Review: Talking Out Loud

Talking Out Loud had such high prospects but SAMANTHA BENSON is disappointed

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The performances in ‘Talking Out Loud’ could not even be saved by some excellent writing.

The stage was pre-set with the four actors, each making small isolated movements in their particular space. The physicality was engaging, but this didn’t last.

Many of the performances were unbelievable. Their monologues were often given with little vocal dynamism, and the presentation of their characters was stereotypical and safe. I would like to have seen bolder choices in characterisation and direction. Some of the emotions portrayed also felt forced.

It was a great shame. The writing was a mixture of funny, sad, and thought-provoking material, and Sidney Belony should be proud of her work. It is certainly current and applicable, and the audience rightly congratulated her at the end of the show.

But I couldn’t help wishing more time had been spent on characterisation as the powerful messages concerning gender, religion, identity and race were often lost

It is a shame the quality of the acting and direction did not match up with the writing.

Raniyah Qureshi was perhaps the strongest actor providing the most depth to her character. I felt most connected with her, and believed her monologues the most. However, I feel she could definitely have been taken further.

There is a great power in simplicity, particularly in standing still. Sadly, this was not always recognised and Stijn de Graaf appeared uncomfortable and fidgety which took away from what was a powerful monologue on identity and ethnicity.

Lauren Cunningham-Amos got the most laughs, but I felt this was largely due to the script. Despite having the most energy in some places, this was not sustained. Matilda Wickham opened the show with an air of mystery; however, her vocal dynamics were not there and the story soon felt false.

Ultimately I was disappointed. This show had much potential, as do some of the actors – they appear mature and talented, but it is just not used enough in this show. The characters are played stereotypically, and with the awkward sound effects it is horribly reminiscent of a GCSE Drama Assessment. They may be the best actors in the class, but time constraints and direction hold them back.

Despite this, tonight’s show seemed well received and I hope that as the shows progress, the actors embrace their characters more and go beyond repetitive hand movements and monotone vocals. I am also keen to see more of Belony’s work, but perhaps under different direction.

I would also encourage others to see the show regardless, as the script certainly covers some interesting material.

Overall 55% – 2:2