Last week Unity Theatre hosted a number of new works that had been supported by their Making Art scheme, in which they provide a small bursary and technical back up to new talent. I caught a couple, although with a minimal amount of information about each performance — including no cast lists — it was sometimes hard to tell whether we were watching works-in-progress or fully fleshed out shows.
The best was 2Toned Theatre’s Reflections of Projections, an intriguing work of physical theatre introducing five troubled characters that are eventually revealed to be patients in a mental healthcare unit. Some measured performances from the cast, as well as a gentle accompanying soundtrack added to the thoughtful atmosphere, and the ‘M’ word – multimedia – was used to good effect through video, projections and lighting.
An understated piece, its well-written script had a quiet intensity to it and the five performers were convincing and never over the top in their roles, despite the high drama of each of the characters’ lives. It looked good, too, with a white and red colour scheme that like everything else was not overdone. There was certainly potential for this thought-provoking 30 minute show to be expanded on or further developed in future.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/24264899 w=400&h=225]
Before that came Cold Call, a short ‘curtain raiser’ from Plastic Factory. Another piece of physical theatre in which the four performers examined the mundane existence of call centre employees, it was funny and manic, and stamped with drama student enthusiasm.
Sadly, The Daily Times at the start of the week was an under-written and under-rehearsed work that didn’t appear to know quite what to do with itself, which seemed quite unusual for the Unity stage. Set in a newspaper office, it centred around two colleagues and their desperation for big stories. Although the two leads of Simon and Richard were likeable enough actors, their characters were confused and confusing, hard-nosed one minute and unconfident the next. Its portrayal of office life, never mind newsroom life, was not only unrealistic but bizarrely over-simplistic, and its eventual pay-off, a Tales of the Unexpected gothic twist, was regrettably unsubstantial.