By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
A Brave Face with Vamos Theatre
Afghanistan, 2009: Smoke fills the stage there’s sound of gunfire, the body of a young Asian girl Khaterea (Sophia Knox-Miller) lies on the floor. Khaterea had been kind to Ryan (James Greaves) and fellow soldiers Jimmy (João Ricardo Aguiar) and Ravi (Joshua Patel). Light fills the stage. Was it a bomb, probably, or something else?
Back home and Ryan is out of the army and is working in a supermarket, he’s jumping at sounds and having nightmares. He’d broken his arm during the incident where the young girl had died in Afghanistan. His mum Jane (Tessa Gaukroger) and his sister Katie (also played by Sophia Knox-Miller) know the impact of his experiences has left some damage to Ryan’s mental health but they feel pretty helpless and Katie seems to be the target of Ryan’s anger.
Worcester based physical theatre group Vamos Theatre is touring with A Brave Face until 27th April across England and Wales, with European dates in Germany.
From seeing Ryan with his family at the start of the play, to his experiences in Afghanistan, to his return home, we see things starkly and through Ryan’s eyes. This is a play told with music and all of the actors wear full face masks to portray their characters. Suitable for people with hearing issues, there is no dialogue, no spoken words at all. Just lights, smoke, screens and a flexible set to demonstrate each of the locations.
I previously saw Finding Joy which was Vamos Theatre’s last production. The style of the music puts you immediately back in this immersive storytelling world dealing with tough issues. These characters become very human by being larger than life.
The show lasts around 75 minutes with no interval and it gives us the chance to really explore this world and while this isn’t an adults only play. It certainly is for those aged 13 or above.
I felt really lucky to be invited to see A Brave Face on its first night. I’m sure it will have a great impact on its audiences as it tours over the next year or so.
A Brave Face is on tour until 27th April. Look for details of locations here: vamostheatre.co.uk/shows/show/a-brave-face
This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see A Brave Face via M Seven PR for Vamos Theatre.