By Isabella Fraser
The blurb for Ascension states that each part can be seen as an individual piece and, while this may be true, there is a great deal that the audience can benefit from in having seen Part 1 before this section of the story. While this show is almost as wordy as Part 1, it feels as if there is less of an over-whelming burden of text to impart.
As in Part 1, the strength in this production lies in the sections where the large cast is choreographed together, creating striking imagery, of otherworldly existence. The set is used creatively and the seven deadly sins sit very well in it. Unfortunately sounds effects peak with the opening section, which is a pity as the voiceover from recent world events is particularly effective in setting the scene, creating a very strong atmosphere. This really helps to connect to the events unfolding throughout the show and had there been more or similar moments throughout the body of the play, this is likely to have deepened the sense of currency.
With such a large and young cast, there is often a range of acting experience and ability, and so it is with this piece. This detracts from the storyline at times, as some of the roles need stronger voices and understanding of the meaning. Voices that are tasked with being a more challenging or less likeable character need to have grit and depth to them and when this does not exist, it weakens the storytelling.
As with Part 1, there is extremely limited use of immersive theatre in this show which is disappointing, especially with Fourth Monkey’s reputation for immersive work. This is likely, in part, due to the constraints of the space but some more connection to the audience may have enhanced the strength of the underlying message in the text.
A brave and challenging piece, this is a good start, but it has potential to develop into a much stronger text.