Follow Suit

This debut play from theatre company ‘Silent Faces’ oozes with character and purpose. Described on their website as ‘political clowns’, the cast of four ignite the stage with energy, intrigue and vitality.

The play is a darkly comic look at big business and banking. As the audience entered the stage, the cast of four sat blankly at a row of bleak office desks, staring into the abyss. After several minutes of quiet, barely audible gasps and groans start to bubble up as the actors gradually contort their faces into gross caricatures of grimacing and screaming. The facial muscle control demonstrated by this was hugely impressive.

Very little is said in this piece of physical theatre, but when the actors repeat ‘right, so, great, OK’ the meaningless jargon of office speak becomes clear. The repetition becomes a tool used to see the ebb and flow of share indexes as the plays absurdity rises and falls in conjunction. In their frenzy, the cast frantically rearrange furniture, crawl around the stage and contort their faces with a Berkovian sense of alienation and purpose.

The actors are ever-changing and incessantly absorbing to watch, each one with their own clear characterisation and hilarious ill-fitting suit. Such was the absurdity that a menial paper signing task became a moment of sheer delight, with the actors turning the files into paper-aeroplanes, flying them around the room to the Dance of the Sugar Plum fairies as the audience howled with laughter at this ludicrous ballet.

There is a sudden darker turn in the second half where the skeletons in the stationary cupboard come out to play. However as the hilarity had already been established so strongly, it was hard for the audience to register this sudden change in pace. It was on the other hand an effective parallel to corporate crime, which so often goes unchallenged.

Overall this was a highly entertaining and unusual play, raising important questions in a suitably unique manner with a talented and energetic young cast. One can only assume exciting things are to come of this interesting new company.

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Jane Prinsley

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