Pros: Imaginative use of space, props and movement. A show that will make you think.
Cons: Some may find the themes difficult to engage with. A bit shallow in places.
Nestled above the welcoming Bedford pub, a stone’s throw from Balham tube, lies Theatre N16. This was my first visit and I would welcome the chance to return. The auditorium is perhaps not for the claustrophobic or physically expansive, but I found it cosy and welcoming. Perhaps paradoxically the proximity of people served to enhance the theme of isolation explored by the play.
I arrived, as I always aim to do, with no knowledge of what awaited me. After a satisfying bowl of chips in the Bedford I moseyed upstairs to the theatre. I hoped for a compelling story and an enjoyable hour of theatre. I’m pleased to report that my hopes were fulfilled.
This Might Be It is Vantage Point Theatre’s devised ‘play about loneliness’, and sets about making you feel uncomfortable (in a good way!) from the off. I’m usually a fan of a theatrical ‘cold open’, where an audience enters the auditorium to find a play in progress, and it is used to good effect here. Two actors sit centre stage whilst two others intone through microphones to either side. I felt unsettled and engaged by the opening set-piece which is both physically comedic and subtly poignant.
From there, in simple terms, the play explores loneliness and isolation. A series of vignettes introduces overlapping characters and situations. Over the course of the hour the stories unfold. Some comic, others dark, all human. Some reaching a conclusion, others left open, all compelling. Conventional storytelling rubs shoulders with physical theatre, usually seamlessly and always without jarring. I did find myself wishing for a resolution to each story at the conclusion, but I suspect this may have been the point.
The company works well as a unit and the actors are universally strong. Certain characters are more impactful than others, and I must highlight the performance of Emilio Iannucci as especially joyous. A minimal stage is constantly adapted to form various locales. Sound and music are put to excellent use, whether as the musical longings of a Polish cleaner, or portraying the tortured isolation of the mentally ill. The echo of a mic scraped along metal is a haunting experience.
Vantage Point freely own that this is a play and a company in development. They wish to go deeper and to touch the artistic world in a profound way. On this evidence, I am confident they will do so.
Written and Directed By: The Company
Producer: Libbie Khabaza
Box Office: 07969 138 899
Booking Link: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/148066
Booking Until: 8 December 2016