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Review of Significant Other: Inc. at The Vaults

Significant Other: Inc
Significant Other: Inc

Significant Other: Inc is a devised piece of theatre that explores Thatcher’s Britain.
It’s 1988, we’re in an unnamed town in working-class England inside Reseal 9 – Reseal 9 is the beating heart of the community. This factory is where generations have worked, socialised and eaten scampi and chips in a basket. It provides work for everyone in the town, a life source for them. If you’re not quite clear how this works a good comparison would be Sheffield’s The Full Monty or the Welsh community in the 2014 film Pride. Although unlike these productions, the creation of Significant Other was very different.

The creation of the piece is very mission impossible, “Your mission… should you chose to accept it” is to devise an engaging immersive performance piece that will run in the Vaults under Waterloo Station. You have 10 days to do this. Do you accept this mission? So, the piece was devised and performed by The Pensive Federation. It was devised/compiled by 10 writers, 40 actors and 5 assistant directors. Each mini team was asked to create a 10-minute story, these stories were then merged into one full performance piece by the Director, Neil J Byden.

Knowing the way in which the piece has been created is really important to my viewing and thoughts about the piece, as sadly it didn’t hit the mark in the way I’d hoped it would. However, in terms of a creative project, it really was quite spectacular what they managed to pull off 10 days!

The project itself is hugely ambitious and one I commend everyone for taking part in. However, the delivery on their first night was not at the high-standards I expect. The concept behind the piece was really interesting and some of the writing was to a very high-standard, however, the piece was very timely and by the time we broke for the first interval almost 1 hour 30 into the piece, I was ready to go home. 

Saying this, the piece wasn’t all bad. There were some fantastic characterisations and some stellar performances, in particular, Antony Cozens as Nigel and Jayne Edwards as Joyce. These two performers were exceptional and really stood out as talents to watch. Their on-stage spark was a delight to watch and their comic timing impeccable. Sadly, due to the huge ensemble of 40 actors, playing 40 characters, there wasn’t enough of these two in the piece.

On a positive note, I had a nice game of 80s bingo, giving myself a smug self-indulgent gold star whenever I could relate to the on-stage references to 80s paraphernalia e.g, cheese and pineapple, Charlene and Scott’s wedding, Hubba Bubba, Uncle Buck and Yuppies with their fast cars and fast women! Sadly this wasn’t enough to make the piece poignant.

For me there were so many things that could have been said about the demise of the community under the ruling of the Iron Lady, however, they decided to opt instead for jokes about the simplicities of the working classes and their hopes and dreams. Although the costume design was pretty fabulous and I really enjoyed re-living some of the outfits seen on stage.

In principle, as a drama school exercise or a piece of theatre for family and friends of the cast, this show would get top marks, but as a commercial piece of theatre, I’m sorry it just didn’t do it for me.

3 Star Review

Review by Faye Stockley

What happens when the heart is ripped out of a community?
It’s 1988, Margaret Thatcher’s third term in office and manufacturing industry in the UK is in sharp decline. This is Jack’s last day in the firm he built up from nothing. The ‘Reseal 9’factory was the town’s biggest employer, social hub and support. What will happen when it and Jack are gone?
An allegory for the loss of the ties that bind us in society and the effect it has on us now, The Pensive Federation are proud to present the 7th Significant Other, this year at the Vaults under Waterloo Station. Ten writers, 40 actors and 5 assistant directors will be asked to create 10 new individual stories completed within 10 days all combined into one full, immersive play. Significant Other: Inc.

Significant Other: Inc
Director/AD Neil. J. Byden
Dramaturgy/LD Serena Haywood
Company Stage Manager Davie Byden-Oakes
Performance Dates April 17th 2018 – 21st April 2018

Author

  • Faye Stockley

    Faye read Theatre & Performance at The University of Warwick; she went on to work as a stage manager in London and Edinburgh. She had a year's stint on-board the MV Island Escape as a Social Host and Compere and now works full time as a Recruitment Manager for the broadcast, entertainment and media sectors.

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