Outside

Wed 1st – Mon 27th August 2018

reviews

Lottie Hayton

at 11:26 on 19th Aug 2018

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‘Outside’, written and performed by new theatre company Clay Party, had a promising start. A newsflash announced the end of some sort of curfew and we honed in on the flat of Eddie and Charlie, his flatmate. The interaction between these two, indeed between all three characters once Rosie, the girlfriend of Eddie entered, was well acted. Unfortunately, some of the script was rather low energy and it felt at points like we were accidentally overhearing a casual chat between friends.

The idea of the curfew and the suggestions of attacks, one of which Charlie’s sister is revealed to have survived, were intriguing. The idea, however was left undeveloped, and actually felt unnecessary to the plot.

Also a little unnecessary were the amount of issues crammed into each character. Especially with Rosie, it felt like the audience was being told: "oh look, this is a woman! She has all the women’s issues." Her suspected pregnancy, then the revelation of an abortion was left unexplored though – her characterisation felt one dimensional and at times unrealistic. Charlie and Eddie also seemed to have too much going on for just an hour-long piece.

The constant use of the phrase "going forwards" was grating and some lines a little stilted but for the first piece of writing from this company, it must be said that it was in parts a well written portrayal of the confusion of life as a Millennial. Small details like the home pod ‘Alexa’ added moments of humour and props and lighting were used to good effect.

Although there were issues with some aspects of ‘Outside’ it was endearing and well-acted. This young, new company is certainly one to watch out for in future.

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Rowan Evans

at 12:00 on 19th Aug 2018

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I appreciate when shows draw attention to moments of the mundane. The idea that something world-changing could be happening outside – but people are inside doing normal things. Because people are people, and sometimes, they just want to have a nice chat. These were the moments when ‘Outside’ was best. It was when it got serious that the show felt lacklustre.

The debut production from Clay Party follows three adults in their mid-twenties, as a nationwide curfew is about to be lifted. This acts as an underscore to their personal problems and disagreements.

The use of the radio was evocative, and slowly revealed what was happening in the outside world. It kept the audience guessing, adding a sense of mystery to the narrative. When someone would change the radio to a party mix, it was frustrating, but made the apartment feel more real.

The show began as more of a sit-com. Two men were just sat talking, and had the audience laughing along with their weird antics. It was awkward in the kind of endearing way you like to see in this kind of production.

While the show claimed it tackled issues of “toxic masculinity”, I found its woman character written in a heavy-handed manner. The fact that she had two mums was a well-intentioned idea but was just used as a weak device. It felt unnecessary for us to know this piece of information.

The character interactions at times felt clunky. I think this was down to the writing more than performances, but areas of awkward acting did not help.

The best character was Charlie, played by writer Edward Stone, who was most convincing, and had the majority of the laughs. There was a moment when a heated argument was interrupted by him dropping a knife on his own foot, defusing the situation with hilarity.

‘Outside’ is a funny play with great potential. If it ironed out its creases it could become something brilliant. I am looking forward to seeing what Clay Party do in the future.

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