Reviews
Reviews:
Clytemnestra
Sixteen years since Tony Harrison and Trevor Nunn presented their classic reinvention of Aeschylus's Oresteia in Greece, Daniel Foley and the London based Performance Exchange company bring us further evidence of the truely timeless and boundless power of this ancient tragedy. Foley, as writer, director and performer, has created an astonishing hour of theatre which strips dramatic performance down to it's essence. The masks, movement and original music are as faithful to the central tenets of Ancient Greek theatre as was the Harrison/Nunn production. Foley's play centres on Aeschylus's story of Agememnon's return from the Trojan war to his queen Clytemnestra, for whom victory brings the bitterest grief. To ensure safe return to his forces from Troy, Agememnon has sacrificed their daughter, Iphigenia, to the gods. The potent mix of ecstatic triumphalism, angusih and unstoppable vengeance is the stuff of many a great tragedy since. Japanese performer and designer Risako Ataka is mesmerising as the wailing, inconsolable Clytemnestra. Her poignant, painfully expressive movement is as exquisite as the superb set and costumes which she has designed. Conjoined with the ingenious symbolism of her use of stage props, Ataka's performance (which is in both Japanese and English) evokes all that is seminal in the character of the Greek Queen. Foley's Agamemnon, all stoic self-assuredness and military single-mindedness, is the perfect partner to Ataka's overcome, vengeful Clytemnestra. A truely excellent blending of ancient and modern, western and eastern cultures.
Mark Brown
The Scotsman


Macbeth
Macbeth is English or Irish delivering the immortal verse in tones as classical as ever fell from a Gielgud or McKellen, muted and introverted up to Duncan's murder, lashing himself into inspired rage to bring about Banquo's: it's worth going for Daniel Foley alone. Lady Macbeth, Risako Ataka is Japanese speaking Japanese throughout, initially cajoling, hectering and childlike, then a child whose dream has crumbled. Wendy Mok is Chinese playing the 1st witch in English the others she conjurs up throwing other voices. It works aamazingly well with an admirable final tableau of 1st witch leering at death masks of the Macbeths. When shall we 3 meet again.
Owen Dudley Edwards
The Scotsman

The Elephant Man
Critics Choice, Time Out, Hong Kong
A compelling and fascinationg production. Fine ensemble acting. Daniel Foley is excellent as Dr Frederick Treves grappling with his conscience as he questions his motives for helping John Merrick, the Elephant Man.
RTHK Hong Kong 


Compelling story of lack of faith
Faith Healer, Actors Ensemble
To perform a 2 hour play that consists of 4 monologues is risky especially if the humour, where it appears is often understated. But the 3 actors in Brian Friel's Faith Healer carried it off most convincingly keeping members of the audience thinking long after the lights had gone out. It's a curious piece: the story of the "fantastic Francis Hardy" who, as a suitably tatty banner announces is a faith healer performing at small church halls for one night only. The names of the small towns and villages they passed became in Daniel Foley's lilting Irish tones, a poetic epitaph to a wandering life. Foley swerved the character of Frank persuasively from a charasmatic conman to a pitiful failure, to a bewildered man who once had an ability to heal that he could neither understand nor control.
Victoria Finlay
South China Morning Post


Shakespeare For Dummies
British Club Bahrain
The British Club hosted Shakespeare For Dummies, a one man show by Daniel Foley of Performance Exchange. There was a substantial dose of audience participation (including one of my dinner companions in the role of Hamlet's father's ghost, who closely resembled an animated Easter Island statue covered with dust sheet) and hilarious impressions of Burbage, Irving and Brando playing Hamlet. The maestro talked about how the Japanese perform Shakespeare, the origins of the Scottish play hoodoo, how Elizabethans actually spoke and performing the Scottish play in Japanese, Chinese and English (all in 1 performance). We learned the basics of stage fighting using fists and broadswords plus a simulated kick to the groin for a rather nervous member of the audience. Daniel Foley showed us that there are fine actors who do not spend their careers at The National Theatre or in the West End or earning a mint in CSI, Spooks or The Wire. As far as I'm concerned it's the likes of Foley who deserve the gongs by taking theatre beyond the realms of the obvious. The man is a walking Shakespeare Encylopedia.
Steve Royston
Online 59 Bahrain


Billy Bishop Goes To War
One of the finest nights in the theatre I've ever had!
Piers Gray
South China Morning Post


