Friday, 23 April 2021

REVIEW: Outside by Orange Tree Theatre (Online)

Following the first instalment of ‘Inside’ performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, we are back with the second half, ‘Outside’ continues the theme of short plays written by emerging and established writers. Small disclaimer there were some technical difficulties in the performance I watched but the Orange Tree Theatre provided a complimentary ticket to watch another show, so massive thank you for their kind gesture. 

Firstly the design element of the stage was created by Camilla Clarke and I loved the use of the scattered plants to give a real authentic feel to the play being set outside. This combined with the soft, warm lighting provided by Rajiv Pattani really had me immersed in the spring/summer vibe of the three pieces. 

‘Two Billion Beats’ by Sonali Bhattacharyya follows two street smart teenagers as they discover their false identities they portray to their peers. The two girls, Asha (played by Zainab Hasan) and Bettina (played by Ashna Rabheru) had a quickfire banter on stage that really ignited the youthfulness of the characters. The pace of the dialogue allowed for the tender moments to become that even bit more special.

The next production was ‘Prodigal' by Kalungi Ssebandeke which sees the reunion of brother and sister after the passing of their mother. This for me was the most real piece of the night. With the struggle Rita (played by Robinah Kironde) has of balancing the loss of her mother and the passive-aggressive hate received from her brother Kasuija (played by Fiston Barek) we witness the breaking of a Black woman that just wants inner peace in society. Dynamically the power shift between the two actors was thrilling to watch with the upper hand constantly changing, and my emotions for each actor switching drastically dependent on their actions/intentions. A wholesome piece that was too short, I left wanting more. 

Finally ‘The Kiss’ by Zoe Cooper shows a monologue piece where the protagonist Lou (beautifully played by Temi Wilkey) explains to us the difficulties of moving to a new area and the struggles she bears with being outside. First off, bravo to the casual accent changes by Temi Wilkey throughout the piece as she changed from character to character seamlessly. This was a fun, light-hearted piece with a deep meaningful undertone, which I believe is the best way to convey a message as I subconsciously took away the anxiety and depression she felt as she displayed it through comedy. A lovely performance to end the show.

A fantastic overall special of 6 shows that had different writers and styles which were all enjoyable to watch. Altogether I enjoyed the selection of plays from ‘Outside’ rather than ‘Inside’. Maybe due to the more freedom we have now or it could be that I’m more of an outdoor person but nether less a wonderful display of theatre and I hope they have more collections like this in the future.

Review by Corey Mitchell

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £32.00
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