upstart who runs Voice.

Alongside managing Voice and its related programmes of work Emrys manages web builds and live events through his own pursuits - with a wide encapsulation of the arts sector. Theatre, Dance, Circus, Spoken Word and a combination of contemporary and shakespearean work would all be in his wheelhouse.

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