Composer: Patrick Dineen
Reviewer: Farhana Shaikh
Action Transport Theatre’s STATIk is an intriguing play that will appeal to children and adults alike.
The show kicks off with Ady Thompson, who plays Mikey, sitting with audiences in the stalls – moving around, shifting nervously, dipping into a bag of sweets. For some, this may be their first experience at the theatre – and this interactive element helps to set the tone and pique our interest. Children particularly found it amusing and fascinating to watch what Mikey would do next – some are lucky enough to be offered sweets!
By the time Mikey makes his way nervously on to the stage we’re all sitting up in our seats ready to see what unfolds. The sounds of children’s voices play on in the background which set the scene – it’s Mikey’s first day at work at a radio factory – and he’s making that awkward transition from childhood to adulthood. Mikey is at odds with this new world – the regimental, militarised operation at the factory where no sweets are allowed, and the staff are rewarded with gold medals for following orders from above. While the children amuse themselves over Mikey’s hilarious antics – eating sweets at lunch time when he’s not supposed to, breaking the rules, and going down the chute to rescue a radio that’s been deemed useless – the adults will deduce a higher meaning, which will help them connect with their inner child.
The stage, made up of a fan, a staircase, and a lift, is used to good effect. The lighting and music work well to indicate shifts in time. For the entire running time – just under an hour – the three adults that make up the cast, remain silent. It’s a powerful formula that works a treat to sustain the audience’s interest throughout, even very young children. The slapstick comedy routines interwoven with slower paced rhythmic movements heighten the confusion and chaos of understanding the adult world –and leave us in a fit of giggles. There’s some breath taking moments too. The children’s voices that play on via a radio add depth and colour and, in a space where children are often not heard, makes them especially powerful.
There’s lots to admire in this production. A fun filled finale that will leave children of all ages in high spirits.
Reviewed on 23 May and on tour