Mon 11th – Sat 23rd August 2014


Flo Layer

at 21:30 on 19th Aug 2014



Trinity Fringe Productions promised that Glue would be a show all about spermatozoa. The last thing I expected was a sincere and lengthy hour-and-a-half show with serious monologue recital, intense dystopian drama and an educational re-enactment of the fertilisation process.

The opening play of three, 'Pax Materna’ followed the challenges of an increasing scarcity of sperm as it explored the dystopian world of ‘new motherhood’. With only one thousand babies born in Britain annually, the journey of motherhood was recast as a brutal test of mothering skills, a dark mix of ‘pampers and shanking’.

Margaret and Maisie (Holly Gorne and Victoria Hingley), two wholeheartedly opposite personalities, fought it out on stage throughout the cruel interrogation. While at first the clash felt engaging and tense, the whole play seemed to last longer than a nine-month pregnancy and began to collapse into dull monotony. Although the closing twist was undoubtedly dramatic, it was incredibly overdue.

Of course the show must go on, and the audience was next introduced to Patrick in ‘Siring’, an insecure secondary school biology teacher with a weakness for sadistic punishment and self-pity. The monologue seemed to aspire towards an Alan Bennett-esque complexity (indeed some lines seemed to have almost been lifted directly from the style of Hector in The History Boys – ‘a life unproductive, unproducing’) and at times it reached emotional peaks. Jack Chisnell remained superbly in character throughout and his ability to recite the whole, incredibly lengthy speech was impressive.

Finally the show took a turn for the absurd with the silly climax of 'The Acrosome Reaction’, in a literal manifestation of the subject matter which I had originally been expecting. Jack Taylor arrived as Gareth, the sperm cell whose costume left little to the imagination, circling the passive and disgruntled Greta the egg. The erratic (and supposedly humorous) overflow of scientific information about the process of fertilisation after what had been an intense hour of monologue and drama suddenly felt incredibly out of place. Unfortunately, the acting in this final third did not live up to previous accomplishments and the show ended on a bit of an anticlimactic low.

Although Glue is only half an hour longer than the usual chunk of time of a fringe show, it felt much, much longer. Despite some admittedly inventive and clever writing from Rory Platt, and the brief glimpse of brilliant acting, the whole thing lacked the coherence needed to make the show "stick" in my mind.


Jeremy Barclay

at 21:32 on 19th Aug 2014



I believe there is a puerile teenage boy in us all: it’s the part of us that gets excited by a leaflet that says ‘three short plays about spermatozoa’. This is what Trinity Fringe Productions’ piece of new writing, Glue, promises. But the advertising is really where the juvenile associations with ejaculation finish. Glue is a mature and surprisingly un-comedic show that has a lot to say.

‘Pax Materna’, the first of the three short plays, is a slow-reveal piece set in a dystopian future. Fertile sperm is so rare that it has to be government controlled, with women going through an application process to become mothers. This is interesting and well performed by Holly Gorne and Victoria Hingley, who portray a spiteful dalliance between two potential mothers with very different outlooks.

Writer Rory Platt litters the dialogue with Orwellian NewSpeak in an attempt to create what feels like a short episode of Black Mirror. Unfortunately, whilst staging a convincing dystopia, the piece does not feel particularly original.

The dramatic ending of the first piece is delightfully contrasted by a stunning performance from Jack Chisnall. He delivers a consistently engaging monologue, ‘Siring’, as an exhausted secondary school teacher pondering the virility of his most troublesome student.

Chisnall’s monologue is relevant in a way that Pax Materna is not, undercutting the Michael Govian atmosphere of modern day schooling. Chisnall’s performance deserves special mention; his half hour monologue never looses momentum and is stoic and amusing in equal measure.

This promising piece is followed by the incredibly disappointing short play ‘The Acrosome Reaction’. Where ‘Pax Materna’ and ‘Siring’ display some real purpose and subtlety, this uninspiring play feels like a thinly veiled science lesson. While I assume that the many gamete related facts wedged into the script are intended to make me stare at my own crotch in wonder, I am instead distracted by the unfortunately emphasised crotch of Jack Taylor’s, whose slap-dash Sperm costume does not seem to fit so swimmingly. Compared to the rest of the plays, the dialogue here feels platitudinous and repetitive.

Platt’s three plays are diverse if nothing else, and in places show real promise not only from his writing, but also from the performers themselves. This production deserves praise for broaching its subject from mostly interesting angles, but needs more work to gestate into a must-see show.


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