EFR - Reviews of Save + Quit

Save + Quit

Sat 6th – Mon 29th August 2016

reviews

Ellie Donnell

at 22:15 on 20th Aug 2016

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Split between the lives of two Londoners and two Dubliners, ‘Save and Quit’ is an insightful telling of their respective urban lifestyles, and the problems they have each encountered in the city. The style is simple but effective, with the entire performance being documented in freeze frames, flicking between the male and female parts of Joe, Steph, Cara and Dylan. However, the pace doesn’t feel rushed and the audience is given a chance to connect with the stories of each.

The room is dark and, apart for two solitary chairs placed side by side, the stage bare. It reflects the tone of the piece: four troubled characters struggling with personal feelings of isolation and unhappiness. A mere spotlight serves to illuminate the speaker whilst the other is plunged into darkness. With nowhere to hide, the cast literally have a chair and a script to work with. Luckily, the dialogue is inventive and the acting superb, resulting in a profoundly intimate and deeply moving performance.

There are moments of humour but these are not characteristic to the piece; rather, comedy becomes a byproduct of the expressive and diverse nature of the acting. Each character recalls their lives to the audience in an animated and immersive way as they perform each and every persona they encounter. The dialogue, therefore, is littered with an array of accents and characters beyond the literal ones we see on stage, and enriches the play in personality and intrigue.

All four actors exemplify dramatic prowess. The acting is consistent throughout and, although Joe and Steph played by Eddie Robinson and Josie Charles execute an impressive introduction to the piece, it is the Dubliners’ performance that truly tears at the audience's heartstrings. Branigan musters real tears during the final moments of the show, whilst Mooney’s sorrowful gaze is just as heart-rending.

The structure of the show is, unfortunately, very repetitive which makes the performance feel a little long and laboured. It needn’t be more concise, just fifteen minutes shorter to remover the threat of the audience losing attention. Nevertheless, ‘Save and Quit’ showcases some incredible talent in its acting, direction and dialogue and it is a true pleasure to have experienced such promising flair first-hand.

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Ed Grimble

at 11:20 on 21st Aug 2016

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In ‘Save + Quit’, Hairpin Productions present a pair of duologues in which they explore the nature of modern urban living, and how individuals experience large conurbation. The play is a triumph of both writing and acting, depicting the ways in which urbanity provides myriad potentials for chance encounters, whilst also looking at the ineluctable nature of memory.

Joe (Eddie Joe Robinson) and Steph (Josie Charles) both live in London. The former is in a period of transition, still very much grieving the loss of his father. Indeed, he seems something of a drifter, without stability or an actor point; his first speech recounts an episode spent riding the Tube, unable or unconsciously unwilling to get off at his initially intended destination. Steph is a newly qualified primary school teacher, working at a struggling and challenging school. Her voice is perhaps the strongest of the play; through this one individual ‘Save + Quit’ touches on issues of institutional racism and discrimination, the role of teachers in our society, and the injustice of seeing a bright young thing born into poverty and domestic instability.

Robinson and Charles do not put a foot wrong throughout their half an hour duologue. Extremely emotive, they imitate the people about who they are talking with gusto and imagination, and their naturalistic, uncomplicated dialogue is almost conversational- there are no great poetic speeches in ‘Save + Quit’, but rather the language of the everyday is used masterfully. Likewise with Niamh Branigan and Peter Mooney, who play Dubliners Cara and Dylan. Their thick brogues are laced with idiom and colloquialism, in a way that seems to conjure up the ineffable essence of Irish life far more than lengthy exposition or clumsy description. Their duologues are equally as complex as the first, exploring the bond of family, the pains of loss and memory, and how we all as very small individuals must strive to exist and establish our place in what can be very alienating cities.

‘Save + Quit’ is then both agonisingly simple in its premise and execution; as a theatrical spectacle it is almost non-existent. Instead, it relies on some terrific young actors who flawlessly pull off a very impressive script. It reaches out and touches on a sweeping array of issues associated with modern urban living, all of which are handled with tact- this is a hugely successful play.

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