Theatre, Bedlam Theatre, Venue 49, 21:30 until the 30th August.
Set in an ‘intervention room’ at a school, two teenage girls are brought in for the reason of being ‘cause for concern’. Taylor, as played by Olivia Duffen, is the loud and obnoxious student, and it seems immediately apparent why she is sent to the intervention room. It is nearly impossible to take your eyes off her while she demands the attention of the audience and 80% of the dialogue. Sitting at a desk on the opposite end of the stage is Aailia, performed by Akila Cristiano, a patient and intelligent student who hardly seems to be a pupil fit for any sort of after school detention. While she remains silent throughout the majority of the play it is growingly questionable why she has been sent there at all. Throughout the course of the play the meek English Teacher tries to mediate between Taylor and Ailia, however as most school environments go, it is the two girls that control the intervention session.
While simple in theory, the direction is mostly static, with the two girls sitting at their desks the majority of the play and the English teacher walking between the two in his attempt to teach. Despite very few lines in comparison, Cristiano does an impeccable job of using facial expression and body language to balance out the incredibly overwhelming character Taylor plays.
The message is perfectly executed, subtle and elegant. Each character is slowly exposed throughout the play leaving you with an entirely different perspective than you began with. This is a terrific play reflecting on modern day school environments, a topic which most members of the audience will find very easy to relate to.
The production did not raise the bar for other performances at the Fringe, but definitely ticked all the boxes in terms of stage direction and message delivery. S.E.N. left with the feeling that your money and time was well spent.
Image courtesy of No Prophet Theatre Company (www.bedlamfringe.co.uk)