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The Shape of Things - Original Theatre Review

Reviewed by Constance Bole
The female of the species is more deadlier than the male.
"The Shape of Things" is a masterpiece of naturalism. Theplay challenges its audience's perceptions of art, love, and the malleability of identity. The narrative encourages the audience to question the characters' motivations and the true nature of their relationshipsand the concept itself is both refreshing and daring, exploring the lengths people are willing to go to in order to transform themselves and those around them.

Photo by Mary Douet

The cast's performances were striking, with each actor perfectly capturing the essence of their characters' emotional struggles. The chemistry between the characters added authenticity to the complex dynamics portrayed on stage, and the thrust staging allowed for an intimate, engaging experience
The performance held influences of Brecht throughout it. Theminimal staging, which used clear negative space that the characters admired a ‘sculpture’ in, created an alienation with the audience that made it clear we were watching a performance. Furthering this, the use of thrust staging meant the audience was in constant awareness of themselves and those around them – supported by the inference of the audience portraying characters of ‘the audience’ in the performance – meant the illusion of being drawn into the world of the play was never quite complete.
Brecht as a theatre practitioner used his jarring techniques to remind the audience that they are watching a performance in order to keep them conscious of the morality behind the story unfolding before them and The Shape of Things combines these techniques with more normative theatre techniques brilliantly to create a story that is compelling and shocking, whilst also reminding the audience that the manipulation and toxicity being shown are very real things that happen, as displayed in a very literal sense in the performance, all around them.

Photo by Mark Douet

The one downfall of the play was its pacing. At moments, the intensity was gripping, while at others, the momentum felt slightly lost and moments felt over-played. This unevenness hindered the play's potential to keep the audience fully engrossed.
Overall, The Shape of Things presents an intriguing exploration of relationships and personal transformation and has a thought-provoking storyline which delves into the complexities of art, love, and the manipulation of appearances. Its main strength lies in its ability to spark discussions about the blurred lines between manipulation and genuine transformation, and although it suffers slight pacing issues, it nonetheless offers an interesting perspective on the power dynamics within relationshipsthe impact of self-discovery, and the ethical implications of reshaping oneself, or someone else, in the name of art.

You can stream The Shape of Things through Original Theatre’s website - 

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