Pros: Wonderful acting. Rich content. Thought provoking.
Cons: At times safe and constrained.
Following the lives of four investment bank interns, Run explores the psychological, physical and sometimes even ethical challenges these characters face as they begin to get to grips with the industry they have chosen for their future career. As their story unfolds, we see the measures that each of them are prepared to take in order to secure one of two guaranteed jobs. This show throws into light a side of the banking world not many of us, including myself, have ever taken much time to consider; the lives of the people behind the smartphones and the suits.
Despite being set in a hard-nosed world, Run is in fact a very touching and human story. This was bought out through the script, which I thought was extremely well written and equally well performed. The language was very honest and natural, nothing felt contrived or forced, and this created lots of wonderfully ‘real’, often comic, moments which you could sense the entire audience were connected too.
These lighthearted moments gave balance to other more weighted scenes, which explored the darker, and more destructive side of working in ‘the city’. The pressure on characters’ personal lives are shown: the breakdown of relationships, the self-doubt, the physical exhaustion and the need to keep working harder and longer to prove you’ve got what it takes. As each character strained under the developing pressure, the tension built slowly with the audience wondering at every turn who, if any of these young people, would be tough enough to make it?
The venue itself was small but comfortable. The audience sat around the edges of a square performance area in the centre of the space, demarcated by generic office flooring tiles. The set and lighting were minimal and function. This straightforward design laid the space and the performers bare. Often, the performers were positioned only centimetres away from the audience, so every action, motion and emotion was clear to see. This openness seemed to reflect the honesty of the performance as a whole, and allowed the actors to give real depth to their characters.
The only draw back of this ‘in the round’ staging was that sometimes an expression or moment between two characters might take place on the opposite side of the space, and so one half of the audience would miss out on the narrative. This happened rarely though and mostly the staging was dynamic enough to ensure everyone was included in the action.
The physicality of the performance was something I was particularly interested to see, as this was highlighted as one of the company’s unique traits. However, for me this aspect of the performance was not as developed as I think it could have been. As the characters’ situations intensified, the physicality of the performance also grew, but it did so in what seemed a safe and contained way. I felt there were opportunities during some of the later scenes, when the emotional tension between characters was really quite high, to push the boundaries in a much more dynamic way.
This however did not distract from my overall enjoyment of the performance. Run is an entertaining and thought-provoking work. I believe this show would appeal to a wide range of people. No previous knowledge of economics required.
Created by: Engineer Theatre Collective
Director: Jesse Fox, Simon Lyshon
Producer: Emily Thommes
Ensemble: Al Jarrett, Beatrice Scirocchi, Joseph Sentence, Charlotte Watson
Booking Until: Saturday 29th November
Box Office: 0207 383 9034
Booking Link: http://newdiorama.com/whats-on/run