By Isabella Fraser
Performing to a packed house, the play on day of review was Ctrl Z by Linda McLean, directed by Laurie Sansom, with a cast of 5 actors and 1 beatboxer.
These plays are staged readings and it takes skill to direct this style of performance while making it clear to all what is happening in the text. The layout chosen for this reading is deceptively simple with chairs and a stand; all becomes clear within a couple of minutes of the text beginning.
A truly innovative addition to the script is the use of beatbox artist Ball-Zee (Patrick Hirst) to perform the sound effects, which he does exceptionally well – he is a three-time UK Champion. This also gives the feel of an old school radio play, which the production is not, but it brings an alertness to the play to have the loud sound effects, as opposed to pre-recorded sounds. This alertness ties-in to the theme of the play. Every effect is discernible and the addition of a live person making these sounds adds to the pathos of the piece which revolves around two parts of a family – the son who is separate from his family and the family on the way to see him.
The actors are a strong team, with each bringing truth to characters you can recognise in every day life. Without giving away too much about this play, it is about something that can affect us all: the lyricism, rhythm and pace which McLean’s beautifully written script captures that is well worth the early morning. As the two worlds in the play get closer, the text interacts more with the different thoughts of the characters, and that this appears seamless is testament to the quality of the entire ensemble. It would have been easy to stay and listen to more.