The distracting haunts of the radio haunt Made Up throughout, as it runs with very minimal pace change. In fact, consistent is an apt description to attribute to this production which seems to fail to get started, and really to ever finish.
Stan’s Café, local Birmingham company, bring their latest show to the Birmingham Rep – born from a collaboration with Andrew Whiteoak, make up artist. We see how the make up applied to budding actress (Emily Holyoake) hides her own insecurities and masks her secrets, whilst the mechanics of Sue’s (Alexis Tuttle) application becomes almost ritualistic in its art.
There is no denying some of the special effects are interesting, but for all its style the play fails to provide any originality and appears limp and lacking substance. The lacklustre structure sees the pairs lives seem to meander through multiple films via multiple personas, which is confusing portrayed particularly in the first half.
The central pairing is reminiscent of that we share with our individual hairdressers, and can resonate easily with audiences. Yet the stationary direction leaves a lack of dynamic, and neither actor seemingly can do anything to break this despite occasional moments of light relief.
The final ten minutes or so provides us with only the real sincere moment as Sue pleads for her lost daughter to get in touch via her Oscar acceptance speech. Yet the superficial nature of Made Up fails to allow it to sustain our interest whilst seeming a product of the system it sees to critique.