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Mortality at the Hope Theatre | Review

Three teens who don’t have long to live, a clock on the wall counts down, and the audience bears witness to their existential breakdowns. This new play attempts to grasp an understanding of what it means to face your end with a total lack of agency but fails to find the depth of character that would make this a meaningful tale.

MORTALITY - SIMON VAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.
MORTALITY – SIMON VAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.

The play is very straightforward. Three teenagers, who all know they are not long for this world, muck about trying to work out what will make a mark, both on themselves and the world they will soon leave. Home-made tattoos, vandalism and physical altercations all show them raging against their impending fate. The three characters, Dan (Edward Oulton), Lewis (Zak Schetewi) & Jade (Darcy Dixon) are very stereotypical of teenagers, and while I think Oulton is trying to find characters we remember from our childhoods, his writing lacks depth, characters would be compelling if they felt complicated, nuanced and less monotone.

The design harks back to the Sarah Kane-esque sparse stage, microphone, and digital clock. The clock’s placement in the show is obvious but feels like a heavy-handed brush stroke and tells us something that is already woven into the fabric of the play. The microphone offers some more intimate moments, but aside from three semi-confessional monologues, it remains redundant on stage.

Overall, the play gestures towards some more complex moments of reckoning with death, but the performances, lack of complexity in writing, and over-the-top grand demonstrations of emotion hold this piece’s challenging material from resonating.

Review by Tom Carter

What if playing it safe is the most dangerous decision?

When Dan meets Jade and Lewis in a support group for terminally ill young people, the three form an intense bond very quickly. Feeling like they are going to miss out on the life they should have had, they decide to pursue the extremes of life before the hourglass runs dry. This thrilling chase of life, death, and everything in between reveals humour, tragedy and love.

Mortality explores the potential consequences of inaction, and with funny wit and breakneck pace, asks the audience ‘What is the hidden cost of safety?’.

This original new writing is Edward Oulton’s debut play, directed by Cayvan Coates.

CAST
Dan – EDWARD OULTON
Lewis – ZAK SHETEWI
Jade – DARCY DIXON

CREATIVE TEAM
Writer – EDWARD OULTON
Director – CAYVAN COATES
Stage Manager – AMELIA JEAN CRABTREE
Composer – TED FORD

MORTALITY
21st – 25th February 2023
https://www.thehopetheatre.com/

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