DramaFeaturedNorth WestReview

On Me – Waterside Arts, Sale

Reviewer: Helen Jones

Director: Helen Parry

Writer: Caroline Lamb

Dangerous To Know Theatre Company have brought their award-winning Manchester Fringe play On Me back into production and landed at Waterside Arts, Sale for one night before performing for two nights in Bolton later in the month.

On Me tackles the very current issues around gender-based violence, female safety and the difficulties in forming relationships in the post #MeToo era. Shona and Christian are actors employed for a docu-drama about a true crime abuse case. Christian plays the cruel abuser who turns killer later while Shona is his surviving victim. Together they play out the scenes of the relationship which turns violent, while dealing with the impact the subject matter has on them personally. Attraction grows between them but the situations they play out affect their off screen emotions.

Leah Eddleston portrayed the role of Shona in the original Manchester production and returns to it here, creating a confident and outgoing woman who hides her past. But her past rears its head during filming and makes her vocal when her sister is in a vulnerable situation. But the past becomes the present as she is vulnerable too. Alexi Papadopoulos is the less confident Christian, a nice guy but the actions of his character make him question both men in general and his own role in relationships with women. Papdopoulos is excellent, showing that men can also have that vulnerable side. The cast is made up of Trevor Dwyer-Lynch as the film director and John Joyce O’Keeffe as the clapper loader. Writer Caroline Lamb appears on film as the original victim.

The set is simple but effective with a sofa centre stage and the green room and a bar as minor areas each side. A backing screen allows for both the backdrops for the staging and an impactful place to show the real story behind what the two actors are filming. There is a slight technical issue when the pre-recorded sections of filming are broadcast and are less audible than everything else.

Caroline Lamb has taken a difficult subject, but one so relevant to many young people today, and developed a thought-provoking short play. It is entertaining and often funny, but the underlying message is clearly carried throughout leaving nowhere to hide from it. While established director Helen Parry makes sure it gives the punch the subject matter deserves.

The play is followed by a Q&A session with local professionals who deal with the issues raised on a day to day basis.

On Me is just an hour long, but it is an important hour for the woman and men out there affected by the issues in the play. You won’t be able to catch it in Sale but it is well worth making the trip to Bolton for and hopefully it can gain longer runs to bring to more areas it’s very important message.

Reviewed on 2 May 2024

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The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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