Thursday, March 01, 2007

"The Recovery Position" - March 2007

The blurb for this devised semi-promenading show by the NTS Young Company at The Platform in Easterhouse was all a bit vague and apart from a general ER/Casualty type feel I really wasn't sure what it would entail. The Young Company had drafted in some assistance for the show in the form of a couple of additional cast members and Director Mark Murphy. While not flawless, what followed was at turns stunning, beautiful, emotional and thought provoking.

The audience walked through a number of short scenes in different sections of a well disguised library that introduced the main characters we would follow for the next hour or so, and with a little prompting and positioning from production assistants the audience moved fairly fluidly - although maybe 5 or 10 less of us would have made things slightly easier.

We're given hints and insights into a number of relationships and get the chance to see some fantastically expressive and subtle acting - particularly from Maryam Hamidi. But it's when we reach our seats in the auditorium that things really begin. Part of this is that the audience feel more comfortable in their traditional seated role, and also because we suddenly feel free to laugh at the jokes that at times seemed a little uncomfortable up the stairs.

I'm going to avoid going into much of the plot, but for the most part it is well written and a good balance between humour and darkness, and I was genuinely unsure of the outcome. There is at least one moment that is almost jaw-dropping (Kirstin McLean - you are one gutsy lady) and some of the choreography/poetic dialogue nope the only word that describes it is beautiful. But this isn't here for its own sake - it also provides very effective imagery to reflect what is going on.

Now I said it wasn't flawless, so here goes... One of the three relationships is less clear than the other two and should really have been expanded, and some of the observations about relationships were a touch cliched and unoriginal.

The performances are universally of a high standard, but it's really Hamidi, McLean and Carmen Pieraccini who take the real plaudits here; hitting perfect notes of emotion and comedy.

My criticism of the Young Company's previous "Self Contained" was that it possibly wasn't ambitious enough for a talented young group with NTS backing, but they have really made up for it with "The Recovery Position." As the show only runs for 5 nights with a small audience I consider myself very fortunate to have seen it - much the same way I was fortunate to see Grid Iron/NTS production of "Roam" at Edinburgh Airport last year. I'm sure there will be plenty of people preparing comparisons between the two - and the Young Company should have little to worry about in that respect.

I think this may be the current Young Company's last show before moving on, but I'm sure well be seeing these guys in shows (and writing shows) for many years to come.

1 Heckle

Waldorf said...

This really was a breathtaking piece of theatre - literally. The physicality of the performances had me exhausted. I'd have little hope of gasping anything out let alone delivering lines.

Statler has singled out the female cast members for special mentions, and I agree that their perfomances were perhaps the emotionally stronger. However that shouldn't take away from what Neil Campbell, Scott Hoatson and Neil McNulty brought to the piece.

The choreography was nothing short of stunning, and the set both in the promenade section and the main auditoreum was fantastic. It was a real revelation to see the Easterhouse library returned to 'day mode' when we left.

There were also a couple of jaw dropping moments which detailing would spoil.

Again I agree that one of the couples needed a little more explanation - their relationship was a little unclear and how the fitted into the overall picture (if they did) wasn't completely apparent.

Interestingly - like 'Self Contained' - none of the characters had names.

To be honest it's probably the closest I've been to giving a standing ovation - embarrassment was the only thing keeping me in my seat.