"Then will have you laughing, then crying, then crying with laughter."
Then has an infectious energy that can't contained by the black box. After a decade of performing with ATYP, Yve Blake brings the stories of strangers to the stage in an original production, her performance the culmination of her project called WhoWereWe.com in which she invites the public to answer the question: "Who do they feel they used to be?"
With pulsing light displays, quirky costumes and an eclectic soundscape this one-woman show probes deep into our humanity while providing us with plenty of hilarity. The show is curated around submissions on certain themes and each act is drawn together by a musical number. Blake reads out each submission with careful attention to the nuance of the character behind it. After a few readings she explodes into songs that build their strangeness into the lyrics in the bridge. In a number about "growing up" she crumps wildly in a tuxedo as the screen flashes technicolor dreams of mermaids on police dogs and dancing cats. The mayhem continues in Miley Cyrus-esque costumes to explore the teenage angst of being interesting "but not in a weird way".
Suddenly in the second half, the pop goes serious as ballads turn to more adult affairs. A power song on the joy of parenting soars like a Bjork music video: fireworks are projected over Blake's face and heart as she raises up her robe into white wings. Then it's the tail end of family life in a tear-jerking number on the long goodbye of farewelling ageing parents: "You grew me up, so I'll grow you down."
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Honourable mentions must also go to the incredible shoulder pads and silhouette work in the gutsy Hills Of Yorkshire song on the nostalgia of youth. Plus an ovation to many nods to "internet trolls". It's a dynamic production in flux with the audience's own submissions to the project read out live.
Then will have you laughing, then crying, then crying with laughter in a career-defining moment for young performer Yve Blake.