This Last Piece of the Sky, written by French writer Kevin Keiss, tells the story of a young boy Louis and a young girl Sarah who have the ability to see each other’s lives in their minds.
Louis is on one path; Sarah is on another. It is winter. Louis believes he has found the secret of the universe and dreams of a girl called Sarah. However, his family struggles to cope with his newfound revelation and the behaviour that comes with it. In another city, in the intense heat of summer, the Sarah whom Louis dreams about and her family are adjusting to living under a military coup.
This lyrical play attempts to explore our ability to transcend boundaries and look beyond our accepted reality, however it portrays a fine line between psychosis and mania but does little exploration. The plot becomes convoluted and confusing for the audience, as there is little characterisation or costume changes between the four actors portraying various characters.
While the Space Arts Theatre is a beautiful venue, the set and props were extremely limited. This minimalistic approach works in certain plays when used properly, but here there was little engagement with both the props and furniture despite there being great potential. Sound was used at times, which aided the lyrical feel of the performance, however the speakers had a constant hum and occasional feedback which was disruptive.
Louis, played by Tom Mackean, performed well. His portrayal of a manic, lost but intellectual young boy was spot-on, and the most memorable performance throughout. Though he played the same character throughout the performance, and avoided the task of differentiating characters, he was energetic and stayed believable. The play may have been more impactful if Louis and Sarah were the only two on stage, as the other four actors did little to alleviate the scenes. Yasmin Haller gave a convincing performance as Sarah and had chemistry with Mackean.
While the grandfather, played by Laurence Watkins, gave an endearing performance, regrettably a script appeared in his hand on the final scene. While he attempted to finish the scene with the appropriate gravitas to end the show, the script was distracting and unprofessional.
Unfortunately, while each cast member gave their best to the performance, and individually were strong, the combination of actors did not gel well and there was little chemistry between them. Despite the script providing for some dramatic scenes, the build-up to a particular argument was forced and unnatural, with no increase in volume, making for a slightly awkward and unbelievable scene.
While Keiss’ writing was at times clever and innovative, the concepts of the play lacked depth and the overall performance was poorly executed and felt under rehearsed.
Playing until 21st May 2022, https://space.org.uk/event/this-last-piece-of-sky/
Reviewer: Maani Way
Reviewed: 18th May 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★