Welcome to the new KAOS Theatre Website. Here you can find out a little about our history as a company. As time goes on we will be adding and updating these sections. And here in this bit is the KAOS blog. Here things will always be changing!
The KAOS MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM is a raunchy, physical fuelled, surreal, sexy Shakespearean spectacle. A dazzling dream. A dreamers dream. A beddable dream. A playful dream. A saucy dream. A devilish dream. A stunning Dream. A radical Dream. A fantastic dream. The KAOS Dream. Don't be an ass and miss out!
43 Chandos Place
Kaos is Registered in England Company No. 3180626
VAT REG NUMBER 647843696
Kung Fu Flid
11 04 09 - 22:41. Category: default
Ah, it's been a while, been a while. Well this is what I've been up to - a little feature film starring Mat Fraser and Frank Harper. Written and directed by myself. Kung Fu Flid. Streaming now at www.filmlounge.com. All the best. Xav
It's very nice to see that the Dream message board is still a lively place and that our work has touched a contravercial vein. Keep it coming!
I'm working on a digital cut of the show which will be available very soon and I'm in discussions with an online distributer to make it avaliable as serialised download and it will also be available for purchase on DVD.
Had an amazing time in Manchester. The last leg of the tour was
fabulous, an extremely moving last night. Somehow don"t think it's the
last of KAOS.
Arts Council of England, this is what you are cutting. I need to
point something out dear KAOS people - the Arts Council have been and
seen two shows and written two reports on our work in the entire six
years we have been funded by them. We had to evoke the freedom of
information act in order to get this information. Why do artist have
to use the freedom of information act to find out what is being written
about them - what is so secret? Is this democratic? The Arts Council
have stated that they have the right to choose and make 'difficult
decisions' - I say when these decisions are being made based on deceit,
false information, no real information and a complete lack of
transparency then you have no right to decide anything.
Here is an incredible review of our last production from the BBC.
Xavier Leret - Artistic Director
KAOS Dream at the Contact Theatre
Carol Hodge (show: 28/02/08)
easy to roll eyes to news of yet another Shakespeare adaptation. The
mere mention of a 'reworking' inspires fear in those of us who are
looking for something fresh and exciting. How brilliant then that KAOS
have proved me inexorably wrong.
often, Shakespeare is approached with excessive reverence, with
directors tiptoeing around the sacred script, timidly suggesting that
perhaps Oberon wears a leather jacket to ‘update’ the script.
so for KAOS director Xavier Leret, who has torn chunks out of A
Midsummer Night's Dream, sprayed it with smut, farce and glitter and
created a fresh masterpiece.
The language is still luscious with
powerful sincerity where appropriate, but many lines are suddenly
revealed as double entendres: after seeing this production, the
relevance of the ‘wood’ and ‘magic herb’ has been indelibly updated in
Our setting is a dingy working class pub-cum-lapdancing
joint, resplendent with cheap carpet, tattered leatherette booth, bar,
optics and a mirrored pole dancing booth; the magical forest has become
a faded 70s frieze behind the bar, the faerie ballads saucy cabaret
numbers, the plucked lyre a full on live jazz band. Most pertinently,
the main themes of the original play are brought to the fore, revealing
the timeless nature of the story.
The characterisation is also
highly inventive, and, on the whole, effective. Mat Fraser’s Puck is a
snivelling scally, Titania a washed up drag queen, the Mechanicals
become airheaded erotic dancers and Helena is a frumpy Jim Cartwright
Energy and extreme physicality oozes out all over KAOS
Dream. From Hermia’s gravity-defying poledancing, through Lysander and
Demitrus’ almost-naked wrestling, to the constant leaps over and onto
the 5ft high bartop, the action pulses with a manic fervour.
slapstick comedy routines are expertly timed, and the smut so excessive
that it bursts through the realms of taste and sanity into weird and
Bottom’s transformation into a human ass,
complete with eye-poppingly huge phallus, provides a prop for endless
humour, and even when I tried to contain my sniggering at the arguably
juvenile, steroid-fuelled Carry On comedy, I could not fail to warm to
the inventiveness of the interpretation.
