Pros: An emotional script with plenty of dark comedy.
Cons: Slightly lacklustre direction and acting.
And now for a random intermission from our usual programme: The Bread and Roses sells perhaps the best food in Clapham. If you want a good night out, I would definitely recommend going to see a show there and eating beforehand. The quiet but chic venue really put me in a positive mood before the performance.
Back to what you came here for: theatre. Necessity sells itself as a compelling drama about married couple Mish and Patrick and their neighbours Stephen and Veronika. The play explores what happens to people when their needs are not met – be it money, children or affection – and the impact secrets have on relationships.
Where the script is concerned, Necessity really does fit into the drama genre. There are plenty of twists and tangible silences. The play grapples with incredibly serious subjects, including the experience of losing a child, which had me feeling sick inside (in a good way).
Despite these powerful elements, however, I found the final ‘shocks’ to be rather predictable. This, I think, may have been because of the direction and acting. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the acting is poor. Far from it. All of the actors bring their personas to life and make them believable and distinct. It just so happens that, because of this, none of the characters seem likeable at the end. If that was what the play was aiming for, then this is not a criticism. But if Necessity was trying to suggest that any of the characters were deserving of the audience’s sympathy, it didn’t come across that way. I was left feeling not only cold, but also angry about almost all of the characters’ views and actions.
I suppose what I really felt was uncertainty. I did not know how I should respond to the play emotionally. This did not extend to the design choices, however. Walking into the theatre, I was really excited by the visual effects. There was a traverse raised square platform on which all the action took place. As I took my seat there was already an actor on stage (Alex Reynolds who plays both T and Sarah), in character and awaiting the start of the show. This prepared me for the night of drama and made for unique viewing. I only wish the rest of the show had sustained this palpable energy.
Written and Directed By: Paul Macauley
Producer: Broken Silence Theatre
Box Office: 020 8050 3025
Booking Link: http://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/necessity.html
Booking Until: 4 February 2017