The Dog and Parrot is a grungy rock pub opposite Newcastle’s
Life Centre. Upon entering, I was both surprised and pleased to find a little black box theatre upstairs equipped with rows of plastic chairs, a small bar and risen stage.
The music-inspired Mixtape has strict rules: the plays must only consist of the lyrics used in the song the production is based on, and must not run over the length of the original track. The results proved to be creative, eclectic and quite funny.
Beginning with a ‘Vogue’ inspired scene, the pushy mums at a beauty pageant battled it out for their little angels to be the cream of the crop. The acting itself is melodramatic, apt considering the theme, and in such a small room, the girls are an overpowering force.
Next up was Chesney Hawkes’ ‘The One and Only’. A young boy working in a takeaway surrounded by drunkards has an epiphany and storms out when he realises that ‘there is nobody he’d rather be’ than himself. Although the concept is light-hearted, there are poignant moments as the lyrics are manipulated to represent very real aspects of life.
Director Melanie Rashbrooke is so active and inclusive – whether she’s deliberating over the links between scenes or an actor’s gestures and speech – it’s clear that her energy is driving this project.
In addition to the concept itself, the experience of watching such a dynamic movement in
themes from sequence to sequence is thrilling and exciting. Melanie is hoping to continue with this endeavour and stage another two Mixtape performances: the first with an 80s theme on November 25th, as well as one around Christmas time.