Front of House Theatre Company is made up off (you guessed it) front of house staff from the National Theatre. Each short play presented was written, directed and performed by front of house staff and, perhaps unsurprisingly, this led to an excellent night of varied and exciting new theatre.
My favourite play of the night was titled Something Like Light written by Sophie McKay. Set in a war zone it explores the idea of right and wrong, and just how far we would go to help others (and ourselves). With impressive performances from Olivia Meguer as the righteous journalist and Tom Campion as the sleazy people smuggler, this play was the perfect end to the first half, leaving the audience with something to ponder over their interval drinks. I am desperate to know what would have happened next and was very disappointed when the lights went up. Its subject matter and intelligent nature mean it certainly wouldn’t be out of place on a bigger stage.
Another play that left me wanting more was Blackout by Gavin J Innes. There’s nothing abnormal about waking up after a drunken night out with few memories, next to someone you don’t know, but as the neurotic Jessica and laid back Murray try to piece together the events of last night, things take a more sinister turn and the audience is left with more questions than answers. Whilst the two characters felt somewhat like caricatures rather than real people, a huge twist near the end meant that I had forgiven this and, once again, was left desperate to know what happens next.
What a Liberty! and Human Nature were also thought-provoking plays.- What A Liberty! about where human rights and freedom of expression end, and Human Nature about the perils of technology. Both were well written and well acted, and very interesting to watch.
In contrast to the above, The Bum-Guff King provided some light relief, telling the story of a failing king who doesn’t really see the seriousness of the situation developing around him. Whilst the play provided a direct contrast to the other darker plays, and Callum Roberston provided a very entertaining portrayal of the king, there were points where it became slightly irritating in its ridiculousness.
The final play – Patterns in the Sky by Katherine Kotz – was the most emotional of the plays. When Alison’s friend Roxanne is given a few months to live, how can she cope? Sophie Ormond gave a strong performance as the tentative and unsure Alison which provided excellent contrast to the matter of fact Roxanne, played by Tricia Wey. The combination of death and friendship, and coping with them, is nothing new but it is certainly powerful material for a play because it is something that everyone can relate to.
Overall, Let The Write One In was an enjoyable night of thought provoking and entertaining theatre, showcasing the immense talent that is seen throughout the front of house staff at the National.
Review by Emily Diver
Front of House Theatre Company returns to The Vaults with their third new writing showcase, Let the Write One In.