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The Apartments and At Least I Can Dance

by on 29 August 2022

Illuminated Hope

The Apartments and At Least I Can Dance

by Verity Rowsell and by Michelle Hanks

Bird Mouth Collective at the Etcetera Theatre, Camden until 27th August.   Double Bill as Part of the Camden Fringe

Review by Heather Moulson

Well, what can I say about such an ambitious presentation?   With a strong cast and well written texts it is a satirical double bill of confrontation, human situations, mental illness – and dancing, by the new East London based Bird Mouth Collective. 

Greeted by charismatic poet Andrew Neil Carpenter, the cast took us headlong into a sometimes farcical, sometimes surreal, sometimes eccentric but always vibrant production of Verity Rowsell’s The Apartments.  This first and shorter play gave us vignettes of a young couple, a hysterical neighbour and a profound look at life.  The highly watchable Lottie, played by Sharon Trotter, reflected on her own experiences through an alluring pink boa, alone yet drawing everyone in.

The poet, with Carpenter’s strong stage presence, introduced us to the more complex second play, At Least I can Dance, written by Michelle Hanks.  This featured dancing and the illuminated hope that shone in everyday possessions.  Joe, Lottie’s grandson, played by Brandon Thorne, put over the issue of mental illness with great conviction.  This spiralled, when thwarted from claiming benefits, by the unsympathetic rule-playing ‘consultants’  acted by Alain English, Sasha Bond, and Andrew Neil Carpenter.  The question arose with grandma Lottie, flawlessly done by Sharon Trotter: was she deluded, plain mad or a symbol of hope?  She seemed to spread happiness more than concern.  The final scene of Linda and Lottie was touching and optimistic.  The gentle ending matching the mood. 

The excellent Buddleia Maslen played Linda, who talked to her therapist, Laura Lamas about her controlling ex-boyfriend, conveyed with amazing energy by Avi Mendelson, made an intelligent and sensitive scene. 

Camden Fringe 2022

This ambitious production was directed by Michelle Hanks and with thoughtful lighting by Kimber Wright.  Newly formed in 2021, and founded by Michelle Hanks, this is Bird Mouth Collective’s impressive first year.   The Camden Fringe should be proud to present this

Heather Moulson, August 2022

Photography courtesy of Bird Mouth Collective

  1. Dear Heather,
    Thank you so much for your lovely review!
    We really appreciate your feedback and glad to hear you enjoyed our double bill.
    The Apartments was by Verity Rowsell

    At Least I Can Dance by Michelle Hanks

    With Kindness,
    Michelle Hanks

  2. Claire permalink

    What a fantastic review. Are you up for a revival as surely more people should see this? Well deserved and congrats to all, especially fab Sharon Trotter!

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