Last night was the first time I visited ‘The Pleasance Theatre’ and was also the first time I’d ever seen a final year show at CSSD for their CDT course. Collaborating and devising theatre has always sounded like an interesting topic to me, especially the CDT course.
As always, I did little research going in so I could be surprised by what the performance had to offer. (Yes an excuse for my laziness, shh… no-one but us needs to know that)
Before I get into this review I’d just like to mention one thing first as a disclaimer: no matter what my opinions are on this piece or any other I talk about on here, I always want to congratulate everyone involved because its not an easy job getting up to expose yourself in front of everyone. Also, your performance in this show does not relate to your ability.. So well done to everyone involved in advance!
The story’s about a dysfunctional family spiralling out of control, till there is no-one left.
Now onto my opinions: I think this play had many faults.
I’d like to start by mentioning the running time of this piece – it was WAY TOO LONG!! (2hours straight with no interval) I can imagine that it may be difficult to cut the project shorter because it is your own piece that you have created but honestly me and many others felt like it really dragged. At every point of peak tension I started to wish for an interval already… this was not a good start to my evening.
The next major issue I had was accents. I think if you are doing a play set in a certain location then accents are key to creating this world: if the ensemble are accidentally talking in their own accents or slipping in and out of the dialect throughout, automatically the magic is ruined. The world does not exist, we know you’re trying to act.
I really enjoyed the play itself, I thought it was a very interesting story (The piece was devised off of a book, don’t quote me on that… but I’m pretty sure that’s the case) but I didn’t feel satisfied by the general level of truth and commitment the company had to offer each other. It all felt rushed and under rehearsed. A few actors stood out amongst the rest because they were obviously in tune with their voices and the truth.
I’m upset to report that this play didn’t quite reach the level I expected from third years at one of London’s top Drama schools and it left me questioning the course itself. I guess I was disappointed because I had such high hopes and they were not met: there were so many opportunities for the play to really take the audience somewhere grim but it felt more like a under rehearsed school production at best.
Again, many factors could have played a part in the outcome of this piece but I honestly feel like there should be no excuse for third year students preparing to leave drama school and enter the professional acting world, their show should be identical to professional shows. After all, you are showcasing three years worth of work.
On the plus side I really liked the set (even though at times scene changes were slightly distracting) I feel like every different scene was created and the cast used levels well.
Finally, I learnt a lot and was happy that I got to watch it for free. But if you don’t have much money and want to see something that will blow your mind I wouldn’t break the bank to come see this show.