Pros: An entertaining evening, engaging the audience with its subject in a variety of ways.
Cons: Not very original in parts and the script often lacked punch.
“Are you using the life you have, to live the life you want?” This was the tagline to The Existence Formula and it was certainly a provocative way to introduce the show. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel it lived up to the lofty expectations of the blurb. For me there was something lacking.
The show opened well with a character monologue before transitioning into an extended birth scene wherein 2 in utereo twins were in dialogue leading up to their birth. It worked well with the increasingly pained mother at the centre and the two twins either side occasionally taking on the role of other characters attending the scene. It was simple and effective. The length of the scene, however, could have been cut down by nearly half; there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue and it caused a lag in the atmosphere.
This was thankfully resolved by a pleasing and riotous piece of physical theatre with three characters constantly trying to keep up with their own social media profiles and becoming continuously more bedraggled doing so. It was great to watch, it felt there was truly something on the line. With a show claiming to tackle the question of existence this is exactly what it should be.
The final section of the show was the coming together of three characters that had been introduced in the previous sections. The characters were very well acted and interesting for the most part but I couldn’t help but feel they were rather cliché in their design. There wasn’t really anything touching or tragic in their end. It seemed like a good idea that didn’t reach its potential.
Overall, I was entertained. There were some witty lines and great use of props and the stage set. I just thought the show was trying to do too much. It almost felt like three shows crammed into one. It was a bold first effort by debuting playwright Sarah Rickman (who also acted in the piece) but I felt it needed more editing and development to achieve its potential.
Playwright: Sarah Rickman
Director: P J Stanley
Producer: Juice Factory
Booking Until: 23 September 2017
Box Office: 020 3841 6611
Booking Link: https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-existence-formula