Appetite is back in Hanley with its Roundabout pop-up theatre

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Almost overnight, a large bubble has invaded Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent.

No, this isn’t the bubblepocolypse, this is Appetite once again.

A few months ago, Appetite gave us The Big Feast – a three-day celebration of all forms of art which took place in Hanley, and branched out into local parks.

After receiving such a positive exposure at this event, Appetite has not disappointed with the latest one.

Roundabout is a pop up theatre in a massive dome-shaped bubble tent that sat by the bus station in Hanley for a four-day showing of several different acts.

Some were for families and children, such as Our Teacher’s a Troll, and Every Brilliant Thing.

There were two others, one called Lungs, about a couple who are deciding their future and whether or not it includes a child.

The Human Ear was my show – a gripping story about a girl whose brother turns up at her door 10 years after he went missing.

The theatre was cold, as you would expect, but inviting.

With a surprisingly good turn out for an afternoon show, we still had the best seats in the house – along with everyone else.

Onto the stage came two actors, the only two we would see through the night who would play about five characters.

Kudos to Abdul Salis, who played most of these parts without breaking a sweat.

Now this was no ordinary show.

There were no stage settings, no costume changes or scenery.

There was only a girl, Lucy (Sian Reese-Williams), and her brother, Jason. Only Jason is dead. Or is he?

The Human Ear told us a tale of a man who turned up at Lucy’s door claiming to be her brother, who she finds out is actually dead only hours after meeting with him.

Things are off about this man, and while she is utterly convinced that this is her brother, her policeman boyfriend intends to prove her wrong.

How? By getting her the ear they used to identify Jason’s body. Thrilling, right?

Using clever switching between lighting and sound, the actors were able to chop and change between different characters without missing a beat.

They could be yelling at each other at one point, as Jason and Lucy, to suddenly having a tender moment between boyfriend and girlfriend, then back again in seconds. It was fantastic to watch.

Plot twist after plot twist followed in the two-hour long show.

One moment you think Jason might be a ghost, the next you find out who he really is and his true purpose for being there.

You find out why Jason committed suicide in the woods, and what exactly happened to their mum and dad.

A beautiful story told by fantastic actors, one that would look fantastic on a larger stage with more of an audience to really appreciate their skill.

The Human Ear, by Alexandra Wood, is a must see for whichever lucky city is graced by the bubble tent next.

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