Oh What A Lovely War
Billy Bishop Goes To War
Sharply etched against the harsh spotlights, wearing a silk scarf and pilot's goggles, Daniel Foley ran through an astonishing range of accents and parts as he narrated the story of one man's war at Club 1997 on Friday night. Armed only with a toy aeroplane and a rocking chair, Foley's Billy Bishop Goes To War, a damning protest against the futility and horrors of warfare was an outstanding performance and one of the highlights of the festival so far. Gently ironic and touchingly played, it combined farce with balck humour and kept the audience on the edge of their seats all the way through. It was emotional stuff as Foley took the audience through the various stages of Bishop's mercurial career that saw him enter the army as a disgraced cavalry officer and leave as the most highly decorated pilot in history. It was a splendid, innovative and daring performance and a tribute to the energy and versatility of Daniel Foley. Miss it at your peril.
Nigel Rosser
Hong Kong Standard


Billy Bishop Goes To War
British Actor Daniel Foley as the pilot and a dozen plus ancilliary characters (senior officers and more) expertly carries the lion's share of the load. Foley barrels into Bishop's autobiographical narrative, capturing perfectly an 18 year olds youthful bravado. Steve McArthur provides top-drawer piano and vocal accompaniment.
Michael Fox
San Francisco Independent



Billy Bishop Goes To War
London actor Foley brings his elastic face, physicality, timing and a kit bag crammed with dialects and accents to the exhausting role of Billy plus 18 (everything from a chanteuse to an English King) with complete ease. Steve McArthur performs with fingers and keyboard, backing up the complicated tale. He is a master of the complicated musical range.
Kathe Waterbury
Union Democrat



Billy Bishop Goes To War
Foleys engaging stage presence and his skill at characterzing 19 or 20 other roles of people with whom Billy is involved, added to this a pleasant singing voice, boyish handsomeness and a knack for mime and you create a figure with whom the audience feels great empathy. His fellow actor Steve McArthur skillfully plays the accompaniments, sings and supplies connective narration.
Sherman Spencer
Stockton Record


Eastern twist to dark side of European pair
Waiting For Beckett and The Lesson With Bald Ionesco
Performance Exchange, frequent visitors to the Hong Kong City Festival offered a potpourri of scenes from the great Irish and Romanian playwrights, Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco in "Waiting For Beckett and The Lesson With Bald Ionesco." Director-actor Risako Ataka used the fact that both writers lived in Paris to imbue the performance with a gallic whiff as strong as the smoke from a Gauloise cigarette. This was mainly conveyed through period French songs, including the Edith Piaf classic, Je Ne Regrette Rien. The set was cleverly dominated by a tower of chairs representing the bare suicide tree in "Beckett's Waiting For Godot" and Ionesco's "Chairs." An opaque plastic backdrop acted as a corridor of entrance giving the characters a filmy, unreal presence and served to highlight the feelings of a surreal dream. Moody lighting by David Clarke was also crucial to the feel of a subteranean dream world. Actor Daniel Foley's Britishness and Risako's Japaneseness were put to good use in Ionesco's "The Lesson." This worked well with Risako as a credible, over-bright Japanese schoolgirl. Foley made a rapid but well-paced transition from humble private language tutor to enraged pedagogic dictator who eventually murders his student. The scene from "Godot" captured the clowning element of the two main characters. It was odd to see Vladimir and Estragon played by a man and a woman--an interesting estrangement. This was a stylish production, with it's Kabuki slowness, French songs and brooding shadows.
Dino Mahoney
South China Morning Post


Mozart and Salieri
Performance Exchange, Scottish Poetry Library
This is a translation of one of Alexander Pushkin's micro-dramas and a study of the envy of laborious talent for the careless superiority of genius. Daniel Foley gives a brooding agony to the character of Salieri. Mozart played by David Clarke, provokes him unconsciously by the flippant ease with which he writes incomparable music. The play suggests that Salieri poisons Mozart and only retreats at the last moment from his own suicide. This is likely to linger in the mind long after many much longer pieces are forgotten.
Paul H Scott
The Scotsman


Revealing the expression behind Pinter's dialogue
The Lover from 1963, is one of Pinter's earlier plays. It opens uncharacteristically, as a kind of urbane comedy of manners, as Sarah and Richard, an apparently unorthodox but profoundly English couple, calmly discuss their mutual infidelities and arrange for Richard to visit the national Gallery while Sarah entertains her lover at home. However being a Pinter, things are not allowed to to remain at this purely witty level for long. Soon the husband and wife are revealing a much deeper schism. Foley's performance was superb, as the essentially understated and ironic Richard, his vocal and facial control revealing depths of emotion and passion that his character's language could not begin to express.
Ian Bentley
South China Morning Post


