Below are some reviews from two of Glenn's previous shows, both taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then toured beyond.
'Denied' - Humble Theatre Company.
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Scotsfestival (The Flipside Review)
'Denied' by the Humble Theatre Company is a culturally challenging, thought provoking exploration of the multitude of misconceptions, misunderstandings, falsehoods and factual cultural differences which separate communities at an ethnic and racial level as caused by a basic lack of communication and dialog.
Outstanding 5 star performances across the cast ensured the intimate drama of the sequence of events outlined in the production fairly crackled with an emotional tension which had the audience seized in the action moment by moment.
Denied is a courageous attempt to use the medium of theatre to create dialog, promote debate and foster communication between Western and Islamic cultures.
Edinburgh Evening News
Across the city, a hooded man approaches a woman from behind, hits her in the face and covers her in petrol. She screams as she is set on fire.
Playwright and director Jodi De Souza includes such sequences of "honour killings" in her attempt to dramatise the struggle between "extremist" and "mainstream" Islam in her play Denied. She believes each audience member should decide for themselves what the future of East-West relations will bring
“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all these terrorists are Muslims." In this controversial piece Jodi De Souza explores Islam, radicalism and the treatment of Muslim women at the hands of their menfolk.
The play starts promisingly, comparing UK-born daddy's girl Franchesca (Jennifer Bryden) to abused Muslim wife Sana (De Souza) from Boluchistan. While Franchesca yells at her father, Sana pursues a touching secret relationship with love interest Mohammad. When both women fall pregnant, a series of events is set in place that brings their lives and worlds together, as De Souza boldly demands to see evidence of the mainstream moderate Islamism so often referred to in the media.
"Don't we get time to clap?" wonders a man on his way out. No, this play prefers for you to go away and think instead.
…An ambitious human drama that makes for compelling viewing, thanks to a focused and generous ensemble and a zippy array of dramatic devices….
…The issues explored in De Souza’s play are important, especially the extent of the horror of honour killings – 5000 last year, 12 of them in the UK. Her script makes a good case both for why people become anti-Muslim and why they become anti-West and ultimately turn to suicide bombing….
East meets West in this play that explores a range of issues, pertinent in today's political climate: Islam, terrorism and the role of women are all addressed against a pre and post 9/11 backdrop in both Baluchistan and London.
The acting is of a high calibre - particularly that of the young and old Franchesca (Jennifer Bryden and Emma Vale respectively), while the scenes of domestic violence are heart-wrenching. There are also several successful scenes where the two worlds collide, portraying parallel situations in their different communities….
Denied (2007) - an article by Joe Horton.
"Some, like Glennon Anderson and Damola Onadeko, came to the project with little or no understanding of Muslim culture, choosing to craft their characters from videos, interviews, documentaries. “I have to say I knew absolutely nothing about Islam, apart from the fairly negative press it gets. When I read the play I thought it was just so fascinating and showed so many sides to Islam, and so I had to be in it,”Anderson says. One of her characters, a reporter, stands outside the theater before the show begins, asking probing questions to the audience as to their preconceptions and expectations for the show they are about to witness. Such feedback, the cast says, remains critical to the ultimate goal of the show to provoke public discourse on an emotionally charged and profoundly divisive topic."
Fest - “**** A clever premise that refreshes improve… A sure-fire hit
Varsity – A consistently funny piece ... a joyful hour of theatrical acrobatics
Three Weeks - Fine tea-time fun
The Scotsman - Utterly ridiculous and rather sweet
BBCi - There's a real buzz surrounding [this] impro oddity…
James Teran, on Fest Online - ***** I thought it couldn't be improvised
AN EXTREMELY MEMORABLE EMERGENCY ***
Cambridge graduates The Uncertainty Division’s wheeze is to explain that although they can’t do the show they’ve planned, they can whip something up off the top of their heads. This night, the resulting tale sees two badgers escape from the biscuit tin that has been their home for seven years into a world of infidelity, true love, chocolate factories and comedic Welsh accents, before ending their quest as puppets in front of a waterfall at the world’s western edge. Infectious enthusiasm and clever enough to spin stories into a satisfying narrative, utterly ridiculous and rather sweet. - James Smart
CERTAIN LAUGHS - article for Varsity - by Alex Dawson
According to the Uncertainty Division, a Cambridge-based improvisation group, the end of the world is nigh.
It all begins with the apocalypse for An Extremely Memorable Emergency, which previewed on Tuesday night as the ADC lateshow. It was billed as an extended ad-lib about five actors trapped in a theatre with an audience, Judgement Day being just hours away.
Except, for one night only, no End of Days was to be had, just an altercation with Thor, the Norse God of Thunder... If you're feeling lost, believe me, it's much less confusing when you actually see it. Such is their charm, this group carry you through as many twisted loops of logic as you could dream of without leaving anyu kind of unpleasant feeling in your stomach.
The piece started with a few suggestions from the audience: vodka, a haddock, History of Art and a sieve. Along the way, the group dumped the sieve as the piece turned into an espionage thriller cum domestic tragedy, with Muffins of Mass Destruction somehow thrown in.
While it was clear to see James Aylett, James Lark and their team were very experienced artists, an extremely successful Edinburgh run this summer must have contributed to their dexterity together on stage, making it a consistently funny piece. After all, if an improvised show is ever going to fall flat on its face, it is going to be because ideas and comic wit are lacking. Yet ideas, plots, sub-plots, puppetry and songs merged into one with a refreshing disdain of pre-tension [*]. The cast were not afraid to discard anything that didn't work - a courageous decision when you've only got three boxes, three moveable screens and a blanket for inspiration.
In fact, so fearless was their approach that they were not even knocked off of their stride when a drunken Trinity fresher invaded the stage. He stumbled around a bit, headed for the curtain on the perfomers' right and promptly collapsed into the wings. An incredulous look, a moment's silence and the Uncertainty Division were off again, back immediately into their own, deeply odd, world. Indeed, the main criticism that will be levelled at the group is that they are far too removed from the boring consistencies of the real world especially at a time when politics is suddenly popular again in theatre.
But frankly, that's the point. It's a joyous hour or so of funny and silly theatrical acrobats that lets you forget about the unjust world. Instead, it gives you a chance to really enjoy stupid jokes about stupid things and not feel guilty. If the end really is nigh, the Uncertainty Division will make it an extremely memorable apocalypse.
The Football, The Forest and The Circus
As this show is different every night as with all improv, you can't be sure what you are going to get. I went on 17th August when they managed to create a play combining computer programming, the circus, an excaped mental patient and an audience of squirrels into a (fairly) seamless and rounded story, mainly funny but sometimes tragic too. Give it a try. You are unlikely to be disappointed.
Audience Member - Pam