PLAY has brought together an impressive array of actors, directors and writers from a range of professional backgrounds to perform their work at the Vaults. This week they present four short plays that have varying levels of potential, but on the whole make for an enjoyable and energizing evening.
First up is Play 9, which starts with a choreographed sequence of three mates battling for the remote as Yeezus pumps overhead. The violence and terror they watch on the news spills out of their television and into their front room as the three begin to turn on each other. Chloe Todd Fordham masters the tricky art of suspense and keeps the audience on their toes throughout the twenty-five minute running time. However, bold lines such as ‘six hours since I buried my mother’ are suddenly dropped into the narrative, giving the play a slightly stilted quality.
Play 11 seems similarly fractured. Centered around three struggling wannabe-professionals in their late 20s, this play has a lot of potential but seems to lack a driving force. The trio of actors gave sharp performances, mastering their comic timing with confidence and ease. Writer Afsaneh Gray sculpts fast paced dialogue and litters witty asides throughout the script with skill, but often fails to develop the issues past their comedic one-liners, leaving the play a little underdeveloped.
The remaining two pieces, Play 10 and Play 12, manage to effortlessly tread the line between comedic and serious, creating poignant yet amusing work that is at once both substantial and lighthearted.
David Mumeni veils his complex comments on sexism with two hilarious intertwining monologues, excellently acted by Lewis MacKinnon and Assad Zaman. They are able to deliver Mumeni’s lines with comedic vigor without undermining the seriousness of the underlying message. The apparently simple dilemma of whether or not to order a fruity cocktail on a date seamlessly flags the anxieties surrounding masculinity in the modern world. This play manages to delve deep into the issues without seeming preachy or clichéd.
Molly Vevers in Play 10 gives one of the strongest performances of the evening. She portrays a victim of depression, and manages to embody a fragile strength in her voice and posture that is hard to tear your eyes away from. Dan Pick’s direction is imaginative and taut. For the majority of the performance, the two women face each other, creating a charged atmosphere as if an invisible string is holding them together.
Some of these collaborations worked really well and some of them didn’t. But it’s a great initiative and it deserves your time and support.
- Written by: Chloe Todd Fordham, Sam Freeman, Afsaneh Gray, David Mumeni
- Directed by: Polina Kalinina, Dan Pick, Oliver Dawe, Kirsty Patrick Ward
- The Vaults, London
- Until 31st of January
- Time: 19:15
- Review by Sophia Chetin-Leuner
- 29 January 2016