Madam Butterfly
Performance Exchange's AngloJapanese production is a wonderfully gentle and intimate little tragedy. Drawing on the original prose source of Puccini's Opera, it takes the form of a confessional by opportunistic American naval officer Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, punctuated by flashbacks to his adventures in the East: his seduction of the beguiling geisha, Cho-Cho-san, their marriage and his final bigamous rejection of her. Daniel Foley's Pinkerton is a complex figure--not so much a villain, as an emotional cripple, his self-centeredness a compulsion rather than a conscious decision, as much a part of his being American as Butterfly's humility is part of her being Japanese. Foley writes and directs with a similar subtlety and assurance, and the real charm of this play lies in the quietness of it's passion. This is reflected flawlessly in Risako Ataka's performance as Butterfly, and the design, with it's hanging kimonos and (slightly fuzzy) shadow dancing. Seen at this time of year, one can't help seeing this story of devastation, wrought by a self--centred American Government on an innocent citizen of Nagasaki, as being somehow allegorical. However you look at it, Performance Exchange makes what looks like little go a long way.
Robert Lloyd Parry
The Stage


Butterfly Without The Music
Madam Butterfly
The play was magnificent and deeply moving. Most un-Brechtian, yet there were Brechtian elements to remind us that we were in a theatre: the use of silhouette, for example, or the kimonos and haoris that were suspended above the stage, as signs that the action takes place in Japan. As American naval lieutenant Pinkerton, Daniel Foley was in top form. Here was a superb performance by an actor whose skill was such as to allow us glimpses of the contradictions within an apparently impregnable, unfeeling character. Risako Ataka, who played ChoCho-san, can draw our laughter in one scene and wring our hearts in another, seemingly without effort.
Michael Waugh
South China Morning Post



Another Despairing Demon
The Wood Demon
The Wood Demon is Chekov's prototype for Uncle Vanya, not as good a play but interesting nevertheless in that it proves that 2nd thoughts are sometimes best. The company is using two rooms-the larger for the outdoor scenes, the smaller for the more intense and dramatic interiors. And it works extremely well; theatre as intimate as if you were in one's home. There is a strong study of the despairing Voynitsky from Daniel Foley.
Peter Hepple
The Stage


Foley's Fascinating Far
An Evening With Edwin Booth
Edwin Booth, a 19th century tragedian was the first American to gain an international reputation. His fine stage presence was complimented by a beautiful, perfectly contolled voice. These assets distinguish Booth from the common barnstormers of his day with their ranting speech and exaggerated gestures. An Evening With Edwin Booth is a gently humorous glimpse of a man in whose life there was quite a lot of unhappiness. The play is written and performed by Daniel Foley, who you may remember, was lauded in last years festival for his portrayal of Billy Bishop in Billy Bishop Goes to War. Booth (pronounced the American way, with a soft "th") bespectacled, bearded and wearing a frock-coat, tells us his story in a quiet and often self-mocking way. He recalls his childhood attitude to his father: he regarded him as someone who wa always pretending to be somebody else who spoke a funny language. The father was Junius Brutus Booth senior, an English-born American actor, noted for his resonant voice and broad gestures, though not for his finese in characterisation. The young Edwin's stage debut at the age of 16, was in his father's production of Richard III. Papa played Richard, the son played a coffin bearer named Tressel. Although there is no such character listed in the dramatis personae of the play, some said Booth was the definitive Tressel! Two years later, when asked by his father to take over the role of Richard III, Edwin was most concerned about who would replace him as Tressel! In San Francisco, he played Hamlet for the first time. Although he received a rave review in the San Francisco Chronicle, he was perfectly aware that his performance was a carbon copy of his father's. A year later while touring in Australia, he started to smoke cigars and saw his first kangaroo-while he was drunk. What an experience that must have been. In 1881, Henry Irving invited Booth to the Lyceum in London, where they alternated the roles of Othello and Iago. Despite his success Edwin Booth was an unhappy man. His first wife died in 1863; his second wife died in the year he went to London. His brother, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Edwin Booth's advice to anyone who wanted to become an actor was that they should become a bank robber instead. On the question of the plays, Booth takes the side of Mark Twain who said: "The plays were written by William Shakespeare-or a man calling himself William Shakespeare." One of the most important qualities that an actor needs is the truthfulness with which he portrays a character, and Daniel Foley has an abundance of it, which is just as well, since there are 27 roles for him in this fascinating show. Please come again, Mr. Foley
Michael Waugh
South China Morning Post


Inner Voices
British Premeire
Philip Keir's peeling walled production also contains a couple of finely matched performances from Wayne Jackman, whose Ivan moves from naked victim to reckless monster and from Daniel Foley, whose Mirovich gets symbolically bigger with each scene until he virtually implodes and who conveys the testy impotence of never knowing what is going on inside another person's head.
Michael Billington
The Guardian


