No Exit

A lifetime in hell, in a library. Sound familiar? The latest offer from the NNT UNCUT season certainly does.

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, takes place in Lincoln Hall library – a fitting if not unorthodox venue.

Taking on such a remarkable and existentialist play as their first, Alice Child and Lauren Wilson are to be admired. The concept of hell being other people rather than traditional torture is not an easy one to grasp especially when taking place in such a mundane setting as a library/living room but all in all they pulled it off.

The script itself, translated into English from French, at times felt archaic and led to the natural flow of lines being something to be desired. However, all 4 actors delivered strong performances.

The characters Inez (Page Phillips-Harrington) and Estelle (Harriet Davis) may have benefited from stronger characterisation to emphasise the extreme situation they were in, as well as accentuate the trio’s clashing personalities.

With this said their defining traits shone through with Estelle’s laugh (a cross between a high-pitched cackle and a sinister snickerbeing particularly notable.

Lyle Fulton, playing Garcin, was especially memorable with his monologues engaging the audience (sometimes from a doze) through his strong stage presence, effective timing and clear understanding of his character.

While some sections lacked the ability to sustain attention others led to the audience members leaning further over the railings to feel yet more involved with the action.

With that said the dilemma of looking through the railings versus leaning over the top of them meant that much shuffling could be heard throughout the performance with visibility being limited.

This restriction of being above the action had an impact on the actors timings and in places it felt thoughts were rushed and pauses too brief.

However, with no audience reactions to gauge they were effectively playing to each other and, when considering this, they certainly succeeded in their believable relationships and interactions.