“A whirlwind of emotional fragments” Brewers Fayre
Brighton Media Centre
29th May – 1st June
A man in pyjamas enters the stage and invites us to become part of the piece, the fourth wall he explains, is behind us. It’s not so much audience participation as audience inclusion.
Brighton Media Centre is not a traditional theatre space and the audience do feel a little cramped at times however the whiteness of the stage and it’s walls and the minimalistic items make it seem quite spacious, almost timeless, placeless. This theme runs throughout as we are fed tidbits of these characters lives and relationships which at first don’t seem to have a linear pattern.
This is a piece about relationships foremost but also about how these relationships can create a ripple effect and affect others lives also without us necessarily realising the damage we are doing. We are wrapped up in our own problems which in the case of our four characters seem to be obsession, loneliness, despair and anger. This is also a piece about the anonymity and endless knowledge that the world wide web can provide, it can give you anything you want or play on your worst fears.
Rachel Heaton throughout provides a singularly cold and clinical sort of narrator/counsellor constantly questioning the casts actions and trying to help them to see where they are going wrong. With her perfectly applied makeup and sharp suit she clashes against the whiteness but somehow conveys no particular character traits, almost like a blank canvas. If this is what Director Sandie Armstrong intended then Rachel Heaton does it incredibly well.
Dodger Phillips, who also Directed the movement for the piece, portrays his character Ian’s depression convincingly, we can almost see his inner turmoil as he tears himself apart from the inside obsessing about his worst fears fuelled by google searches.
The stand out actor for me had to be Tegen Hitchens who plays Christine. Her emotional range is unrivalled going from adolescent rage to playful flirtyness and finally to regretful sadness as her character almost grows up throughout the piece before our very eyes. You are completely drawn in when you watch her and truly feel what she is feeling.
The audience participation throughout created an interesting aspect where you felt more a part of the action and the emotions ‘on stage’ as well as creating some engaging eye contact between the actors and the audience which might not have otherwise happened. My only criticism would be that as active members throughout the piece, I as an audience member sometimes forgot to take note of what was happening within the piece as I was concentrating on my part and not wanting to mess up!
This whirlwind of emotional fragments of peoples lives is eventually pulled together by an event towards the end of the play bringing the whole thing to an emotional finale which will have you by the heart strings.
Overall a moving, gripping and well acted piece of theatre, with refreshing direction by Sandie Armstrong and a great script by David Greig, which takes you on a whirlwind of emotions in it’s relatively short 45 minute running time and is definitely worth a watch. Also it turns out this production was a world premiere for the piece and I am really glad to have been a part of it!
Why not read our review of David Greig’s ‘The Events’ which played at Brighton Dome back in March?