The Winston Machine Review: The Pleasures and Perils of Reminiscing
Winston’s Machine is a typically inquisitive and playful work of Kandinsky’s theater, shot through with music and mischief. It is about a young woman named Becky who dreams of the 1940s and the handsome romance between her grandparents during the war, as she plans to buy a house in a town she doesn’t like, with a boyfriend she doesn’t love. . It’s a rich production, dancing nimbly across the decades and exploring how our ties to the past can be joyful and empowering, but also painful, deceptive and crushingly claustrophobic.
Directed with sweeping freedom by James Yeatman and skillfully written by Lauren Mooney, this series is also about communication. and noise The scenes of the present are full of clamor: a cacophony of constant distraction. Becky’s boyfriend tries to get her to look at his house listing on the Internet but, in one continuous line of speech (which Hamish MacDougall delivers with such skill and humor), he also vocalizes everything Becky is looking at on her laptop screen. : Instagram feeds, Facebook likes, and of course, cat photos.
The present may be closer to us, Kandinsky suggests, but with all that scrolling and clicking it can also feel far away. So what are the feelings and experiences that help us stay grounded? Music. definitely music. Becky (Rachel-Leah Hosker) is a singer and the easiest way to access the past is through song. Vera Lynn. Summer time. The songs soar through the cracks between past and present and, with Hosker’s beautifully centered, deep voice, keep everything still.
Nathaniel Christian, in a surprisingly mature professional stage debut, plays the romance in Becky’s life. He is her pilot grandfather and he is also Lewis, an old friend and successful musician who recently returned home from London. Christian spends a lot of time in a blue RAF jacket. The image of a hero. But as the scenes fracture and deepen, that heroic image blurs. Becky’s grandfather wasn’t always a good person. Lewis’s career has only just begun. It’s all about perspective.
The Winston Machine is at the New Diorama theater in London until February 19.
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