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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Private Peaceful a review by Lily German

October 15, 2015
In a brand new creative space, Theatre N16 puts on a dynamic production of Private Peaceful. Lily German reviews… Balham, South London is now home to the recently migrated theatre, Theatre N16. This buzzing young creative hub has reopened their doors in Balham at The Bedford pub after a short season at the White Hart…

In a brand new creative space, Theatre N16 puts on a dynamic production of Private Peaceful. Lily German reviews…

Balham, South London is now home to the recently migrated theatre, Theatre N16. This buzzing young creative hub has reopened their doors in Balham at The Bedford pub after a short season at the White Hart in Stoke Newington earlier this year. The new space offers a great location two minutes from Balham station; a great atmosphere with barrels of beer and a space, which can be diversely utilised by incoming companies, directors and actors to create fresh explosive theatre.

Theatre N16 is inviting and appears to be a progressive platform for the creative arts community in the current economical climate. Their goal, posted on their website, is to make the space the go-to place for up-and-coming theatre teams to produce their work without large overheads in place to dwarf the process.

In their first season in the new venue, Theatre N16 has put on an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s coming of age war novel, Private Peaceful. The production follows the young valiant Tommo Peaceful from the past to the present day. The play is a retelling of events between Tommo’s childhood and his time in the rat ridden and drenched trenches of World War One. The play follows his falling in love with Molly, contempt towards the conditions of war and enduring loyalty towards his brother Charlie.

Shana Swash succeeds in this resolute one-woman performance. Swash’s energetic delivery engulfs the viewer, through Tommo’s youthful naivety to his trauma and fear in No Mans Land. Both the transformation between characters and transitions of time are convincing and are of stark contrast.

Theatre N16’s Artistic Director, Ella Marchment, directed and designed this hour-long performance. The performance space comprises of a make shift sofa, a counting down clock projection onto a backcloth and few aiding props. This minimalist set compliments and changes with Tommo on his ‘coming of age’ journey. The direction makes no compromises for the space as this physically demanding piece guides the audience on transformations between time and place. Embracing everything a room above a pub has to offer, the new brilliant Balham space is wholly functioning and transformed from a bare room to a theatre in this production with credit to Marchment and Swash.

Congratulations to Theatre N16, which is engineering itself a place and a plan in the ever-changing economic and creative landscape that surrounds us.

Private Peaceful and it’s ‘coming of age’ double bill partner, BOTTLENECK by Luke Barnes run until the 29th September 2015. A whole season of thrilling theatre is set in place for the upcoming future at the revived Theatre N16, including a ‘play/theatre’ adaption of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. Private Peaceful Director Ella Marchment brings to life her adaption of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg between the 11th and 15th October 2015.