The King’s Players – On The Move Review

I’m not crying there’s just some heartfelt interpretive dancing in my eye

Who’d have thought cardboard boxes could make you feel such things? The King’s Players’ opening season student production, On the Move, took over the Old Anatomy Lecture Theatre last weekend. Written by KCL’s own Ophelia Norris, produced by Tallulah Smart, and directed by Olivia Cappelletti, the play addressed some of the surprising emotions one can come across as a man (or team of women) with a van.

On The Move is set around three episodes, each depicting a moment in life that necessitates a moving company. A young couple sets up house together; a grieving son helps his newly widowed mother move possessions into storage; an ex-girlfriend moves out of her former lover’s house. Problems at home also arise within the crew between encounters. These moments are emotionally loaded by definition; they each stand on the threshold of a significant life change. What made this production so refreshing, however, was how dynamically they were represented.

Set upon a minimalist stage with no more than a chair and a few boxes as props, the electricity of the play ran through its actors’ extraordinary movements. A sort of modern dance took place between characters in their most vulnerable moments. In a group girls waving boxes over each others heads was startling at first, yet it was soon appreciated as it settled wonderfully into the play’s concept. Revealing conversations were accompanied by rhythmic patterns of movement that worked almost as a form of sign language. As for the fully choreographed dance numbers, the intensity of each was increased by coloured lighting and a moody pop soundtrack.

As much a credit to the play as a detriment, its run-time of about an hour felt a little short and its ending abrupt. Although the audience is led to feel the most strongly about Noah (Johnathan Combey) and his widowed mother, Eva (Selen Uncular), or about brooding Bernie (Juliette Blondeau) and her tumultuous breakup with Cathy (Camille Steens), the defining trajectory of the plot proved to be preppy-yet-troubled Karen (Haley Riemer) and her relationship with Alex, an invisible boss-cum-boyfriend. A series of disheartening phone calls between the tearjerking dance numbers ultimately bring the story to a close, as Karen decides not to move in with Alex after all. This underlying storyline certainly supported the production’s overall structure and wrapped it up functionally enough, but came across as muted in comparison to the other relationships displayed. Fortunately, an effect of this proved to be the audience’s desire for more, not just from this play, but from its creator, cast and crew.

Olivia Cappelleti has shed light on how she found the production, “Due to the nature of physical theatre it really is a collaborative effort between the director, writer and actors. As a director my challenge was to pull the best out of the actors without being over bearing. It was great working with such a talented cast as they really managed to generate content that complimented the text.”

If you missed On The Move, I pity you. Keep track of more King’s Players productions on their Facebook page.

Karen – Haley Riemer
Sam – Francesca Charlemagne
Mel – Lucy Ricketts
Bernie – Juliette Blondeau
Noah – Jonathan Combey
Lucy – Lauren Leppard
Eva – Selen Uncular
Kyle – Cameron Logie
Cathy – Camille Steens

Director – Olivia Cappelletti
Writer & Assistant Director – Ophelia Norris
Producer – Tallulah Smart
Lighting Director – Christina Gill Radukic

All Photos credited to Liz Isles.