Do you know when your bin day is? Do you know what goes in each bin and if each bin has its own pick-up day? Don’t worry, Measured is not about bins or bin days, but they anchor it in the everyday. After being sectioned and spending several months in an in-patient treatment programme, Sophie (Juliette Burton) is reunited with her partner Tom (Aaron Phinehas Peters). Both are nervous, a little at a loss for words, but there is a small comment about the bins and this little exchange gives us our first look at the warmth and love in their relationship, easily and smartly showing us there is a history. They have a long term relationship, with grounding in real life and mundane chores.
This is what Measured does really well. It captures the connections between Sophie and Tom and Sophie’s younger sister, Lucy (April Hughes), with honesty and warmth, through both the performances and the script. It is all about relationships: we see some on the stage, we hear about others, and of course the relationship we have with our own bodies underpins the show throughout. Burton does a good job of showing how caught Sophie is between her eating disorder and her recovery, in particular how this impacts on her interactions with her family, her friends and her partner. Peters’ Tom is stoic, reserved but really gets moments to shine as the story goes on. Playing a young schoolgirl, noting things that are unfair, Hughes has fun with the part of Lucy, in particular when showing her love and concern for Sophie. There is a lot of warmth and chemistry between them, and this makes it really easy to empathise throughout.
The staging is simple and effective, with four lights making up a square to shine down on our cast. For set changes, these lights dim and music plays while plain tables and chairs are moved in and out. The play moves along nicely under the direction of Cat Robey. My one suggestion; do try and sit in front of the stage. The staging is very much front on and from the side there was a certain amount of staring at the back of heads.
There are some funny, laugh out loud moments and a hint of a wicked sense of humour from the author, Emma O’Brien. This is her first professional production and on the basis of it I will certainly be on the lookout for her next.
Measured runs at The Hope Theatre until March 12. After each performance, there are late shows running as the Measured Festival. These will include comedy, improv and spoken word, and are a mixture of previews and works in progress. Each of these productions is intended to compliment the mental health awareness themes in Measured and the festival is supporting charities Rethink Mental Illness and Beat.
I left the lovely little Hope Theatre having enjoyed an evening with laughter but which raised some important themes, and found myself caught up in the characters, wondering what the future held for them.
Written by: Emma O’Brien
Directed by: Cat Robey
Produced by: Laurel Marks
Measured plays at The Hope Theatre until 12 March. Further information and booking via the below button.