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Bump – 24:7 Theatre Festival, Manchester

Writer: Laura-Kate Barrow

Director: Peter Mitchelson

Reviewer: Dave Cunningham

[Rating:3.5]

bumpYears after they were pupils at the same school Matt (Thomas Casson) and Louise(Sarah Keating) bump into each other in a church where each has retreated to contemplate their personal situation. They discuss confused memories of their schooldays and reluctantly begin to reveal the concerns that brought them into the church.

‘ Bump’ is a bittersweet comedy/drama with bags of charm. Although Laura-Kate Barrow’s script is crammed with moments we can all recognise from awkward conservations she avoids a superficial crowd-pleasing tale preferring to draw out deeper concerns and true emotion. Although this is a fine script there are odd moments, such as the sudden switch from gentle reflection to impassioned confession, that feel contrived. The timeline for Louise’s side of the story seems confused making it hard to be clear whether she dropped out of university at the start or end of her academic career and when she re-encountered her lover.

Unusually Barrow and director Peter Mitchelson are comfortable with periods of silence in the play and trust their talented cast to convey information purely by body language. Even without dialogue it is apparent that Matt and Louise are an odd couple. Sarah Keating makes clear that Louise just wants to be alone; a stiff clenched stance that exudes a ‘ keep clear’ message. The gauche anxious personality of Matt is shown by Thomas Casson’s jerky almost desperate contortions. There is a splendid silent sequence, minutes long, of Matt almost physically twisting himself in knots trying to devise a conversational gambit.

Most significantly, however, Keating and Casson have the on-stage chemistry that makes Matt and Louise appealing so that you are hoping their story ends happily all through the play.

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One comment

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    ‘Bump’ was the surprise package of the festival. Whist down the road Rob Ward’s ‘Away from home’ had the spotlight set firmly squared on itself (and rightly so) ‘Bump’ was making believers out of everyone who came to the 3 minute theatre. Credit to the lovely portrayal of ‘Louise’ by Sarah Keating, she just suited it nicely. But Thomas Casson in a extremely hot venue was put to work! His nerdy ‘Matt’ was somehow funny and yet convincingly filled with anger, regret and sorrow. And by the end of the play shows true friendship’ taking the audience with him on the way all in the space of an hour. No easy task. A fine talent.