Review: The Strip
SAMANTHA BENSON is puzzled but highly entertained by this jumble of a show.
I’m not really sure what happened in those two hours, but it was good fun!
The opening was perhaps the best opening I have seen of a play in Cambridge; with loud mysterious music and the cast initially hidden behind gauze. The lights were excellent here, and remained impressive throughout the rest of the show. The director (George Kan) certainly did well to make it intriguing.
Katurah Morrish (Ava) opened the show with a strong, professional performance, gaining a number of laughs in just a few minutes. As the play developed I found she had onstage chemistry with everyone. It was comforting and easy to watch – this play has a strong, well bonded cast.
The dynamic between Joe Spence and Rachel Bircher was great and, highly entertaining. Their accents were impressive, although Bircher’s was slightly weaker. Whilst at first I wasn’t convinced by the awkward coldness of Mr Mink/Mr Green (Sam Fairbrother), as the play developed this became very fitting.
Tom Beavan was fantastic. He used his voice well onstage, and was engaging throughout. His comic timing was also excellent, and he received plenty of laughs from the audience who adored the awkward tension between him and Lester (Joe Spence). These two played well off each other and this only got better as the play went on. They were a pleasure to watch!
Scene changes were well executed tonight; slick, well organised, and simple. The cast maintained position until the lights went down, and it was refreshing to see as scene changes are so often a calamity!
The rest of the cast were also great; Ben Breathwick was both amusing, and able to convey deep emotion in simple yet effective ways, with an awkwardness similar to Mark Darcy in the Bridget Jones films. I was particularly impressed by one moment when he was shaking; it was well acted and believable. Aoife Kennan was also very amusing, and gave her performance a lot of energy.
Sadly Hannah Calascione spoke a little too fast and parts of her dialogue were missed, but she certainly portrayed the confidence needed for the role. Jack Needham and Ella Konzon were also good, with Konzon really grasping the emotion and the humour of the motherly role.
The set (Jack Parham and Toby Molyneux), with a giant sphinx and pyramid, although striking and well-lit was underused. As such, despite its promise, it mainly just served as a confusing addition to the already confusing play. However, the simpler set pieces (bed, table, cross-trainer) were just right – there is much to be gained from simplicity on stage.
The music was perhaps a little too loud, particularly when characters were trying to shout over it from the back of the stage. The people in front also looked pained when the (recorded) microphone screeches came over the speakers.
Kan should be pleased. The spacing of the show, particularly the ends of acts were visually very effective and the entire show was really entertaining. That said I have absolutely no idea what happened; one audience member left on a fantastic ‘what the f*ck’. Sadly this meant not everyone could fully engage with the show, but it was a fun night nonetheless.
The show is incredibly funny and the music embarrassingly catchy. It looked great, the cast were excellent, and it really is a barrel of laughs. If you’re looking for something fun to do to celebrate the end of term, I’d certainly recommend it!
Overall rating – 68% 2.1