This is the companion piece to Orange Tree Theatre’s Inside which featured three new short plays from emerging and established writers and Outside follows the same format with three more short plays livestreamed from the Orange Tree Theatre auditorium.
The three plays have a distinct link in so much that they look at personal connection during difficult times and how healing can sometimes take place through mutual understanding and the ability to forgive
Two Billion Beats by Sonali Bhattacharyya features two schoolgirl sisters one of whom is in detention. It’s a slim story but the dialogue between the two sisters (Asha played by Zainab Hasan & Bettina played by Ashna Rabheru) crackled along at a fair pace. It was unfortunate that the performance suffered from some sound problems and that in turn made the flow of the narrative difficult to navigate. Otherwise Hasan and Rabheru worked hard and delivered precise performances.
Prodigal by Kalungi Ssebandeke is another play about siblings, this time a brother and sister (Fiston Barek playing Kasujja and Robinah Kironde excellent as Rita) fighting over their place and rights in the family. The brother returns after the mothers death and learns that the sister wants to sell their mothers flat – mix in insurance policies and the siblings estrangement, this is a heady mix and a rather melodramatic piece at that with a bit of a rushed “happy ending” that doesn’t fit quite right with what has gone on before.
Once again serious technical issues halted this play and indeed on the night of this review there was a ten minute postponement, while they tried to fix it – this was quite frustrating for the actors and I did feel for them as they had to fully restart. Not good!
The Kiss by Zoe Cooper is a monologue about a woman Lou (played by Temi Wilkey) observing her neighbours during lockdown – a slightly creepy premise as she watches from her bedroom window at the life going on outside. It’s a well written but quite odd little piece involving a hamster (no spoilers!) Cooper’s piece is ultimately about isolation and a certain degree of loneliness. Wilkey gave an assured performance throughout.
I felt that all three plays performed fairly well but in the end it was really unfortunate that the evening was plagued by technical issues that spoiled the show.
Georgia Green directed with flair throughout the set and tried her best with the limited (unimaginative) set and sound/light design.
Outside runs until 17th April 2021 at www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk
Reviewer: Kiefer Williams
Reviewed: 15th April 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★