"A promising new short play"
by Tristán White for remotegoat on 21/10/15

This was my first time downstairs at the Canvas on Hanbury Street off Brick Lane, a small café with a makeshift theatre space in its basement. A quirky place, but perfect for a short play such as this, which required minimum staging.

Tonight was also The Forbidden's first public performance - though if you want to see it, you'd better hurry up as Monday is the last and there's no performance on Sunday. The acting was excellent, the staging and direction were perfect. My only criticism was that the first fifteen minutes seem to drag a bit, and there is a rather large plot hole which I found to be a bit challenging as far as credulity is concerned, but the acting in particular is so good that I cannot not award this little play four stars.

All four actresses are excellent in their very different roles, though the stand-out, for me, were Catherine Deevy (playing the part of Steffi) and Vicki Welles (playing Alex). It helped that they also had the best lines. The play, following an intentionally confusing first act, really comes to itself when it uses flashbacks; the 29-year-old former schoolfriends are totally believable when playing their thirteen-year-old selves, with mannerisms, voice and dialogue adjusted perfectly. This was perhaps the strongest part of the script, so in a way it was a shame that some of the more exciting moments later on in the story were told to us by the older girls, rather than acted out on stage, which led to some rather on-the-nose dialogue. I have always been taught, 'show, don't tell'.

To explain the plot-hole would require me to spoil the story which I will not do, and perhaps it is just me who has an issue with this particular story arc. I found this on the whole to be a very entertaining hour which flew past in no time.

In the programme notes, Doll's Eye Theatre say that they hope this piece will have a lifetime following this première. I hope so too, though I do think that the play's brevity may be a problem. All in all, with some improvements to the script, this could turn into an even better piece. As it stands, four stars is a fair rating, helped on largely by the excellent acting and direction.

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