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'Made Up' at Birmingham Rep

Home > Birmingham > Theatre | Theatre Reviews
by dpm (subscribe)
dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
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Secrets are spilled over a foundation brush
Premiered at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, this two-hander takes us into the intimacy of the make-up room for a film. And as make-up artist Sue applies the cosmetics to actress Kate, the two women chat – about the film, their families, their hopes and their disappointments.

Some of the conversation is idle tittle tattle and movie gossip but much takes us deeper into their lives. The connection built with a make-up brush creates a kind of confessional where it's alright to admit to your weaknesses. Take off the make-up and you see the characters' true complexions.

made up, stan's cafe, birmingham rep
Emily Holyoake and Alexis Tuttle in Made Up


Created by Birmingham-based theatre company Stan's Café and directed by James Yarker, Made Up is a stylish production of just over an hour. Film projection shows us close-ups of the changes taking place to Kate's appearance as make-up is applied or removed so the action takes place both on stage and on screen.

Alexis Tuttle as Sue not only needs the acting ability but she's also had to train in make-up for her character to be believable. Taking Kate from costume drama to outer space by changing her eyeshadow is no mean feat for anyone.

made up, birmingham rep, stan's cafe
Emily Holyoake as Kate in Made Up


Emily Holyoake shows us a young actress who is still finding her feet in Kate. Keen to forge her own path in the entertainment industry she nevertheless comes to depend on these heart-to-hearts with Sue as a rare opportunity to be the real woman behind the actress.

Made Up is an inventive piece of drama. Much like the make-up it represents, it is full of layers – some of which cover up and some of which reveal.

At The Rep until May 21, see www.birmingham-rep.co.uk for details.
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Why? New drama in Birmingham
When: until May 21
Phone: 0121 236 4455
Where: Birmingham Rep
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