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FreeRange get Closer

Published: 6 Apr 2012 11:300 comments

A YOUTH theatre company which prides itself on professionalism is staging a play about sexual politics and toxic relationships.

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"We are basically a youth theatre, although we hesitate to call ourselves that because we are bit more professional than that," said Matt Hopkinson, deputy managing director of FreeRange Productions", which staged its first play, Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit in 2010.

"The difference is that we are all young people. I am the deputy managing director and I'm 19, the deputy artistic director is 18, and the managing director Chris Wheeler is 19.

"Most of us want to take this to be our professional career, so we are the next generation of theatre practitioners, and we have got quite fresh ideas. We offer a kind of different way to break into the industry rather than the drama school route."

Closer, a tale of sex and betrayal, was written by Patrick Marber and follows the interlinking - and often twisted - relationships of two London couples.

The book was made into an award-winning film starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen in 2004, but Matt said that the company had tried to distance themselves from it with their production.

"We are conscious not to copy the film, it's useful as a resource but we are trying to take an original route," he said. "I think a lot of us can relate to a lot of parts of it. It's got a lot of dark humour, but it's very deeply felt and quite sad really. At our age a lot of people are just beginning to go through those kind of problems.

"We are driven by a love of theatre and a desire to better ourselves, to analyse the human condition. Closer is very moving, fairly funny, quite original, and

very powerful."

FreeRange's deputy artistic director, Sarah Dear, who is also directing the play, added: "Closer is exactly the sort of play that FreeRange produce. It's powerful, brutal, and so important for people to see. It's genuinely life-changing theatre."

Closer will be at South Hill Park, Bracknell, from Thursday, April 12, to Saturday, April 14. Tickets, £12 with £10 concessions, from www.southhillpark.org.uk or call 01344 484 123.

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