Thursday, 28 February 2013

Your Place Or Mine - review

Ovalhouse Theatre, London

Your Place Or Mine is the latest project undertaken by Tim Redfern and David Sheppeard that takes place in the Café Gallery of the Ovalhouse Theatre. The short piece explores the difficulties that two colleagues face when attempting to downsize an archive, discussing what makes a history worth saving.

The text is interesting enough, although the overall performances given by Redfern and Sheppeard lacks depth, meaning that the execution of some lines feels underdeveloped and flat in the central scenes. Conversations between the pair regarding the Turning archive are arguably the most important plot-wise but are certainly not the most engaging; the various characters being played by the two men need more substance for the audience to differentiate between them in the quick changing scenes. Of most interest are the sections of telephone transcription where Redfern and Sheppeard both perform convincingly, establishing the distance needed to make this particular conversation believable. In these sections their individual characters seem much more detailed and both members of the pair are equally strong, confident in their vocal delivery. The actors’ focus throughout these sections is what carries the piece and when re-evaluating their progress Redfern and Sheppeard should be attentive to these strengths and extend this level of consideration to the rest of the script.

As the piece flits between conversations so rapidly, albeit keeping the play tight, there is still space for development and sometimes scenes feel undernourished, leaving the prospective audience eager for more insight. The pair explore some sophisticated ideas but the piece is let down by a general lack of direction which is something that will need more attention if the piece is to be extended and developed further. Furthermore, the stage of progress for the piece as a presented whole was unclear; while there appears to have been thought given to lighting and set design, the performances themselves felt inadequate. The stage is cluttered with props that invite the audience into the archive made in the humble space of the Ovalhouse Café Gallery and there is sufficient consideration given to the lighting design in order to transport the audience between scenes, however, given that the performers still have scripts in hand, props become problematic at times, and contribute to some clunky acting. Once again the attention to detail is half-hearted - the boxes are noticeably empty and so the sense of urgency with the possibility of this archive being totally erased is lost.  

Your Place Or Mine sets out to explore some strong issues but doesn’t quite lead anywhere, which is disappointing. The extract presented feels very much like an opening section to a longer piece, but this is not made clear. Thirty minutes is certainly long enough for a script to accomplish a sense of direction, yet Your Place Or Mine would benefit from being extended in order to play out certain scenes of interest. The piece is still very much in the rehearsal process but there are plenty of interesting ideas to flesh out from this presentation of new material as its artistic process continues.

This production runs until 2 March 2013.
For more information visit: 

Follow us on Twitter / Like us on Facebook

No comments: