In just 45 minutes, ‘The Lottery Ticket’ supplies the audience with funny moments, serious topics, likable characters, and entertaining storytelling. The play features framed narration, with main character Salih (Nebli Basani) occasionally stepping out of the action to speak to the audience. The actors transition smoothly between these moments and the main events of the play, incorporating this aspect of the script in a way that feels organic.
Another well-incorporated part of the script is the mixing of humor and seriousness. Salih and his friend Jacek (Steven Duffy) both face struggles as immigrants in Scotland. Neither have stable jobs, so Salih cannot go back home and Jacek is unable to send money home to his wife and newborn child. The actors do a brilliant job of portraying the weight that comes with these worries. At the same time, the play gives them – and the audience – room to breathe with funny one-liners and witty banter between the two friends. This lets the serious topics be treated with the respect they deserve, without compromising the overall hopeful tone.
Something that impressed me very much was how strong the writing is for all three of the characters. Donna Franceschild creates three very different characters in Salih, Jacek, and Rhona (Helen Mallon). The differences between them is made clear to the audience in every one of the interactions that they have on the stage. The actors’ performance was of a very high standard from the moment the performance started to its conclusion. On top of this, the script allowed for all three of them to go through some character development in the play’s short runtime. It’s truly something special to be introduced to these characters, bond with them, and watch them grow in the span of 45 minutes.
In terms of the more technical aspects of the show, the set is simple but very charming. The entire story takes place in Rhona’s backyard, which features several well-placed props that provide visual interest and are useful throughout the play. The lighting highlights this well. I enjoyed the switches between the brighter lighting that is used during the story sequences and the dark, single-spotlight lighting that was employed whenever Salih went back into his role as a storyteller talking to the audience. This provided contrast that made the transitions between narrative framing and play action even easier to follow. Having one light in the corner flicker to mimic a faulty streetlight was also a nice touch – it helped to bring the scene to life the same way that the various sound effects did. All in all, the tech was subtle and helped to bring out the best in the piece.
‘The Lottery Ticket’ is a very enjoyable experience that will take you on a ride and leave you feeling impressed with the writing, acting, and tech. I would highly recommend going to see it.