Guest reviewer: Rhys Payne
When I initially read the title of Mind The Gap’s production of A Little Space: The Film I assumed it would be a story of parenthood and mother who finally get time to relax however, I could not have been more wrong. The show is set in the modern-day world while working through the global lockdowns that we are all experiencing.
Let’s imagine you have found a new partner/friendship and you get on insanely well so decide to move in together. You will quickly learn behaviours and things you both do that will drive the other crazy which gave born to the expression “you don’t truly know someone until you live with them” which my mother personally says fairly frequently.
During the first cycle of lockdowns in the UK, one of my closest friends moved in with me which was at first brilliant. It was brilliant to have such a close friend so physically close to me who I could talk to together and we started off having so much fun but after a while, things did start to get a bit difficult. I have a very small room they are just about room for a single bed and I slept on the floor but there was not much room for anything else.
On top of the ideas of space management in such a small room, there was the added stress of all the issues the pandemic brought. While I enjoyed living with my friend if we ever do it again we should make sure we have a bigger space or separate rooms. Don’t get me wrong it was amazing to have someone so close during lockdown where loneliness was a really big issue, but we all need a space that is our own. Where we can truly relax and let our guards down which is essentially the premise of the new filmed production of A Little Space.
The story follows five people who are all living in the same apartment building in their hunt to find their own personal space within the small room. Once this space is found, the people can relax which sounds fantastic but this means that all aspects of their psyche (warts and all) are let out.
This new production comes from the creative minds behind Mind The Gap which is England’s leading learning disabilities performance and live arts company. Not only is it incredible that a theatre company is able to produce theatre in these very difficult times but it is fanatic that this company is allowing people with learning difficulties to take part in theatre as they are often not included in mainstream shows.
The idea of inclusion is heavily embedded into this production as it is a physical theatre production with very little on-stage dialogue. Some people who suffer from learning difficulties may present as non-verbal and would prefer to physicalise their thoughts/ideas which is utilised perfectly in this show. It’s clear that the inclusion of those with additional learning needs is not simply ticking boxes or trying to gain brownie points but instead trying to lift these performers to achieve their own personal passions.
The show itself is just 55 mins long but it keeps me captivated the whole way through! The show is unlike anything I have ever seen before and shows any people watching how streamed pre-recorded productions should be done. The staging is very industrial with exposed pipes and wires with innovative props that are used throughout the show. The show has some incredible moments of lighting, camera angles and creative use of props/staging. In particular, I enjoyed the use of the stage itself as a storytelling tool. It is used to separate the different storylines and the separation of characters which is very clever and doesn’t seem out of place at all! The small cast is insanely talented as they could keep the attention of the audience with very little dialogue. There are moments where the camera zooms right into the actor’s faces which are constantly emoting perfectly and are in character at every moment. Not only are they talented actors but they all possess some level of movement as a lot of the actions within the show are almost interpretive dance-esque which look amazing. The opening sequence contains a lot of this dance style which set the show up with a very mysterious vibe without giving anything away about the story!
Overall this is a show that is technically fantastic with the clever use of staging, movement and camera angle which all add to the tension of the show. The icing on the cake is the fact that the show uses performers who are often left out of mainstream theatre but still surpasses the standard of many other professional productions I have seen.
Available to view online here
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