Lysander Ashton (for 59)
Lead Animator and Associate video Designer
Marco Sandeman (for 59)
Sylwia Kubus (for 59)
Production Photography by Richard H Smith
Young Vic Theatre, The Cut, February 1st 2013
On their way to a feast, three sisters are separated at a crossroads by a trickster. To be reunited, they must undertake an incredible and mystical journey from 18th century Nigeria to Brazil, Cuba, the US and the UK in 2013.
Vibrant music, dazzling dance and featuring a stunning company including Olivier Award winner Noma Dumezweni, Young Vic regular Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, drummer Sola Akingbola of Jamiroquai and world renowned dancers. A once-in-a-lifetime production that celebrates the world’s most spirited culture.
"The injunction to be unafraid to embrace the chaos of life is one of fortifying principles of Yoruban culture. It's a philosophy that director Rufus Norris and his team seem to have taken to heart in a big way in the devising of Feast, a bold and exhilarating show in which five playwrights from as many countries tell the story of the diaspora of the Yoruba people through a miraculous melding of music (everything from a fusion of spirituals and Catholic hymns to salsa and soul), joyously sinuous, metamorphic dance (choreographed by George Cespedes) and Lysander Ashton's ravishingly fluid and eloquent video projections (which at one point swarm with original slave-trade documents)."
"What holds the evening together is the staggering, kaleidoscopic vivacity of Rufus Norris's production, and the vitality of the performances. Videos projected on to Katrina Lindsay's mobile string curtain whisk us from continent to continent with memorable fluidity. Noma Dumezweni, Michelle Asante and Naana Agyei-Ampadu endow the three sisters with exactly the right blend of the physical and the spiritual. Alexander Varona is sensational as the dancing trickster too, at one point leaping from the ground on to a table with nonchalant ease. At the end, the audience went wild; and, even though I think the case for omnipresent Yoruban values is only half-proven, no one could deny the show packs a sensuous punch."
"Where the show excels is in blending music, movement and image to express the shifting and sustaining power of belief. In one deeply moving sequence the cast process slowly, singing, as Lysander Ashton’s projections play over them, depicting a diagram of a slave ship. We hear the musical links between that tune and the freedom song sung by Civil Rights protesters in a later scene. Such stunning scenes, powerfully delivered by the astonishingly versatile cast, best embody the uplifting spirit of both the culture and the show."
"…Whirled into a whole, through George Cespedes' superb choreography, live music and Lysander Ashton's extraordinary video projections, and peppered liberally with transformative stage trickery, Feast is very satisfying fare."
"Feast aims high. Very, very high. Steered by experienced and much-lauded director Rufus Norris, five playwrights and one choreographer seek to make a fusion of physical theatre, dance, onstage music, straight drama, abstract poetic dialogue, projected animation and knockabout comedy to tell no less a story than 350 years of the history of the Yoruba people of west Africa. It spans four continents through recurring manifestations of a group of their “Orishas”, or gods, a series of meals, and an ongoing quest for eggs. Yeah, that old chestnut. It has the potential to be a glorious creation, one of a kind, a transformational work of 21st century theatre – or, more likely, to be a gigantic bloody mess.
In the event, it's a glorious mess. In tonight's opening, certain of the most important aspects of the production (a collaboration between the Young Vic and the Royal Court) were absolutely staggering in their success. In fact, in terms of the production – the precise delivery of the visual spectacle; the locking in of moving bodies with music, stage set and projections; the sense that everyone and everything on stage were part of one well-oiled machine dedicated to the delivery of a particular experience – I am not sure I have ever seen anything quite so impressive in any theatre large or small, mainstream or experimental."
"This exploration of the diaspora of the Yoruba people proves an exhilarating experience....Thanks to the dynamic contributions of a 13-strong company (including Jamiroquai drummer Sola Akingbola), shape-shifting choreography from George Cespedes and the expert, risk-taking hand of directorial master-chef Rufus Norris – who was partly raised in Nigeria – this theatrically triumphant affair rustles disparate ingredients (including a live chicken) into a consistently fascinating, hugely energising experience. The overall mood itself – of exuberant defiance and continuity in the face of deracination – is the message, and it’s aimed at the guts not the head."
"A-She!” cries the shape-shifter Orisha. The audience, warm, young and cheerful, repeats it, willing to co-operate with anyone so entertainingly multiform (the director Rufus Norris has, with a rolling screen, just transformed him again). Orisha leads us through a diaspora, as earthy West African Yoruba spirituality echoes over two hundred years and four continents…..Generous, wise glee drums through the show like a human heart. Gotta love it."
**** The Times