We All Fall Down

Thu 21st February 2013

reviews

Hannah Barber

at 08:42 on 22nd Feb 2013

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We All Fall Down was a creative and interesting piece of devised drama which explored the possibilities of meta-theatre, dance and lighting to deliver its story. Humanity is on trial for its sins and we, the audience, are established as in the docks, waiting to hear the verdict and our punishment. Four witnesses for the prosecution, themselves murder victims and subject to the evils of humanity, give their evidence in turn through a variety of mediums. In between the court scenes we hear their confused discussions about why they are trapped in prison and being forced to tell their traumatic tales. The talented Antonia Goddard (writer and director) made great use of lighting to build tension throughout, plunging the stage into darkness after each story, which evoked the idea of the judge’s hammer falling and condemning humanity. The play was also interspersed with audio clips and the cold voice of the judge resounding from the speakers was a clever effect which aided the oppressive atmosphere in the ante-chamber.

The way in which each piece of evidence was presented was different and original, yet at times felt as if experimental theatre was being used for its own sake. The death of Clark (David Sweetenham) is relived with the aid of a dance troupe, and although they move beautifully through the darkness, illuminated by florescent lighting, it only served to confuse his story, and I was left unsure as to whether he had been killed or committed suicide. Ollie (Ben Anscombe) revealed how he had fell victim to a love dispute, and although his acting was powerful and heartfelt, the scene as a whole left a little to be desired. A shining moment was when Trinity (Izzie Price) gave her account of being deceived by a stranger over the internet. Price gave a wonderfully innocent performance, and the way in which comical actions were mixed with text speak to demonstrate her blossoming online relationship with a supposedly young boy was a humorous and subtly chilling highlight of the show.

In the final tale it transpires that Ellis (Sofia Hurst) killed her brother in a callous fit of jealousy, and her sin throws the morals of all four witnesses into question, the play ending with them looking out into the audience and wondering whether it is us or in fact them who are on trial. It was an intriguing moment of meta-theatre, staged in a powerful way, yet it felt slightly contrived, as if a profound conclusion was being constructed rather than naturally developing. This being said, the acting was excellent on all fronts and the sometimes tender, sometimes caustic interaction between the four main characters was a delight to watch. We All Fall Down presented the audience with a compelling argument and explored many original modes of theatre, on the whole pulling them off with flair.

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