"Haunting and intense improvisational drama"
by Jen Soame for remotegoat on 12/01/16

The word ‘fine’ featured a fair bit in this play. The two characters, looking for a moment of peace, are initially content with finding agreeable circumstances, places and people but it doesn’t last long, and the intense story that ensues could be described as anything but fine.

Alex is escaping her life and Andrew is trying to find his. In the depths of the New Forest, what should be a chance interaction that soon fades from both minds turns into an obsessive game of cat and mouse and of obsession for acceptance against a blocking of the world. Alex is tortured, awkward and distant and Andrew is excitable, hopeful and adventurous. While Alex is resolute to her character and continues to run, Andrew falls into desperation for connection, for overcoming rejection, and strives to find a ‘real’ person within Alex to validate his own self. Innocent intentions rapidly turn to sinister actions.

This is a very accomplished piece, especially as it is told within the short space of 45minutes, without us even taking into account the performance basis of it. Produced by London-based Dirty Rascals, who are devoted to work that is ‘living, untidy and human’, the actors have spent time developing characters and loose plotline but all dialogue is improvised for each performance. Like a paper game of consequences, the characters tell their story piece by piece; sequentially building on the other they will reach a new conclusion each time.

The performers are exceptional and work within an extremely bare set, highlighting the stark humanness on which the production pays tribute to. The characters are portrayed extremely well, Alex with fear and defiance, and Andrew with brutal honesty and raw emotion. Like the theory of an internal combination lock needing to align to trigger an individual’s extreme actions, it seems Alex moves Andrew’s final number into place. Andrew’s radical change of emotions, temperament and stability over a brief 45minutes is played so well, and is moved so smoothly through dialogue and body language that it is thoroughly believable.

It would be very interesting to see this a second time, and if running more than three days it would be tempting, in order to see the level of creativity and versatility within the actors to vary the tale. As a standalone piece though, this is highly recommended.

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