Peep Show

This term at the Drama Barn opens with Peep Show by Isabel Wright, a hugely expressive and poignant production both in performance and direction

Venue: Drama Barn
Running until: 8 May
Director: Francesca Murray- Fuentes
Assistant Director: Fran Isherwood
Producer: Rosie Townshend
Written by: Isabel Wright
Rating: ****

This weekend’s DramaSoc production is a genuine pleasure to watch, and is an exhibition of such real finesse that is uncommon. Each facet of the production – from the sustained character portrayal through to the choreography and set design – is worthy of high merit and they all congregate to produce a poignant evening.

One of the most impressive aspects of the production was the way in which no moment was sensationalised or was subject to melodrama, but the subject was consistently treated with a real sensitivity. The play of course had its ebbs and flows of energy and intrigue, but there was nothing contrived or artificial, which would have compromised the portrayal of both the mundanities and the tensions of human relations.

In addition, the set was constructed with an extreme attention to detail that left each ‘apartment’ with its own character and feel, yet was in no way imposing upon the audience, despite the sheer abundance of objects that had been used to create stage.

In roles which explored some of the most dismal aspects of human relationships and the human condition, it would have been far too easy for the cast to have been unable to fulfil their roles, but this couldn’t have been less the case. Impeccable in their performances, no one stood out as a weak partner of the cast. Moments of light came through Kate’s (Helena Clark) brilliant delivery of lines such as “It’s the bottle-opener Bermuda triangle”, and Loner (Lewis Chandler) made whatever he said sound socially unacceptable: “I like to take photos of people when they’re not looking”. Alternatively, Ben (Chris White) and George’s (Emilie Smith) representation of a relationship in a state of unwilling, yet terminal disintegration was hugely powerful.

Particularly moving instances came through the use of song and dance. At a time when the sense of dislocation was broken only by a combined need for a cork screw – which was to be disregarded by each ‘apartment’ almost as much as the lovers for each other – to have a number of characters sing together but from their respective rooms was hugely symbolic of how distant they all appeared, yet how much they really had in common. Likewise, the brief moments of dance allowed the neighbours’ sexual misdemeanours to appear far more passionate than their own sexual relations within a relationship ever appeared – this was emphasised by the leitmotif of “touch me…touch me”.

It would be easy to critique the occasional moments when the production’s energy appeared to subside, but such a criticism would not be in keeping with the realist, and therefore occasionally subdued, nature of the play. So for this Francesca Murray-Fuentes as director must be congratulated for appreciating the nuances of the play and not being afraid of letting minutes meander, instead of making them subject to some sort of dramatic hyperbole. She, and the seemless cast, have succeeded in producing a hugely expressive and poignant production.

One comment

  1. I’m afraid the reviewer must have seen a different show from the one I saw Friday night –

    Shambolic, awfully scripted and lacking any sense of nuance. I’m sure Frantic Assembly might have made this play bearable but Dramasoc certainly didn’t.

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