Sprint Festival Of New Theatre Gets Off To Flying Start

Locus Amoenus, Sprint Festival, Camden People's Theatre ★★★★☆

By Stuart Black Last edited 99 months ago

Last Updated 04 March 2016

Sprint Festival Of New Theatre Gets Off To Flying Start Locus Amoenus, Sprint Festival, Camden People's Theatre 4
Monica Almirall Batet, Albert Perez Hidalgo, Miquel Segovia Garrell in Locus Amoenus.

Wondering where to see cutting edge new theatre now that the Vault Festival is coming to an end?

Sprint is a firm fringe fixture that’s been going for 19 years at Camden People’s Theatre, so you can rest assured that the team there know what they’re doing.

And yesterday’s opening show Locus Amoenus was a good example of what you might get if you decide to dip in.

The phrase means 'pleasant place' in Spanish, though this turns out to be an ironic description of a train ride that’s destined to end in tragedy. A trio of actors, a few chairs and a bag with a lot of zips is more or less all that’s involved, yet Barcelona-based company Atrebandes pack more heart, drama and comedy into the hour than some mega-budget movies we could mention.

The three flawed travellers wrestle with communication problems and personality issues without saying or doing too much, the talk and the gaps within it becoming quite devastating as they near the bend in the tracks where we’re told they will be derailed from this life.

The performances are deft and the staging spot on, especially the use of diagetic music which seeps out of one girl’s iPod and acts as a clever counterpoint to the action. By the end you’ll be left with a series of burning questions about what’s important in your life, not least whether you want to be Zinedine Zidane or Marco Matterazzi.

Afreena Islam, Daughters of the Curry Revolution. Photo by Tamsin Drury.

Locus Amoenus is on until 5 March, but don’t worry if you miss it, there are over 40 more new pieces to check out in a programme that runs until 26 March.

Other recommendations include Conrad Murray (who we liked in No Milk For The Foxes) mixing up beat-boxing with the Bard in Denmarked; Muvvahood in which Libby Liburd presents a verbatim show about single mothers; The Rave Space exploring the similarities between DJs and gurus; and also Daughters of the Curry Revolution, a work-in-progress event at the Surma Community Centre about first and second generation Bangladeshis in Britain.

Just to demonstrate how the programme runs the full gamut, you could try Egg (about the life of an egg) and then This Is Not An Egg (about choice and sexuality) and leave the place with your brain scrambled (sorry).

There are also showcases of the newest writers coming through in Starting Blocks and various undergrad shows under the banner The Freshers.

Sprint Festival runs from 2-26 March at Camden People’s Theatre. Tickets £8/£10/£12. Londonist saw Locus Amoenus on a complimentary ticket.