CUPPERS: One Million Tiny Plays about Britain (St Hugh's)

Tue 6th November 2012

reviews

Lizhi Howard

at 00:30 on 8th Nov 2012

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This production did pretty much what it said on the tin, presenting us with a series of scenes that reflected on aspects of British life in a subtle and entertaining way. There was the minister confessing to his rent-boy that he didn’t want to send his children to a comprehensive school, the 20 somethings commenting that a murder would make a house cheaper to buy, and the young girl questioning why her and her father should sit in a First Class carriage when other people didn’t.

Although there weren’t quite a million of them, these short scenes were all interesting and well executed. That is not to say they were without impact, indeed one highlight was a hospital scene which was stunningly sad, and yet still carried moments of humour which gave the production a cohesive feel.

The cast were very good and show real promise. The manager in the office scene had a fanatic understanding of how physicality can create character; the positioning of his feet and his hand gestures easily creating a pompous, self-important, managerial type. One actress in particular was able to handle a variety of material; at one point being a teenager unsure whether to sleep with someone she had only known for a day (and a half) to a concerned mother in her son’s hospital room. Her counterpart teenager also played a farmers market critic and coped well with his lines and characters throughout, being able to perfectly time his reactions with both voice and facial expression to the others on stage.

A highlight for me was the minister scene. The blocking in this scene was particularly effective with the rent boy sitting on a table above the minister so that the audience could see his actions whilst his partner couldn’t. This emphasised who held the power in this scene and made the lines even funnier when the minister didn’t quite understand what the rent boy meant in the same way the audience did. The fact that both actors had invested in their roles certainly helped.

The lighting and sound were unobtrusive during the scenes but were effectively used for the transitions between them, which had clearly been rehearsed and polished. The use of a guitar track (a cover of Liberty X’s ‘aint nobody’ I believe) created an audio motif for the scene changes which was well thought out by the technical team.

In all this production was very well executed, showing a huge amount of talent from the actors who all multi-rolled with ease and confidence. The director and the team as a whole are definitely ones to watch.

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