11th Apr, 2021

Head to Stan's Cafe on YouTube for some quality theatre

Bromsgrove Editorial 13th Aug, 2020

STAN’S Café as a live theatre company can always be relied upon to deliver originality and –  most often – brilliant originality.

Formed in the 1990s, this prolific Birmingham-based theatre company has built a reputation for artistic innovation that stretches beyond local and UK borders.

Its’ projects have included work across a broad spectrum of spaces and media and it’s subjects consistently articulate domestic and global concerns.

Stan’s Café (pronounced caff) always utilises the space it is working in to the maximum and in a myriad of unique ways. I have seen them merging film and live action, multi-leveling and once even performing an a entire mimed production on two conveyor belts.

It came as no surprise then that Stan’s Café first online lockdown venture simply oozed originality.  What a pleasant change it was from the home-filmed monologues churned out on mainstream TV by the good and the great – and the endless repeats. Quite frankly sometimes the old test card would be more interesting.

Take a black box set and transfer that to a TV screen – we now have a unique merging of media – add to that a profusion of faces from one to five and a collection of stories sometimes bombarding, sometimes quietly filling the space. Ta’dar! Stan’s Cafe offers up something artistically unique to make you go ‘wow’ in a jaded world of multimedia mega budgets.

The subject matter of ‘For Quality Purposes’ is call centre workers and this has of course been covered in many ways on screen from documentary to drama by way of comedy. The communal creativity of Artistic Director James Yorker and the participating company members Amy Ann Haigh, Bernadette Russell, Carys Jones, Lexia Tomlinson and Luanda Yasmin deserve great credit for breaking new ground.

I shall be watching again as there is so much of this 25-minute production that deserves a second viewing.

At the moment my most memorable part is the calming floating coffee mug sequence but this may change on the next viewing.

Of course I’d rather be watching Stan’s Café in a theatre and please, Gods of all things theatrical, make that a reality soon – but this a nice outing to enjoy a talented company making the ordinary ‘extraordinary’.

‘For Quality Purposes’ is now available as a free-to-view show via the Stan’s Café Theatre YouTube channel.

Alternatively, click the video at the top of this page.

Review by Euan Rose.

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