Brighton FringeDramaReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Helen – Sweet St Andrew’s

Writers: Jonathan Young and Tamsin Shasha
Director: Jonathan Young
Reviewer: Ruby Isla Cera Marle


Walking into to the stunning St. Andrew’s Church, it’s a striking first impression to see a tilted four poster bed constructed from scaffolding, with silks across the top and draped in luxurious silk crisp white bedding. Said bed forms the epicenter of Helen, for the eponymous heroine the bed is at times her stage and more often than not her prison. It takes the audience a little while to piece together why Helen has a mute guard that constantly watches her every move, and why the route of their interaction appears to be for him to bring her medication to sedate her.

Helen is a modern take on the myth Helen of Troy, as a work it tiptoes the fine line between perplexing and intriguing. As Helen, Tamsin Shasha is a tour de force, who gallops through the emotional spectrum at breakneck speed. From overt sexual prowess during her almost orgasmic response to hearing the song: Girl’s Just Want To Have Fun, to maniacally deranged with the occasional unexpected glimmer of vulnerability.

As the guard Tyler Fayose, is strong and silent but there is a spine-chilling intensity to his performance. Communicating only through grunts and piercing stares, yet somehow he manages to match Shasha’s emotional acrobatics brilliantly.

Helen really comes into its’ own during the aerial work, as the pair effortlessly swing and suspend themselves from the bed constructed from scaffolding. Aerial choreographer Jami Reid-Quarrell should be applauded for his spellbinding choreography, in particular, the sensual partner work using the silks makes for some sublime images. It looks all the more impressive against the grandiose backdrop of St. Andrew’s Church.

Helen takes a little while to warm up, as you have to work hard to attempt to piece together a narrative thread. But once all begins to fall into place it makes for an intensely harrowing and refreshingly unique take on the legend of Helen of Troy.

Runs until 19 May| Image: Contributed

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