Musical Director: Sufia Manya
Film Maker: Lloyd Miller
Director: Jack Lynch
Reviewer: James Martin
I was pleasantly greeted by the soft sounds of the clarinet and piano being performed live by two of the ensemble cast as I entered the auditorium and took my seat at the Electric Theatre this evening for Lynchpin’s production of Consider This… A bold and interactive show that does exactly what its name suggests and has had me thinking ever since I left the show earlier tonight.
The show consists of an amalgamation of live music, performance, reading of interview transcripts, and video clips of real life people recounting stories that have affected their lives so far and the consequences of these actions. They span from a lady who lost her leg in an IRA bombing, a Jewish Auschwitz survivor, an African boy who was forced to join a rebel army and kill innocent people and a man who, as a juvenile, killed a man while committing a robbery. These differing mediums give a balance to the show and break it down into manageable chunks, keeping the audience entertained instead of simply stunned by these accounts.
These stories are all linked together by the live performance of Sara Finigan who plays the rôle of Canta Dora, a mystical guru who collects stories in order to gain a balanced view on life and help people like Pews, played by Jon House, to tell their own story. The play opens by suggesting that everyone has a story or a secret and that in order to truly live in the present we have to release any emotional baggage we have from the past.
The themes that run through the play are about forgiveness, empathy, tragedy and whether you are the victim or the perpetrator in your own story. This certainly had me considering my own personal circumstances and stealing a grin to myself as I realised that perhaps I was the perpetrator in a story in which I victimise myself. It is fantastic that a play can really have you thinking and questioning yourself or your beliefs and understandings.
The true stories that are shared with the audience throughout are certainly hard-hitting and impact on the viewer on many different levels, playing on the most basic of human emotions like sympathy, regret, and anger. You are in for a rollercoaster and the ensemble cast (who are clearly very talented and adaptable) provide an excellent backdrop of music, readings and song, fitting to the emotions you are experiencing at the time.
The play ends with the story of a woman whose daughter had been kidnapped, raped and murdered by a family member, and her consequential struggle to deal with this trauma. She eventually finds it in her heart to forgive the perpetrator as she realises that her anger and hatred towards this man is ruining and imploding her life. The cast walk off still playing various instruments like the accordion, bongos and guitar with the audience hopefully upbeat on life’s prospects, despite the multitude of bad things that can and do occur.
Unfortunately, certain elements of the production had a distinctly amateur feel to them such as the set (basic is an over exaggeration) and some of the live performance, mainly Jon House’s singing. The central story of Canta Dora and the lost man seemed to trivialise the real stories that were being told, and undercut the seriousness of the themes of the play. Of course, it is in place to bind the production together, and after the show we were greeted by Edie Cambell thanking us for attending this premier, but also stating that all feedback would be appreciated as the play was still a ‘work in progress’. My suggestions would be to scrap the fictional story part, or failing that, only use actors for singing rôles that are chosen on their vocal ability!
Overall, a mixed bag that will definitely get you thinking and feeling, which is a very powerful tool. This play is definitely like marmite and I would not question anyone who said it was original, refreshing and thought provoking, nor if they stated it was low-budget, poorly performed and pointless in some parts. Consider this; if you do not go to see it, you will not know which side of the fence you are on, and will not hear the abundance of shocking and heart-warming stories being told.
Showing until Friday 22nd June 2012