top of page - The Dark Tower

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"This is probably the biggest musical theatre event of the year. And I choose my words carefully ... a magnificent new work that is unlike anything most of us have ever seen ... All this barely suggests the astonishing sensual assault of the lush music, and the elegant, precise and so warmly human movements used to give it shape and direction. The amount of text to be sung means this isn’t a ballet. And the vigour and beauty and energy of the movement means this isn’t an opera. And the story itself is so poetically stylised – in locution and structure and intent – so that means this isn’t really a drama, either. If anything, it is perhaps a kind of danced oratorio. It is the elaborated expression of a serious, almost lofty, topic, but this is modulated by the frank youthfulness of the people presenting it. The vulnerability of their years, and the intensity of their involvement with every last detail of the work, the overpowering force of their commitment to the story they are telling, and to the extraordinary means they are using to tell it, are as electrifying as they are fascinating. You conclude that if you can say anything about what this is, you can say: this is new."

Musical Theatre Review - The Dark Tower

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"The Dark Tower poses profound questions about how generation after generation of soldiers is sent to war in the name of ideology or patriotism, locked in an endless cycle of duty and death.

Youth Music Theatre’s company of some 40 talented individuals aged 11-21 from across the UK bring the show to life with maturity and precision, the effectiveness of their movement leaving a particularly striking impression. As a uniformly strong cast, it is foremostly as an ensemble that they are presented to the audience, with every performer being identically attired ..

Rachel Birch-Lawson’s direction is impeccably devised so as to manage the complex movements of the cast – not to mention the audience – around the 360-degree stages."

Musical Theatre Review - Sweat Factory

 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"... Rachel Birch-Lawson’s choreography is ideally matched to the depth of the subject matter

... Sweat Factory breaks much new ground for YMT, placing contemporary dance against the fabric of a modernist score with minimal spoken dialogue. Within this innovative medium, the piece boldly explores serious, real-world issues whose interpretation by such a young cast of performers demonstrates a maturity beyond their years. The artistic direction activated by this work is one that YMT are keen to pursue further in the future, and this production certainly represents an excellent inaugural venture."

Die Welt - Frugal Feasts

“The young choreographer Rachel Birch-Lawson from London, acclaimed guest by DanceKiosk two years before, shows with her Duet “Frugal Feasts” that she has consequently developed and improved her radical physical style. The graceful dancer and her tall partner Khyle Eccles meld in a kind of creature which devours everything. It is a symbiotically fight-dance, brutal, tenderly, eager. In the diversity of its emotions it develops special forms and dynamics. Under elaborated light the dancers understand to catch audiences attention and drive it again and again to new details of their extremely complex and virtuoso dance act ...” 

Belfast Telegraph - Macbeth 

"A triumph"

British Theatre Guide - Macbeth

★ ★ ★ ★

 "The choreography by Rachel Birch-Lawson is breathtaking" 

Hamburger Abendblatt  - Frugal Feasts: Two dancers from England take one’s breath away

"The issue of death and love provides contrast with the wholehearted symbiotic duo “Frugal Feasts” by Rachel Birch-Lawson and Khyle Eccles. Clamped as in combat or sexual intercourse, they roll over the floor, slide into one another, print, or wear down themselves. Everyone is alternately the victim and perpetrator, until the woman lies lifeless in the arms of the man. The dancers transmission internal conflicts in the bitter struggle between two bodies – between the desire in others to open, and the desire for a last bit of freedom. This nightmarish brutal, tender or tender-brutal duel takes your breath away. The two artists from England, the discovery of the evening.” - Frugal Feasts

“The fascinating performance “Frugal Feasts” by Rachel Birch-Lawson and Khyle Eccles was the first evening‘s highlight. The delicate woman and the tall man show an exciting fight for power, manipulation, dependency, oppression and love. The way the man fastens onto the woman, the way she pins his hand down to the floor and take away each possibility to move, the way he places himself between her breast and legs, the way they bowl on the stage, half embracing, half agonizing, the way she brings him to his knees with her kiss, and finally the way he carries her over the stage apathetically hanging: through the abrupt changes on stage these scenes are as exciting as a thriller. But there is even more: this psychological relationship trial is also technically perfect.”

Broadway Baby - Macbeth

★ ★ ★ ★

'Youth Music Theatre UK have done something rather remarkable in their new production of Macbeth. They have created a show that is so original that it stands apart from all other productions of Shakespeare’s tragedy, while simultaneously being polished, engaging and dramatic. Other productions often innovate at the expense of quality, but that is not the case here – this performance is a triumph ... During the larger musical numbers, the stage explodes into life, as the large cast takes to the stage en masse to perform impressive choreographed routines. These moments are where the play is at its strongest. The performers are disciplined and professional, with ensemble members backflipping, throwing each other in the air and moving across the stage fluidly..."

Nerdgeist - Macbeth

"Magnificent is the only word that I can use to do it justice."

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