JOSSIE EVANS is impressed with the slickness and strength of performances in Wasted.
Wasted, Tues 12th- Sat 16th May, Corpus Playroom, 9.30pm, £6/5
Wasted is spoken word artist Kate Tempest’s debut as a playwright.
Littered with witty one-liners amongst more poignant moments, the script is a dynamic mash of fast exchanges, heartfelt monologues and spoken word performance pieces.
The play follows the lives of three 20-something Londoners (Ted, Charlotte and Danny) as they mark the anniversary of their friend, Tony’s, death.
Some pre-state music at the start of the show would be great, if anything just to ease the tensions of an exam term suffering audience. But saying that, the sudden start to the show shocked us all into attention as the four actors emerged from within the audience and bounded into action to tell us all about their role as actors, our role as audience and what the play is all about. The set was simplistically effective, the all over newspaper wrapping was cool though I’m not entirely sure why it was there. Lighting throughout was equally simplistic and worked beautifully, holding off until the end of the play for a blackout.
The spoken word pieces performed as a group out of character were strong but lacked a little direction in the movement.
Occasional collisions between actors broke the excited tension that the fast paced movement and speech was attempting to build, so perhaps needs some more direction. Likewise, in a play so driven by speech no lines should be lost and unfortunately some fell victim to a lack of diction and projection above the noise of this constant movement.
But, now negatives are out of the way, I can honestly say this is a refreshing piece of new writing that is often so lacking in Cambridge.
The cast were all strong and able to adapt as they portrayed each of the characters in turn – making slick changes in jackets to mark who was who. Avigail Tlalim stands out as the strongest performer. Tlalim brought out the comedy in the script (“blowjobs and roses” was a favourite) and yet portrayed Danny, the struggling musician, with great maturity and poignant sadness.
Jake Morris was wonderfully believable in his portrayal of Charlotte, he slinked into the green jacket and was transformed despite his distinctly bearded face. He also made the most of a rather awkward opening scene involving newspaper tobacco – get some Golden Virginia guys.
Ian Johnston warmed up as the show progressed and was particularly funny in his portrayal of Ted on the phone to an Ikea-hungry girlfriend. Mike Hood was the strongest performance poet and controlled the action onstage in his role as the deceased friend, Tony, using the commemorative tree onstage as a base from which to watch the action. His narration of the play was strong if not a little quiet at times.
Lucy Moss and Kaiti Soultana have put together a strong, slick, refreshingly new piece of theatre that works perfectly in Corpus Playroom. Their use of the space was done well, especially incorporating the tricky corpus corner into the action.
The directors and cast of Wasted have put together a really dynamic piece of theatre that, despite ending on perhaps too much of a “moral of the tale, don’t get wasted” note, is definitely worth a night off revision to go see.
To see more photos of the Wasted dress rehearsal please see Johannes’ blog here