Written and directed by Sebastian Rex
Pros: Interesting concept, with a great performance by the eponymous Phil.
Cons: Some of the characters can come across as overly simplistic.
Our Verdict: A good night out, if you have the energy to travel to the venue!
|Courtesy of The Space
Even after a quite a few years in the London theatre scene, I must say that I wasn’t aware of The Space, which is a great shame. The charming venue, admittedly, is a little bit out of the way: a 10-15 min walk from Mudchute DLR station on the Isle of Dogs. Nonetheless, the refurbished church-turned-performance space is welcoming and cosy (and crucially, heated), as is their associated bar, Hubbub. Fulfil Me fully, Phil is an in-house production by the creative team managing The Space – so how did it fare?
On paper, the concept is promising – a young man, the eponymous Phil, is undergoing an existential crisis, and so invents a host of characters – the Husband, The Wife, The Doctor, The Soldier, The Baker etc – who each represent different facets of the human psyche, and revere Phil as a god-like figure. Each has wants and needs, often conflicting. The play deals with the impossibility of simultaneously satisfying each character’s desires, and in the end, also tackles the fact that even if each facet were fulfilled at the same time, this would not be desirable either.
However, in practice, there were ups and downs. Although the script is largely well written, especially in the second half, there are moments when the show comes across as a bit flat. The play’s concept makes it difficult for many of the parts to be fully developed – the stock characters need to be 2-dimensional to contrast with the complexity of Phil, but by the same token, are almost overly simplistic. Nonetheless, there are plenty of great moments in the show, and I certainly left the auditorium with my mind racing.
The performances were pretty good, too. In my opinion, the best one was given by Rhys Lawton as Phil – his manic and energetic delivery injected a much needed boost to propel the play through the second half, but the supporting cast did well also, despite their characters’ limitations which I mentioned previously. Together as an ensemble, they managed to convincingly recreate the strange but evocative landscape of ‘inside Phil’s head’. The set and costumes too, were well designed, with the monochrome stock characters deliberately contrasting with colourful Phil, and the few items of set cleverly built to swing and revolve and reveal other props.
Really, this was a show which started from an interesting concept, and did pretty well in its execution, but didn’t quite hit the mark. However, it was entertaining and left the audience thinking. If the Isle of Dogs is convenient to get to or from for you, then a detour to The Space for this show is completely justified.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
Fulfill Me Fully, Phil runs at The Space until 15th December 2012.
Box Office: 020 7515 7799 or book online at www.space.org.uk