Packing boxes and walls with scribbles draw the audience into a unique house as they enter. A sentence is written on the walls. It is then spoken aloud. The rest of the show then embodies it. Delicately presented with light moments of interaction with the audience, ‘the other’ is explored in its many forms and feelings.
Tracing the journey of a family, as witnessed by the walls of the house they lived in, the show explores their relationships with each other and with their home. As they seek to find a new house, we are taken down memory lane of the bitter and sweet happenings over the years.
The nuanced direction of Ariella Stoian brilliantly uses everyday objects to make meaning of people and their emotional journeys. The use of chalk, in particular, is a strong motif. It can be easily erased and rewritten with. Its texture evokes a sensorial response. As the complexities of the relationships among family members unfold, the walls of the house fill up with drawing in chalk. As the house tries to contain and remind the family of the shared memories, they slip further away.
The play is written by Raffaella Sero and Evie Florence. As a performer, Florence is charming and has the audience captivated through the hour. Energetic yet gentle, she narrates and plays out the stories, characters and emotions, all beautifully interspersed with humour. Sustaining a solo act is no mean feat but Florence’s masterful storytelling makes the performance seem effortless.
Even with a great writer-director-performer trio, the tone of the show remains quite the same throughout. The characters and story could both do with some more development so that it doesn’t feel like too much of the same thing, albeit beautiful. The light design, unfortunately, is distracting and the frequent changes take away from the production more than they add.
All in all, The Other makes for a heart-wrenching yet light-hearted show and Florence’s stellar performance is reason enough to give it a watch. As an extension of the theme of home, the show is donating 10% of all ticket sales going to the charity Shelter.
Playing until 2nd April, https://www.thedraytonarmstheatre.co.uk/
Reviewer: Aditi Dalal
Reviewed: 29th March 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★