"A magnificent design by rising star Chloe Lamford"
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
INTERVIEWS + FEATURES
Feature and interview / The Guardian / July 2017
Imitations of Life / Interview by Dan Hutton
Exeunt Magazine / December 2013
Financial Times / December 2015
ON THE SITE
"The significance of The Site lies not in the individual pieces of work that will be seen here, but in its interrogation of how theatre is traditionally made and how space defines, confines and liberates it. It asks what happens if you change the process by which the creativity of those who collaborate to make theatre is harnessed. All of which are questions that theatre should ask itself more often."
THE GUARDIAN / LYN GARDNER / JUNE 2017
Read review here
ON GRIMLY HANDSOME
"Around the side of the Royal Court, through a yard filled with Christmas trees, lies a trio of sinister installations: a topsy-turvy Wendy house, with a table set for an upside-down meal; a room in which a young woman pores over police mugshots; and a grotto stuffed with death kitsch, like the lair of a psychopathic Santa. Plastic evidence bags hang from a rail along a corridor where small animals have made nests from city junk.
These are antechambers to the main arena, where Julia Jarcho’s macabre comedy Grimly Handsome plays out variations on the theme of partners in crime, with a pair of homicidal Christmas tree sellers plying a deadly trade on the sidewalks of an unnamed American city, stalked by a brace of swaggering, know-nothing detectives.
The staging is thrilling, using the large windows of this reclaimed studio to take the action out into the yard while simultaneously beaming it back in brilliant colour via an assortment of video screens. The result is a chilling and beautiful reminder that Christmas was invented to disguise the darkest time of the year.”
Claire Amitstead, The Observer, 17.12.17 ★★★★
“Red Riding Hood was warned not to stray from the dark forest path for good reason. But when designer Chloe Lamford and director Sam Pritchardbeckon you down an alley and through a thicket of Christmas trees for Julia Jarcho’s disconcerting and gripping play in three parts, you should follow. But look sharp. Danger lurks.
Lamford and Pritchard treat Jarcho’s text like a crime-scene artefact. The entire show is an immersive installation that begins with mulled wine and a tour through the rooms attached to the playing space. In these tinselly grottoes are stuffed scavenging creatures and children’s toys. Some of them will reappear on stage. At one point, you can peer through a peephole and spy on the passengers waiting on the platform at Sloane Square tube station next door to the theatre. On the roof there is crime tape and a tent hiding dark secrets. The city’s rich look down on us, unseen.”
Lyn Gardner, The Times, 10.12.17 ★★★★
Imaginatively staged by designer Chloe Lamford and director Sam Pritchard in The Site, a workshop space alongside the main theatre, the production plays with the idea that narrative is created to articulate our basic fears. Audience members push their way through Christmas tree branches and past macabre installations to reach a white-walled performance space that resembles an old school science lab. Scarves from the killers’ previous victims hang on the walls like trophies, but also like props in readiness. A sound engineer orchestrates effects in full view. It’s part backstage space, part incident room, part control centre: the engine room of the story. Here we sit and spy on events, through the windows to the alley outside, via TV screens into other rooms. The result is bizarre, a hallucinatory trip through the grubby, desolate margins of the city as mangled through popular culture and sprinkled with cheery festive songs. It’s possible that we are all just trapped in someone’s bleak fantasy.
Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times, 12.12.17
Lamford and Pritchard's creation will leave you with more questions than answers, but it's not always necessary to search for every underlying meaning; sometimes you can just enjoy it for what it is. And what this piece is is a fine-tuned, cross-disciplinary installation that pushes the boundaries of live art, multimedia and theatre.
Grimly Handsome is like nothing I have ever seen before, and it's a great to experience a show like this every once in a while.
Alastair Wilkinson, Broadway World, 09.12.17 ★★★★
The production assembles and reassembles itself – a virtuosic whirl of bits of scenery (design by Chloe Lamford), fantastic singers, excerpts from the operas that, in their aesthetic, become wittily and pointedly ahead of their time.
THE INDEPENDENT 27-10-16
The ingenious set, designed by Chloe Lamford, is so versatile that the centre occasionally drops out of it to create an orchestra pit.
THE TIMES 27-10-16
Lavishly designed by Chloe Lamford, this is a show that both delights and moves you with constant reminders that there is a difference between genius and also-rans, however talented. On the huge Olivier stage, this Amadeus pulses and shimmers and trills and occasionally roars with the pleasure of great music. At some moments it is almost overwhelming; at other it is quietly moving.
THE ARTS DESK 28-10-16
... the amusingly anachronistic flourishes of Chloe Lamford’s design (Mozart wears DMs, Salieri scoffs a box of Dunkin Donuts)
TIME OUT 28-10-16
Chloe Lamford’s costumes – mile-wide panniers and spangly trainers – pop with colour and there’s a gleefully anachronistic quality to some of the dance scenes, the music throbbing as the masked cast cavort in slow motion. But for all its playful, punkish energy, the production is capable of tenderness and profundity too.
THE STAGE 27-10-16
"... the ensemble of musicians forms an integral part of the action, stalking Chloe Lamford’s stripped- back, abstract stage-area"
THE TELEGRAPH 27-10-16
Chloe Lamford’s *art-fully* shrunken set plays its part in celebrating the artifice of performance. Shadows cast by visible parcans fall rudely upon a thin curtain, as props are whisked onto stage by hurried stage managers. Falling cherubs make an occasional appearance, diving down over classical footlight shells, as two-dimensional homages to ancient architecture furnish rapidly transforming theatrical spaces. We travel from The Marriage of Figaro to Don Giovanni, following vanishing points and staircases that whisk us off to dusty corners of our imaginations.