I was extremely pleased to have been invited to this production. An excellent piece of art in every sense of the word. The company of actors from the BA Acting degree at UCLAN have really worked hard to produce this engaging piece of work.
My first impressions began as soon as I arrived at the theatre. There was preset as you collected your ticket of a memorial, with student pictures and several lockers around the space. It really gave an idea of the concept and tone of the piece.
I proceeded into the theatre and I was impressed by the set. It seemed basic initially, but effective, however I soon realised that it was a movable set that enabled scene after scene to be established. This allowed for moments of comedy when the cast would travel across the space on chairs which were imaginary vehicles. A brilliant notion. The reinforced the company working attitude as they moved the set so effectively.
The performances were strong from the cast and some really stood out for me. The lead ‘Vernon’ played by Carl Bownas was brilliant. He played the young teenage role so well without over playing it or making it over the top. He really moved me in the final scenes and his performance captured the sympathy of the audience. He fully embodied the role and had made clear performance decisions vocally and physically.
Roisin McCusker played the mother of Vernon. She had excellent conviction to her performance and brought the naivety to her characterisation. She sustained the accent throughout and brought comedy to her performance with such subtly.
Further comedy was brought to the performance through the actress Emma McCullen. She had great comedy timing and delivery. Benjamin Palmer also stood out to me as he played so many roles within the production and brought different vocal and physical performance decisions to each of his characters.
For me, this shows a versatile performer who commits to each role he has. Alex Penney also provided a strong performance. He was able to draw other characters into his plot by being seductive. He was the role you loved to hate and he played it so well.
The rest of the cast were also very strong and took on several roles each. They embraced this demanding aspect of performance and brought new qualities to each performance.
I would give this performance 5/5 stars. Truly excellent and well directed by Terrence Mann.