Vote Revolt & A Game of Chaos by Jessica Bailey and Terri Donovan at Theatre N16

 

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On Thursday 26th June 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union and even though a year has passed, the subject is still on everyone’s minds as we wait to see the effects of Article 50 being triggered. This divisive topic has clearly been on the minds of the writers of Vote Revolt and A Game of Chaos as the two pieces aim to question our reasons for voting and the motivation behind our choices.

Split into two, the night begins with Vote Revolt, an extract from a longer piece by Jessica Bailey. The play follows a group of teenagers as they await their offers from university. Grouped together in politics, one boy breaks away, choosing to stay on the side of “remain”, making him the black sheep of the group. Being an extract from a longer piece, the play is confusing and somewhat underwhelming, with the cliff-hanger not being much of a cliff-hanger at all. The characters are unclear and the storyline seemed shallow, with very little depth or philosophy for the audience to get their teeth into. This felt lazy, especially given their topic of choice and the questions and debates around it. We must however, remember that this is just a twenty-minute snippet and for this reason I can only assume (and hope) that there is much more excitement and plotline to come.

After a rather quick end to Vote Revolt and a poor transition, came A Game of Chaos by Terri Donovan; a wannabe Big Brother-esque, improvised game that sees the same actors trapped in a room that can only be left if one sticks to the rules of the game and completes the given quests. The rules consist of things such as listening only to Queen songs, a minute of silence, a discussion on something one is passionate about and most importantly, an objective that is given to them by a member of the audience. The irony of this was that the actors failed to stick to the rules of the game or complete their quests. They seemed to become so submerged in their improvisation that they forgot that they had a direction and an outcome in which the show needed to go in. It became ever-so-slightly embarrassing when the cast had to be reminded through a recorded tannoy announcement of their objectives in order to get them back on track. Even this, however, failed to work, leaving no other choice for the performance to finish in a very random, baffling and inexplicable way. In fact, even the actors didn’t seem to know if they had finished or not, making it very awkward for the audience to watch.

A game of chaos it certainly is and if what the company are trying to do is get us thinking about voting or the caging of Brexit, then unfortunately it failed to work this evening. Improvisation is a skill that should be highly commended and when done well is excellent to watch but unfortunately this just didn’t work and felt more like a group of actors enjoying a bit of make-it-up-as-you-go-along-acting.

The topic of both plays is important and highly relevant to today and it is great that the company are trying to tackle this subject and bring it to the stage but more thought and consideration needs to be injected. From the gaps in the script to the shoddy making of props, the production is messy and like the venue, needs a new lick of paint and a bit of TLC. The company clearly feel passionate about it, as they should but in truth, the whole thing kind of felt a bit like a private joke between friends and completely alien to the outsiders.

WIGS 1/5

By Grace Ward

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