Shame @ Roundhouse review

I’m sure if the much sought after Time Machine were invented, we’d all be rushing to our nearest department stores to make a purchase. We all have those certain moments we wish we could re-write and tweak, that we always seem to re-play obsessively on a daily, weekly or monthly basis that annoyingly in some circumstances manifest to years of regret down the line. But what is it you wish you could perfect and alter? What are you ashamed of?

Shame, by John Berkavitch, Heads Up Festival, Hull.

Inspired by the rehearsals of John Berkavitch’s Shame, Zia Ahmed warms up the crowd with a dose of poetry he had penned earlier on in the day. With a mellow yet nervous energy, Ahmed effortlessly draws in the audience line by line with a retrospective account of the novelties of childhood, from the prominence of Coco Pops, to the playground politics of school. A fast forward to the present day becomes a case of brutally accepting the inevitability of time and how missed opportunities of saying ‘I love you’ can last forever. A heart warming, honest and resonant performance that perfectly sets up the rest of the show.

John Berkavitch‘s diary-esque prose becomes the life force of the 70 minute confessional. Drawing on the very thing that lies in the recesses of the human mind, Berkavitch makes the audience nervously re-shuffle in their seats as he questions whether any of us are prepared to take to the stage and bare our souls. This provides an unnerving yet comical observation questioning why we all put up glossy veneers and project a ‘goody two shoes’ image of ourselves. A trio of dancers form the inner workings of Berkavitch’s mind, a series of continual thought processes as they windmill, hand stand and tumble into a kaleidoscope of scenarios.

Shame’s puzzle-like structure presents a maze of timelines, spanning from Berkavitch’s 6th Birthday Celebrations to the present day. Looking back at his 25 years, Berkavitch daringly meanders through a series of ever changing projections, dance sequences and visceral monologues, creating a cathartic and authentic experience. Pushing to one side the airs and graces that we as humans appear to adopt, Shame unveils the not so celebrated aspects of human behaviour.

Blend‘s projections accentuate the kaleidoscope-centric narrative, as geometric and colourful shapes animate the initially cell like blank canvas screen. Memories become fleeting realities, as the dancers themselves become the blank canvases for projection images. Katie Pearson‘s choreography endearingly unites from reliving secondary school days with best friends, to the creation of a bicycle. A down to earth yet imaginative piece of theatre, Shame places the concept of doubts and missed opportunities to the fore. 4/5

Shame, by John Berkavitch, Heads Up Festival, Hull.

John Berkavitch’s Shame is currently showing at the Roundhouse until Saturday 10th May. For more information on the production, visit here…

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