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The Evolution of Karen

by the other spice


Energy. That is what this film had in absolute spades, energy and confidence in telling the story of how Karen came to be the person who asks for the manager when she gets the wrong milk in her coffee.

The songs were all genuinely vibrant, pulsating and enjoyable. I liked that you really ticked the box for 'musical' by including a multiitude of melodies that all pushed along the plot of the film. Flashbacks are a teeny bit derivative but in this instance they worked well as you were evolving a character over a decent period of time.

The time-specific segments were done well, from 1997 through to a mid 2000s yoga phase, whilst bringing it back all the way to 2015 did make me feel a bit old if that is what is viewed as a nostalgic time period these days. However the most recent time segment also had my favourite song of the short, I believe called "That just who we be" about the alcoholic white wine drinkers in the book club. Genius.

In terms of where I felt the film could have improved, I felt that some of the locations could have really been dressed up a bit more to really evoke the time periods. Yes it was clear and obvious where the segments were set, but just more could have been done I felt to really differentiate things. As it was, it did result in some fairly plain backgrounds although often offset at least by colourful costumes and wigs.

Sound outside of the songs also felt a bit raw in particular spoken dialogue. Field sound is great for keeping everything in synch, but if it sounds a bit echoey then some work in post can improve things a bit.

Lastly was the camerawork which was quite static, but again offset by the genuine energy throughout the film. I just felt it could have been elevated further to bring the film alive with a few camera techniques that created a little bit of movement to match.

At this point in the review process I kind of wished I had added a 'performers' grade because the actress who played Karen was fantastic. But too late now!

Story: 3/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

This would be great on stage! Really enjoyed the songs and acting. It felt like the best end-of-year skit ever, but a bit chaotic at times on film. I think more judicious editing and more varied camerawork could have helped that, but overall pretty funny - and impressive to have written so much in one weekend - It’s jam-packed!

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