The vision is strong,
courageous and highly modern and at least this evening, is thunderously
successful with the audience. Xavier Leret has stretched a bold and
bizarre idea to breaking point, and has been rewarded well for his
efforts. In the world of Shakespearian adaptations, my conclusion is
simple: He who dares, wins.
KAOS has always striven to produce work that is of the highest artistic quality, that challenges and pushes the boundaries.
KAOS has over the past 14 years grown from a small experimental
theatre company, driven by ensemble ethics and performance research,
into one of the UK's foremost mid and small scale touring companies.
Concerns have been raised about the quality of our work by ACE
officers but these concerns don't seem to reflect the reality of the
venues we tour to (many of whom have sent us extraordinary letters of
support) and the national audiences that we reach.
At our annual review in July 2007 we were shocked when it seemed
that our officers were basing their judgment on wrong information.
We have found dealing with this regime at the The Arts Council a
demorilising experience. The success we achieve on the road is not
registered in Central Office.
I'm a founding member of KAOS. Anybody who has started a company
will understand the sheer hard work that is involved to first of all
make the production and then to tour it. In the early years we did this
with absolutely no subsidy. We knew that to gain subsidy we had to earn
it by making extraordinary work. We did this then. We continue to do
We have been treated without respect.
We feel we have been lied to.
To quote one our letters of support "The Company's reputation for
high quality ensemble physical theatre is second to none and Kaos'
desire to push boundaries and challenge audience expectations in
pursuit of excellence is what I understood to be the very essence of
what the Arts Council is encouraging the whole sector to do".
Theatre is about people, it is about communication of ideas,
feelings and understanding. Qualities frankly missing in this thing we
call the Arts Council.
As the Artistic Director of a company that is facing an entire cut
of its grant it is difficult for me to contain my outrage towards the
KAOS has over the past 14 years grown from a small experimental
theatre company, into one of the UK's foremost mid and small scale
Our work has continually surprised, shocked, delighted and provoked
fierce debate in venues and schools throughout the country.
KAOS is a company that has given everything it can to achieve its
reputation for Artistic excellence. I pride myself on my reputation for
making cutting edge physical adaptations of classic plays as well as
the new material I pen. I work slavishly to ensure that my work
continues to reflect the reputation that my collaborators and I have
built up over years of work. Years of work it seems that are to be
ended in a matter of weeks.
I appeal to the Arts Council to halt this clandestine process - we
deserve better than this. Our audiences deserve better than this.
We are at a loss to understand what is the rationale behind the Arts Council's decision.
It's Tuesday of the second week. We had a fabulous week last week, we were working at a phenonemal pace creating some really dynamic work. And then yesterday happened. It always happens, you have a great first week of work and then hit a wall when you get back from the weekend.
We were working on Oberon, Titania and Puck. It was strange. I know the play well, I've edited it, ripped it apart and then trying to come up with material yesterday it seemed to me that I had not read the play at all. Or was it that I suddenly realised that of all the characters in the piece it is these three that I have failed to properly assess, beyond the cliche of what the fairy characters should be? We tried all sorts of wierd games, I got Oberon and Titania to fight sideways, upside down and developed a great clown entrance or Puck (which actually might work better at the end for the mechanicals - so not wasted work) but all this running around, gynastical twisting was upstaging the lack of character development. It was like I was inventing tricks and games to smokescreen the fact that I hadn't read the play properly, which I have - but I was afraid of doing it yesterday. I wanted this characters to fly but stillness better works with their poetry - if you move them too much you loose the beauty and power of their language... and also the other characters of the play are already being portrayed like physical super heroes. So perhaps that might be the twist of the show... Working on a show can be so confusing.
Told Lieutske, the costume designer, that we might need to change some things as a result and I could feel her tense. Ahh the joys of working to a deadline!