When I Was Old / When I Get Young, Lucy Ellinson: A dozen Ipswichers representing most of the healthy age groups presented monologues, all interesting enough and some brilliant. The staging looked easy, reproducible – in a word, franchisable – and at 30 minutes of variety, suitable for children, of whom there were some in the audience. The themes were universal and age-typical: a husband told his Harry-met-Sally story, a schoolboy raved about his Pokémon, a white-haired woman found comfort in her rosary in the night, listing the holy presences that she felt were there with her much as the younger generation review their friends lists. This genericity is perhaps inevitable since not everyone in a representative group will have the same sensitivity to place, but it would be interesting to see a more site-specific version as well.
The Bullet and the Bass Trombone, Sleepdogs: The story of a touring orchestra caught in a banana republic coup is told inventively with copious use of recorded segments and sound effects. It starts as a young depressive’s guide to the symphony which modulates into a post-9/11 chaos narrative, and that’s just the first movement. The details of the setting, including a misnamed city and a presidential assassination, satirize stereotypical European views of the post-colonial, but lightly. Timothy X Atack’s acting is worth seeing, though he’s restricted himself here to mostly minor keys, and the musical score aptly dramatizes the heteroglossia and approach-avoidance of the narrative.