"Dramatic delve into relationship chaos"
by Stephen Lee for remotegoat on 31/10/10

Trading faces is a kaleidoscope of relationships, exploring in a modern age, the ways in which partners cheat on each other in the pursuit of sexual or emotional fulfilment.

Some examples? Same sex couples cheating, online internet flings and fetishes, closet homosexuality and coming out, a teacher betraying her husband with a student girl, drink, and fear of commitment! Yes this play covers quite a few! What can be said is that Richard Bevan's 'Trading Faces' paints a rather bleak outlook for the modern day relationship. The message seems all too clear: when we have security safety and commitment do we then crave the excitement of something else. Yet when we are having a fling do we crave something deeper? Can we have both? This play seems to suggest not. And this is where we are shown the distress and anguish caused when the horrible affairs come to light. Perhaps one of the most simple, but resonant lines in summarising the play was along the lines of: 'God knows what's going through my head.' The confusion of the characters, either in their own sexuality or emotional desire was extremely poignant.

One point I would like to make is that the acting and direction in this piece was impeccable. There were some heart-rending emotional scenes, where the characters really opened themselves.

I did however, find it difficult to become as involved and sympathetic with the characters as I think was necessary for the piece to have maximum impact. This was partly because of the sheer number of through-lines, but also because of the absence of hope or innocence that I felt was only really encapsulated in the young student girl, hopelessly infatuated with her teacher. I also felt that by the end, although I liked the way no particular relationship was resolved, and the way they collided, I did feel that some of the stories weren't explored quite enough.

This all being said, the solid conviction of the actors and their inhabiting of their characters more than made up for this. Each and every one had an immense depth of feeling and want. The writing was indeed witty, and extremely well-observed. The Actor's Ensemble provided a wonderful showcase of talents.

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