EFR - Reviews of #ICYMI

#ICYMI

Tue 9th – Sat 13th August 2016

reviews

Isobel Roser

at 02:00 on 10th Aug 2016

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From the Pacifica Actors and Artists Company comes '#ICYMI', an abbreviated term standing for ‘in case you missed it’. If you did happen to miss this play you should not be disappointed, as the poor script and frequently wooden acting offers little to relish. I had high hopes for this production upon entering the theatre, expecting an engaging commentary on the millennial way of life. Instead, the play centres on a bizarre series of incongruous events and circumstances, which fail to tie together in any respect. Cheesy lines and an inexplicable plot make for a show lacking in both substance and style.

The production is set in an American bar where seven characters are trapped after a series of unexpected explosions. With no means of communicating with the outside world and the prospect of impending doom upon the horizon, they are propelled to act on instinct and make irrational decisions that they would normally avoid. Not a bad premise by any means; there is certainly potential in the concept. However the script inhibits any opportunity for the exploration of deeper themes, which in turn makes the story seem farcical and ridiculous.

The characters appear to believe that they may not have long to live, but none of them seem to be concerned about this, choosing instead to read, check their phones or mix drinks. After the initial shock of the loud noises and loss of power, the group appear to be too preoccupied to care. Obviously I understand that this may be a deliberate commentary on the idea that millennials are easily distracted, but it seems absurd to think that the characters would simply ignore their potential mortality. The weakness of the script is only heightened when the bartender announces that it just so happens that he can officiate marriage ceremonies, after Bobby’s successful proposal to fellow customer Danielle. As a whole, the plot and script are stupidly predictable, failing to make any deeper points due to the inanity of the writing.

The play is most let down by the script and directorial decisions, as opposed to the performance from the actors. Jonathan Sims, who portrays Bobby, is the stand-out performer, delivering comedic elements with charm and panache. The actors cannot help the fact that the characters they have been presented with are so two-dimensional and uneven.

It is a shame that the cast had such a problematic script to contend with; it restricts and confines their ability to perform well. '#ICYMI’s' bizarre plot combined with poorly thought-out characters, makes for a play that leaves a bitter-taste.

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Caragh Aylett

at 16:42 on 10th Aug 2016

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'#ICYMI' or In Case You Missed It, seeks to explore the troubles of being a 21st century citizen faced with the possibility of death.

The premise of the production is obscure. It is based in a New York City bar where regular Bobby decides that he is to propose to the first woman that he meets, who happens to be Danielle. Following an explosion, he takes the plunge and proposes to her to which, for some absurd reason, she agrees. After the realisation that the aftermath of the explosion will not result in death they decide that actually marrying each other is still the best option and, one is to assume, they live happily ever after.

Another couple are presented equally as ridiculously. Throughout the piece ‘Grace’ consistently ignores a man in the bar, Malachi, before announcing that she is in love with him and is rejected. Furthering this Malachi proposes to her (I honestly have no idea why, or how, this turn of events occurs) which she then rejects, hands him ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’, and then leaves.

This questionably story line is coupled with some questionable acting. ‘Grace’ trips and stumbles over her lines on several occasions and when not doing this the character of a clever but obnoxious woman she presents is bizarre. Equally, ‘Ainsley’, a social-media obsessed bar tender, struggles to act throughout the piece. At the beginning she mumbles her lines quietly and quickly before hugely overacting the character and coming across as hugely two dimensional. It would be unfair to say that the acting was poor throughout. There are some strong actors, the character of the Bartender and that of Bobby are certainly worth mentioning. However, they are consistently undermined by the bizarre and horrendous script that they are acting. This is not helped by the slow light and sound cues which certainly reduce the professionalism of the play.

For a show based around marriage and proposals, their comments regarding it are absurd: ‘It’s only having sex with the same person and only hanging out with them all the time, it’s no big deal." Their statements on the topic undermined matrimony more than Kim K’s 90 day stint. I am not sure whether the message to be conveyed is that in the modern age love and marriage are easy but if this is the idea then it was certainly not portrayed profoundly.

'#ICYMI' is a show with a strange storyline and pretty average acting. I definitely felt #blessed when it was over.

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