The Rehearsal at New Theatre
The Rehearsal is about the behind-the-scenes rehearsals of Romeo and Juliet, but with a dark and haunting twist.
It is an exhilarating must-see that packs a punch from the very beginning, with more drama and convoluted love triangles than an episode of Hollyoaks.
The Rehearsal blurs the lines between fact and fiction. After being ushered in by Al the stage manager (Ben Hollands), we are greeted to a circle of pensive actors over the thumping beat of the techno soundtrack. Then the time 19:30 flashes on the wall and, like the opening of the stage curtains, the story came to life.
It starts off simple enough; Ollie (Aaron Tej) has the wrong copy of Romeo and Juliet, the understudys are sulking in the corner and it’s delightfully clear that Sam the technician (Will Berrington) is not completely cut out for the job.
Once the lights dim and the plot unravel it’s clear that this play is anything but simple. The seemingly passionate director appears to have an inappropriate relationship with Jessica (Sasha Butler) and the whole Charlie-Ben-Emily-everyone else in the cast romantic plot was riveting, but at times rather confusing.
The Rehearsal expects a lot from its audience. The diegetic director wants a play filled with movement and encourages exploration away from the main room to follow the mini storylines; who knew the costume room held so much scandal?
Whilst it was difficult to follow all of the narratives (I found myself darting from one room to another, to get a glimpse of the drama) by the time we return to the rehearsal room, the change in dynamic indicated what we had missed.
The concept of the play was not only unique, but also incredibly entertaining. The two-minute dialogue between Ollie and the Director as they try to enunciate ‘purge’ was particularly hilarious, and brought much-needed comic relief to a complicated script.
For an emotionally driven, dynamic and interactive show, The Rehearsal is outstanding with its’ interactive staging offering a first-hand insight into the world of acting.