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The Least We Could Do at the Hope Theatre

Problems are piled on in this show, but they are, for the most part, self-inflicted. Charlie (Melissa Saint) is a writer, or at least that’s what her fiancé Kieran (Dan Wolff) calls her. Then there’s Levi (Olivia Lindsay), a television presenter with a substantial social media following. Or perhaps she was an influencer in the first place who was taken on by some television network or other to be a part of what I presume was a reality show. The order of things doesn’t seem important. Or is it? In a late scene, there’s a reference to a timeline of events being questioned by third parties – somewhat ironically, not every scene in the play is presented in forward chronological order.

The Least We Could Do - Photographer Lidia Crisafulli.
The Least We Could Do – Photographer Lidia Crisafulli.

On a nearly bare stage, each scene looks more or less like the rest – that Kieran and Charlie stare at menus in one scene is one of the only definitive indications of location. True, the dialogue makes it clear enough when a scene is in Charlie’s place, though whether it’s a flat or a house, owned outright or with a mortgage or rented, and so on, isn’t made clear. Come to think of it, the play seems to raise more questions than it answers. When Charlie, who writes for an entertainment magazine that still has print editions in 2023, persuades her editor to run a feature-length article that she (Charlie) has written about Levi, the implications are, as far as Charlie is concerned, unexpected and unforeseen.

Morals and ethics come into play, although the script is nuanced enough to portray each of the three characters as complicated and human. Levi didn’t want certain details that found their way into the article to become public knowledge, but she let her guard down, and confided in someone, and that someone confided in someone else. Charlie was so sure Levi would be able to handle whatever media pressure would arise from her article – after all, this is a strong, independent woman who oozes positivity in her social media output and is an inspiration to many despite also having many detractors.

The actors are all convincing, even if their characters come across as a tad naïve. For some reason, they sit on the floor every so often during the show, which means in a studio space without a raised stage and without a rake, if you’re in the front row, you get a continuously good view, and if you’re not, you don’t.

If the play judges anyone, it seems to be the keyboard warriors out there (no, not theatre reviewers) who jump to conclusions and make the most extreme and judgemental remarks online. ‘A’ should be cancelled, ‘B’ should never be allowed to work again, ‘C’ should be hung, drawn and quartered – that sort of thing. The show refutes the notion that sticks and stones may break one’s bones, but words shall never harm someone. It’s not a watertight script – there were several moments in which I thought there could have been alternative and more plausible choices made by the characters. But the show shines a perceptive light on a very real, relatable and contemporary problem, and there are far fewer recipients of harsh feedback that truly deserve it.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

If we were aware that our words could irreversibly dismantle someone’s life, would we not be more cautious? Would we opt for compassion instead of cruelty?

Kath Haling’s drama shines a spotlight on the unravelling of individuals caught in the unforgiving gaze of the public eye and explores the dark side of fame and the consequences of our collective actions.

Join us for a powerful and thought-provoking piece that will leave you pondering the power of your choices and the profound responsibility we all bear in shaping the lives of others.

Content warning: mental health, pregnancy loss and suicide.

Cast
Charlie – MELISSA SAINT
Levi – OLIVIA LINDSAY
Kieran – DAN WOLFF

Production Team
Writer – KATH HALING
Director – KATHARINE FARMER
Assistant Director – JESSICA ROSE SAUNDERS
Stage Manager – NELL THOMAS
Set Designer – TALLULAH CASKEY
Lighting Designer – HECTOR MURRAY
Sound Designer – ANNA SHORT
Costume Designer – TALLULAH CASKEY
Production Photographer LIDIA CRISAFULLI
PR – CLIONA ROBERTS
Marketing – LIAM MCLAUGHLIN

10 – 28 OCT 2023
THE LEAST WE COULD DO
https://www.thehopetheatre.com/

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