Michael Frayn's 'Benefactors'
Theaterworks
Shoring it up however, are Vicki Willey as the smart (in both senses), vivid Jane and the dry ice anger of Daniel Foley as Colin, in well-detailed performances of great force and moment.
Judith Green
San Jose Mercury

Pope's Ramble
A fine production, Daniel Foley is a very talented man.
Kaleidoscope
RTHK

Shakespeare's Greatest Hits
The performance is an original adaptation of famous characters from Shakespeare including Hamlet, Othello, Prospero, Macbeth and more. Foley creates the various roles with encompassing range and variety while at the same time, demonstrating marvelous skills of chameleon-like characterization, performing as the very actors who made the roles famous.
Walter Roberts
Japan Times


Daniel Foley at the British Council Kandy
Daniel Foley is a well known Shakespearean specialist who has performed in 64 countries worldwide; his one man shows have received critical acclaim and he is the founding member of his current theatre company "Performance Exchange." In his Kandy performance Daniel brought alive all areas of Shakespearean Drama, from the tragic and macabre to the comic and historic with scenes from "Romeo and Juliet", "Macbeth", "Hamlet", "The Tempest", amongst others, with significant aplomb and the willing participation of members of the audience, who took on cameo roles as he explored the life and breadth of the bard's great work. Other highlights included impersonations of Marlon Brando and John Wayne taking on Shakespearean roles and an insight into some of the techniques used in hand and sword fighting on the stage. Daniel also shared his knowledge of Elizabethan theatre with the audience and tested their knowledge through an interactive quiz which included a "name that play" test and questions on the different characters and scenes of Shakespeare. All the world's his stage and briefly, on November 14th, at a fun-filled interractive performance, he shared that stage with an appreciative audience at the British Council in Kandy.
The Sunday Times
Colombo Sri Lanka

An Evening Of Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream, MacBeth, Othello, Hamlet and many more Shakespearean classical wonders are performed by the fascinating Daniel Foley. This one man show is an unusual, entertaining and amusing evening.
Arab Daily
Amman Jordan


Endgame and Krapp's Last Tape
Sponsored by The British Council, Korea
Staged by Performance Exchange at The Munye Theatre Seoul
In these two Beckett plays the images bubbled up from the artfully paced, punctuated and projected speech of the two fine actors Nigel Miles-Thomas and Daniel Foley. Tom White of The British Council arranged the visit by Performance Exchange to Seoul.
The Korea Herald


The Best Of Shakespeare
AUA, Bangkok
Shakespeare can certainly be fun as demonstrated by Daniel Foley at AUA last night. The evening was both hilarious and informative. Mr. Foley has a love of his subject and the skill and talent required to stand on stage for 90 minutes and make us beg for more.
The Bangkok Post


A Moving Elegy
The Dream Of Puccini
Performance Exchange, Directed by Risako Ataka
The late Piers Gray's last play featured a thoughtful solo performance by Daniel Foley. This was a narrative account of Giacomo Puccini's last days characterized by an intense inner dialogue with his conscience as he struggled to make sense of his life. Foley played out his death scene, his rage at the negative reaction to "Madam Butterfly" and his bitterness and sorrow at the death by suicide of the young Doria. The bed, the coffin, all in cream provided a stillness and richness to the set, as Foley walked stiffly around the stage, drinking, reminiscing, always haunted by shadows of sin, opera and god. Blue light from back stage illuminated the ethereal quality of the margins between life and death. Music from the great operas was evocative, sudden and violent summoning the intensity of feeling and passion from the past as it drew the future to a close. Foley's melancholic performance was careful, concise and intense.
Eleanor Holroyd
Hong Kong City Festival Broadsheet


A Hilarious Night at Fallon House
Hotel Paradiso
What a night! What a night! What a night! If there has been a funnier effort on any stage in the region it escapes my memory. The CAR production, directed by Ellen Stewart, sails through the Gallic madness with feverish abandon, carried by an array of talent that has been honed to razor sharpness. Dan Foley, who has become something of a commuter between his London home in the last year, flaunts another sparkling facet of his wide-ranging skill as Bonneface. Anyone who remembers Foley as George in last season's "Of Mice and Men" or in the 19 characters he impersonatd in the recent "Billy Bishop Goes to War" will be hard pressed to recognize him as this preposterous and engaging Parisian Walter Mitty with visions of bedroom glory.
Leo Stutzin
The Modesto Bee


