This clever and intriguing piece of semi-abstract theatre tackles some grand themes with wit and skill, though it ultimately fails to fully realise its ambitious aims. The opening act sets up four characters through a succession of monologues, which the actors perform while stripped down to their underwear.
The initial impression of a confessional is belied by the challenging stares that the actors give to the audience as they prowl around the perimeter of the stage. Each character has a lot of emotional baggage, from the ‘pretty girl’ who has nevertheless always been lonely, to the youngest child in a family who was always picked on both by his family and by his peers. The connection between all four stories is an unseen character called Marvin, a seemingly angelic figure who intervenes at a particularly low point in each of the character’s lives.
It’s all cleverly staged and well thought-out, with the choreography effectively conveying the emotional tenor of each of the three acts. There are interesting thematic threads running through the play that hook the audience in. However, the script fails to give authentically individual voices to each of its four characters, and some of the peripheral characters (voiced by the rest of the cast whilst each actor gives their monologue) are crude and uninteresting charicatures. Impressively, the entire cast is able to force up real tears on stage for the play’s denouement, but they have failed to engage the audience quite fully enough to evoke an equivalent reaction.