Have you ever wondered what goes through people’s head in certain situations? What do you think about during a date? Or the random thoughts that go through your head during sex? What about when someone’s mental health is deteriorating?
Netflix and Chill is a story that follows Ben , a working class chef, who’s life spirals out of control after trying to rekindle a relationship with his mum. His work, friendships and love life are all tested as his week goes from bad to worse.
Netflix and Chill is essentially an in depth look at male mental health and how our inner dialogue can have such a massive impact on how we see and react to everyday situations. It follows the story of Ben, played by Tom Stocks who also wrote the play, who works as a chef in a pub and has been estranged from his mum for over 11 years. It opens with him meeting his mum for the first time since she left her abusive partner and is now trying to rekindle their relationship, something that is only touched on at the start of the play. Immediately the inner dialogue becomes apparent and we get the feel of how the story is going to be told.
Blitz is just one of the shows at The Union Theatre that is part of the Phil Willmott Company’s Essential Classics season 2020: V.E DAY – 75 YEARS ON.
It is based during WWII in London where both the Jewish Blitztein family & the cockney Locke family live. When the children from these opposite families fall in love a wonderfully poignant wartime romance starts to unfold.
This classic style musical from Lionel Bart has an instant feel of being a much bigger show. The songs tell the story and the dance routines portray that old fashioned ‘good old knees up’ atmosphere that gives a sense of inclusiveness with the audience being so close. The set is bustling and busy with lots of individual connections between the characters going on, whilst the main premise of the story starts to develop. The space is cleverly utilised not only to create the claustrophobic feel of being stuck on an underground tube platform but also the winding feel of the narrow lane aspect of the area at that time.
The play 4 Stages ( by BC Allen) at the Bread and Roses Theatre is directed by Natasha Kathi-Chandra. It centres around 3 characters, Alex (Andre Skeete), Ben (Brett Allen) and Cat ( Natasha Redhead) on their monthly games night. Presented in four parts which represent four separate nights spread throughout one particular calendar year. Ben and Alex interview each other over the four nights about how and where they grew up. As the nights go on there are some startling revelations which lead to some very frank discussions along the way.
‘ Two best friends Ben and Alex, who grew up together, now in their 40’s, meet every last Sunday of the month for ‘Games Night’. They are from different backgrounds but are as close and tight as brothers. Ben has recently had a child with his partner Cat.’
This theatre is extremely intimate and is set with seats on opposite sides with the ‘set’ in the middle dressed as a room in Ben and Cat’s home which works perfectly as they use the exit door as their door to the rest of the ‘house’. With the space being small it enhances the feeling of being a ‘fly on the wall’ overlooking events unfolding in these characters lives. Each night is cleverly separated in a way that you know the story is moving on and yet works perfectly in the small space they have with regarding the set.
Gutted is a black comedy that is set in a fish factory in 1980’s Dublin written by Sharon Byrne and directed by Chris White. It explores the lives of three strong women who are friends through working in the same dead end job. Yet all have dreams of something bigger and better than what their lives are at the moment.
The stage is sparsely set with nothing but a plain white backdrop with strip lighting, standing lamps and ceiling lights. However, the lights are cleverly linked and used as extra characters throughout and this is incredibly well presented. The story is told in interlinking comic monologue from the three women Deidre ( Niamh Finlay), Delores ( Sarah Hosford) and Breda (Eleanor Byrne) covering just one particular night of their lives.
It is Irish storytelling at its best with comedy concealing a powerful undertone of hurt and heartache that is hinted at throughout. It’s raw and relatable and immediately transported me back to my teenage years with the girls singing excerpts of some songs of the time. Notably Tainted Love (oh the memories!) and yet tainted love can totally sum up the underlying theme of the play.