Acts of Disunion - Review
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
Acts of Disunion is two short plays loosely held together by the Brexit theme, which given the current political environment is clearly timely.
The first play is set in a world where people live in bunkers and one bunker demanded a button that destroys everyone and everything. The play is set on the day they are due to press the button following a vote. The Brexit analogy is clear and there was an opportunity here to really play to the absurdity of it all. Unfortunately it shies away from doing this. The script was literally a re-write of every bland Brexit argument you’ve heard many times over, complete with comments on experts. Everyone has heard these hence the dialogue and story needed to be made more extreme to make an impact. Unfortunately it didn’t offer anything new and feels like you’ve seen it all before. However, I found Zari Lewis to be engaging and gave a strong performance in a limited role.
This had a good set up but felt it was a missed opportunity for a great satire.
The second part is a conversation between a father and son which touches on some Brexit issues but is not the focus.
This is a character driven drama and, as such, rests on drawing the audience’s interest into the characters. However, there is little insight given into the characters and despite certain plot elements, never moves far beyond the superficial. Although there is an attempt to portray the awkwardness between the characters a combination of stilted conversation and drawn out direction, the way it was done here meant the play moved very slowly and made it difficult to engage with the characters.
The father is the more well-drawn of the characters and is well played by Richard Harfst. I would have liked to have delved more into some of his story as, at the end of the play, I still knew little about either character.
For these plays the set was simple and effective and there was a good use of sound depicting the building site outside.
On stage humour is a necessary element more so than on screen. Both plays there were elements of humour but there were a lot of missed opportunities which could have made the characters more relatable.
Overall I like the concepts but the script and direction were disappointing and need a lot more work to turn them into engaging stories.