Face to Face @ The Drayton Arms Theatre Review

Being able to step out of your home, whether that be for work, to meet up with friends, or to go to the local supermarket to do your weekly shopping, walking out of the doorway daily is a release in itself. A freedom that I’m sure is more of an unconscious celebration than an overtly celebrated action, there’s no doubt that we humans need that interaction with the outside world to function.

Face to Face at Drayton Theatre © Sam Mellish

Face to Face at Drayton Theatre © Sam Mellish

Written by Heather Jeffery, and presented by Lonesome Schoolboy ProductionsFace to Face is an exploration of the outside world’s shift from friend to foe as it’s protagonist, Rachel finds her world toppled upside down. Facing a long period of recovery from an accident she has sadly endured, it is evident that the healing process is more than just about physical injury, but also about emotionally and mentally healing.

Daily, Rachel finds herself counting down the days, presumably so she is able to finally take off the bandages, as well as the emotional shackles that bind her to her home. Rebecca Bell‘s Rachel preoccupies herself with the creation of artworks, Provided by artist Hardijs Gruduls, as the stage is clustered with portraits and sculptures. Bell presents a determined Rachel, an artist hypnotised by the though of her creations saving her from her emotional burden, however I miss the nuance with Rachel. Jeffrey’s elaborate monologues for Rachel are performed pristinely, but need an edge.

Tom Telford‘s Greg, Rachel’s sitter, and a writer, is endearing as a character driven to make others happy, however again lacks nuance. Lindsey Chaplin gives a standout performance as Ajani, a bold, fiery, go getting careers woman perplexed by Rachel, her sister’s growing isolation against the outside world. Via the means of Skype, the two sisters find themselves communicating , a clever subtle commentary by Jeffery, questioning the boundaries we all face in society in due to the advancement of social media.

Joey Bartram‘s Shaun, Ajani’s sleazy boyfriend attempts to cause chaos in the production, the antagonistic presence capable of dividing Ajani and Rachel apart, however his character doesn’t reach his potential within the play. His character is questionable in whether he truly wants to help Rachel and Ajani, or whether he has his own intentions, and that in itself causes complexity however is not fully realised within the production. Face to Face is thematically rich, however needs to paint a picture of 4 fully developed characters in order to evoke emotional investment. 3/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Face to Face is currently showing at the Drayton Arms Theatre until Saturday 23rd May. For more information on the production, visit here…

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