Vaults, London – until 12 February 2017
Guest reviewer: H. Hemming
This Must Be The Place is a very relevant piece of theatre in this day and age. It looks at how life can change in an instant; how we can run to, or run away from our hopes or our fears. Our lives can change with or without our permission, and how the change is dealt with then reflects in the impact on our lives.
With four actors who begin by telling the same story but then suddenly split into four characters, we follow two separate but relevant to each other journeys. Simple staging and hand-held microphones give this piece a bit of a twist.
Adam (James Cooney), struggling with a change that has occurred in his life without his permission, tries to live life without his phone, without social media. A lot of the writing makes us as the audience sink into our seats as we realise how dependent we are on technology. How do people know we have arrived somewhere safely if there is no way to check ourselves in on Facebook? How can you track down someone you were supposed to meet when they won’t answer their phone?
Cooney gives a perfect performance from the start. He never falters in his character and his reactions are instantaneous; alive and real. He is mostly partnered with Molly Roberts as Lily, who gives a good performance Credit should be given to Roberts, as the Artistic Director of this company Poleroid Theatre. This company recognised throughout the Fringe theatre circuit are dedicated to new writing and artist development. This should be applauded as it is exactly what is needed for emerging writers, actors and directors.
Matty played by Hamish Rush who also doubles as Adam’s Dad – or at least his imagined version, his voice. In both roles Rush gives a strong performance. His character Matty is dealing with a change in his life that he has given his permission to happen. We really feel for him as he battles with his confidence, and his inner demons. His plan of action is reckless, but the desperation is real. Rush delivers an exceptionally strong performance in his monologue about what it was exactly that made him want to change his life. Even though the story is sad, it makes us aware that if there’s a sign, we should maybe pay attention and go and live a bit more.
Feliks Marthur plays Tate, and gives a nice, passionate performance when speaking, but at times his listening seems unmatched to what is being said. Overall however, Marthur shows good emotion and characterisation through his scenes.
Writers Brad Birch and Kenneth Emson have captured the struggles and realities that young people deal with these days really well. Combined with strong direction by Justin Audibert and Josh Roche and subtle but clever sound and lighting (Kieran Lucas and Joe Price respectively), This Must Be The Place is an astute look at the technology and dream chasing era we are currently in. An extra performance has been added due to high demand for tickets, so book now to avoid disappointment.