Shame

Take one man’s story telling of events from his past about which he still feels guilt, remorse, shame and weave through a good helping of physical theatre-cum-breakdancing par excellence, add a healthy dose of animation and a rich but subtle sound score, then pour in lashings of humour with a good dash of pathos. Fold carefully and let settle. You’ll end up with something to be proud of, something a bit like Shame. But there’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of here, that’s for sure.

Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere’s choreography is tight and exciting, the frugal use of props calling for great innovation; we see a rainbow of effects with only beige umbrellas for the men in beige suits.

This one-man-show-that-isn’t (John Berkavitch tells us early on, “ignore these guys – they’re just my imagination”) follows episodes of a man’s life, episodes which clearly leave him with regrets. With his interior world expressed through the highly skilled physical performances of his three sidekicks, this tale becomes deeply embodied. Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere’s choreography is tight and exciting, the frugal use of props calling for great innovation; we see a rainbow of effects with only beige umbrellas for the men in beige suits.

It’s easy to understand why Berkavitch is so highly respected on the spoken word circuit. He’s a former UK Slam Poetry Champion, and it shows. His writing is compelling but there’s room for this piece to be a bit tighter. The coffee-machine bit was very funny the first time but returning to it felt like padding. There are times when the tale could be sharpened and the pacing of the piece leaves something to be desired. Berkavitch could allow some moments to breathe just a little more, to give the audience time to be in the moment.

The industrial space at Underbelly is perfect for both the visuals and the atmosphere of this urban piece, but the acoustics suffer somewhat. At times it’s not so easy to hear voice over recorded effects, the human voice disappearing into the rafters.

However, this is an hour well spent in a city with more than three thousand shows on offer. It would be a real shame to miss this show.

Reviews by Sue Bevan

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★★★★★
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★★★★
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★★
theSpace on North Bridge

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★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Shame

★★★★
Freestival St Mary's

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Performances

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The Blurb

Everyone has something they’re ashamed of. That thing you wish you hadn't done. That thing you will always regret. These moments add up and it's the mistakes of our past that make us who we are today. In this new work of spoken word hip-hop theatre, John Berkavitch is joined by some of the country’s most innovative breakdancers as he explores the feeling of shame through a combination of spoken word, hip-hop and contemporary dance, illustration, animation and music. Featuring original music by Jamie Woon and Royce Wood Junior. ‘The best spoken word show I’ve ever seen’ (Kate Tempest).

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