The System - Original Theatre - Online Review - Louise Penn

‘Unapologetically both theatrical drama & a tense piece of work adapted for the screen’: THE SYSTEM (Online review)

In Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Louise PennLeave a Comment

Paul is dead, killed at his own party. Everyone is a suspect, and most of them had a motive. Written and performed by Emily Head, directed by Guy Unsworth, and filmed live in one take, we meet each suspect to see how they react under interrogation, and see if the mystery can be solved.

The stage at the New Wolsey Theatre becomes a a complex cage (designed by David Woodhead) in this Original Theatre online premiere. Playing every character, Head uses different accents and subtle physical changes of facial expression or mannerisms to define each character.

In this groundbreaking camerawork, other characters are suggested through positioning or movement, with changes of viewpoint allowing us to believe we are cutting back and forth between a range of interviews where those who knew the victim play off against each other.

Paul is slowly unmasked as someone many would want to harm, and a twisted story unfolds through the different accounts we may or may not want to believe. It is clear something is drastically wrong in this psychological thriller.

Ben Eeley’s camera work deserves a mention of its own: one steadicam operator becoming part of the action so conclusively you forget he is there. There isn’t a moment lost or muffed in this live performance – meticulously planned, I know, but anything can happen on a stream.

In the post show Q&A, accent choices and character inspirations were discussed alongside what makes digital theatre unique from a production presented on stage or as a film.

The System is unapologetically both theatrical drama and a tense piece of work adapted for the screen.

Image credit: James Findlay

Following the livestream of 27 August reviewed here, The System returns on an on-demand basis from 8 September – 5 December. Book your tickets here.

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Louise Penn
Louise Penn is an experienced writer and editor, published in a variety of outlets. She worked as a professional librarian for 25 years before going freelance full-time in 2018 and setting up her Lou Reviews blog. She is passionate about all types of theatre and the arts.
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Louise Penn on FacebookLouise Penn on InstagramLouise Penn on RssLouise Penn on Twitter
Louise Penn
Louise Penn is an experienced writer and editor, published in a variety of outlets. She worked as a professional librarian for 25 years before going freelance full-time in 2018 and setting up her Lou Reviews blog. She is passionate about all types of theatre and the arts.

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