Entering the Union Theatre you’re presented with two tables and chairs and a sofa, a simple but effective use of space in this theatre. But how did the rest of the show stand up?
The show centres on a group of friends and relatives with all the emotional entanglements that come with that. There are a number of relationships started, ended and discussed in the show. A large part of the show focuses on Jessie and her previous problems with alcohol abuse, played by writer and producer Kyra Kessica Willis. While this is often the focus of the show it is very much an ensemble piece.
The first thing to mention is the story, script and how it hinges together. The overall story is there but the show struggles to tell it. They understandably want to focus on the emotions of certain characters but parts of the script feel like filler and it is often repetitive. In the second act there are three arguments between Kasey and Jessie. While each has a different angle it is still covers the same things each time and it doesn’t help move the story along. In these arguments Kasey doesn’t have the emotional range to make these scenes convincing which ultimately stops you connecting with the characters.
The script to it’s credit has created 8 very different characters (although sometimes the costumes were distracting and didn’t match the characters) but the performances of these were uneven through the show. This includes the volume issues as some voices took over the stage while others struggled to be heard. There are some parts which are well performed but it’s patchy. Moments when Jessie is drunk for example are well performed but then the reaction of other characters don’t fit. In the first act there are a lot of pacing issues. It needs to be a lot slicker as often it feels like people are just waiting for the next line. The conversations need to be more natural. The conversations at the party were so stunted even Boris wouldn’t have gone to it. Making those fun moments more fluid would make the comedy land better and then make those quiet moments more poignant.
The show has the bare bones of the story and has a lot of potential. But it needs serious (and probably brutal) editing so it can maintain its focus while not repeating itself. The direction needs to be reviewed to see how it can keep the story moving. It would be good to see how this develops in future.
Rating: 2 Stars