Wednesday, 20 April 2022

REVIEW: Tapped at Theatre 503

Is there anything more motivating in the world than a pep talk, a club bar, and ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet? If you’re thinking yes, then you need to get down to ‘Go Get It’ Gavi’s (Max Hastings) motivational self-help group as he tries to inspire the community of Stapleford. So far his only problem is he’s only got two members, mother and daughter Dawn (Jennifer Daley) and Jen (Olivia Sweeney)

From start to finish Gavi runs the show, though it seems the group almost appears to be a coping mechanism for his mental battle, the deeper the show delves it almost seems the group is the only thing keeping him alive. The irony behind the self-help he offers within the group but not allowing help from others makes the show even more poignant and hard-hitting. 

Hastings delivers a performance worthy of praise. Throughout he’s comedic and filled with both energy and intensity. It makes his moments of despair more compelling. Daley also adds to the comedy as Dawn; She embodies the typical townsfolk character, she’s comical and what makes it so much more clever is how you’re sitting there almost telling yourself you know a Dawn. Finally, Sweeney also adds to the comedy. Though her character Jen appears much more serious throughout, with more blunt humour. However, the conversations between mother and daughter are both comical and moving as the show progresses. The trio all perform remarkably. 

What is most impressive though, is writer Katie Redford. Being her debut play she tackles a heavy subject but with gentility and compassion. The comedy intertwined around the mention of mental health means the subject is never the joke but dealt with in a delicate way that gives it the respect it deserves. 

The way the world is constantly moving forward, subjects that seemed taboo or conversations that proved difficult to have are now more than ever being openly encouraged and discussed. Mental health is a prime example. It’s now more than ever ok to not be ok, the shame and the stigma labelled to it are finally on their way out. 

Redford has made her stage writing mark, a massive one at that. Director Piers Black has made use of the small staging to allow the trio to flourish and be as big as possible. All the while whilst putting across a message that will stick for some time.

Review by George Butler

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: D4 | Price of Ticket: £17
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