Tuesday, 29 October 2019

One Under - Curve Review

Winsome Pinnock's drama arrives at Curve as part of it's new UK tour. The play is radically remodelled from the original 2005 staging. It's pruned down into a 95-minute gripping tale production which is commissioned by Ramps on the Moon and produced by Theatre Royal Plymouth and Graeae and presented in association with Curve.
Reece Pantry (Sonny) and Stanley J Browne (Cyrus). Photo by Patrick Baldwin
Producers, world-renowned theatre company Graeae continue their groundbreaking work of making theatre accessible. This production uses captions and offers audio description at every performance It's wonderful to see such inclusive theatre delivered at such a quality level.

The play follows London Underground train driver, Cyrus, who has to leave his job following the suicide of Sonny who jumps in front of his train. The play shifts the guilt onto Cyrus and his search for answers to what led Sonny to do this.

Told through flashbacks, the play is gripping and whilst the narrative does rely heavily on coincidence it's a deep and thought-provoking piece. Director Amit Sharma has done a splendid job to make the play concise and fast-moving. It's a great reason for more conversation too about men's mental health.
Shenagh Govan (Nella)  & Evlyne Oyedokun (Zoe).
Photo by Patrick Baldwin
The five actors are superb. Stanley J. Browne who bears a real resemblance to Idris Elba is strong throughout as Cyrus. The characters journey through the play as he searches for clues and answers is powerfully performed by Stanley. Reece Pantry Sonny is touching, as an audience member, you find yourself too trying to piece together what leads this young man to end his life.

Shenagh Govan is touching as Nella, Sonny's foster mother. Her relationship with Cryus was particularly intriguing to watch bubble. Clare Louise English is likeable as Christine, a laundrette worker who Sonny spends his final night with, wishing to grant her three wishes. Evlyne Oyedokun's Zoe is strong and moving, especially towards to plays final scenes, she's a fantastic young actress.

The five actors play the plays fast natured narrative superbly, aided by Amelia Jane Hankin's simple but effective design.

As someone who has suffered from mental health issues and been to quite dark places personally, I found the whole thing gripping and deeply thought-provoking. A play I'm really glad I've seen and I wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone. Tense, gripping and hugely enjoyable.

Rating: ★★★★ - fast-paced thrilling, thought-provoking and superbly performed.

One Under plays at Curve on Wednesday 30th October for tickets visit https://www.curveonline.co.uk/.  The tour continues till December including a run at London's Arcola Theatre, visit https://graeae.org/our-work/one-under/ for further details.
Reece Pantry (Sonny) & Clare-Louise English (Christine) Photo by Patrick Baldwin.

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