A Touch Of Spring
Everything from the from the gilded cherubs lazily adorning Colin Winslow's properly florid hotel room set to the good-natured inefficiency of the hotel staff and above all, Daniel Foley's exceptional performance as the engaging wide boy Baldassare Pantaleone, creates and sustains a marvellously authentic atmosphere of "dolce far niente." Foley, a relaxed, limber figure in light suit and Gucci style loafers is the epitome of Italian opportunism, a shrewd charmer whose role in life is making tourists happy. Robert Whelan's American, has, in contrast, a nicely earnest solidity.
Mary Brennan
Glasgow Herald


Oedipus
Daniel Foley's performance was remarkable: his vocal control, allied to his powerfully stylised gestures and fine physical control, created an intensely human Oedipus, with whom one could deeply sympathise.
Ian Bentley
South China Morning Post


The Persians
Performance Exchange
As his tombstone proclaimed, Aeschylus wanted to be known for only one fact: "He fought at Marathon." But he was also, of course, the first great tragic playwright, famous for the Oresteia. What is so wonderful about Perians, his first tragedy and the first in the Western Canon, is the defeat of the Persians by the Athenians in the famous battle of Salamis was treated entirely from the point of view of the defeated Parsians. This version is a cross-cultural one, atmospheric and highly stylized. Daniel Foley plays the part of a messenger, a defeated King Xerxes and the ghost of his father, Darius. Risako Ataka as Queen Atossa, is most moving, her movements in traditional Japanese style. Foley's Persian king is very eloquent. A treat.
The Scotsman


Tragedy
Electra
The next issue will carry the reviews of Giraudoux's pseudo-Greek pseudo-tragedy at the Lyttleton. Meanwhile may I urge anyone who wants the real thing to hurry to the Holly Lodge Theatre in Highgate where Performance Exchange are playing a stunning version of Euripide's "Electra" until May 28th. There is only room for a score of spectators since almost the whole of the stage is given over to the stark, imaginative and all-embracing set. Any imperfections in the young cast are quickly forgotten in the sweep of Daniel Foley's powerful direction. The play creates the impact of Orestes' homecoming in direct, human terms. RSC please take note: the production budget for this almost totally convincing classic revival was £36.50.
Ian Herbert
London Theatre Record


The Unseen Hand
Performance Exchange
Cowboys reuncarnated in a small U.S. town in the late 20th century try and make sense of what they see. Azusa in the words of the west coast playwright stands for everything from A to Z in the USA. The new arrivals are informed by a surprise visitor from "Nogoland" of the Unseen Hand that controls thoughts and plans revolution. Shepard's play demonstrates the meaninglessness of a modern accidental car culture and the absurdity of human responsibility when cowboys with six guns are faced with concepts such as nerve gas. A good junkyard set and compelling performances from director/head cowboy Daniel Foley and Martin Head as The Kid.
Donald McLeod
Time Out


The Two Noble Kinsmen
Anthony Rothe and Daniel Foley as the kinsmen build tension magnificently-their technique is flawless: the air around them crackles every time they are on stage.
Bonnie Lee
The Scotsman


Beckett/Brecht
Krapp's Last Tape
The Exception And The Rule
Beckett and Brecht, the twin bogey-men of post war theatre make quite a fearsome double act. Despite, or rather because of the sub-arctic temperature of this venue in winter, their associated strengths are unexpectedly revealed. Beckett's uncompromising sense of nullity and Brecht's equally uncompromising sense of purpose both mirror the same grim picture of 20th century man; though Beckett reflects the inner reality whilst Brecht looks at external analysis. Alternating as Krapp and The Merchant, Daniel Foley moves from torpid introspection to febrile activity at a pace finely judged by director Max Baker. Stan and Ollie they are not, but Sam and Bert have their moments and there is the addded bonus afterwards, of knowing you have really earned that large brandy.
Chrisitne Eccles
City Limits

Royal Lyceum Edinburgh
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Hamlet, here is a surprise. Instead of a pale intellectual he is as played by Daniel Foley, a dark and articulate angry young man.
Sheila Richardson
Glasgow Herald

Short Eyes
Man In The Moon
British Premeire
Miguel Pinero's sharp and highly impressive play is set in the dayroom of a House of Detention. The action centres on the reactions of seven inmates, a volatile mix of whites, blacks and 'spiks' to the arrival on their floor of "Short Eyes" a child molester. This is an eagle-eyed, absorbing, even funny account of how men react under the pressures of the penal system, how they are corrupted and how thought and understanding, as opposed to savage gut reactions, can still survive in this enviroinment. And memorise the cast list--each and every actor performs with a lack of selfishness that contributes to the productions taut rhythms and with a stylishness that etches the characters on the mind.
Malcolm Hay
Time Out