"Story not seen to work"
by Dave Richards for remotegoat on 10/11/10

Not having visited the New Venture Theatre before it made a lasting and pleasant impression, there was a community feel about the place with various 'setups' in the bar/foyer area, all designed to add to the experience. By this I mean we had the pleasure of an online video stream which linked into the play as well as a notice board with various nonsensical job adverts designed to amuse. In addition to which was an actress playing the part of a busker sat on the floor strumming a song I didn't recognise, as we drank our drinks during the interval, at least I assumed it was an actress!

Anyway to the play, this involves Gaby taking up a new post at the Brighton Job Centre as an advisor and encountering not only a prissy and over bearing boss played by Sarah Lauridsen but also an assortment of claimants, all of whom seem intent on cheating the system and having Gaby over, their aim being to remain unemployed or unemployable.

Gaby realises that by nurturing or depending on your view point, exploiting, the supposed talents of this motley crew she maybe able to set up her own arts based business and in the process benefiting both them and herself.

Hannah Liebeskind in the title role made a very effective Gaby with her frumpy dress and downtrodden demeanour, what really set her apart however was the ability to slowly transform from what was an ineffectual and dispirited character into a confident, purposeful and to a degree manipulative entrepreneur. She held centre stage and the scene involving her when being interviewed by the larger than life TV host Kate played by Sarah Garbutt, making her debut treading the boards, proved to be one of the highlights of the performance, with both women making sarcastic asides firmly aimed at each other.

Whilst overall this was not an un-enjoyable evenings entertainment, truth be told I left feeling somewhat unfulfilled.

The cast did their best with what was an uninspiring story line, at times I found my mind wandering as whilst the likes of Dan Walker playing Jed Haines and Moog in the role of his brother Matt were in themselves entertaining and engaging,the story seemed to lack any real meaning, were we to behold the flowering of Gaby into a confident self assured woman, was it a tale around greed and exploitation, indeed was it a case of love lost in respect of her unrequited love of Larry played by Nick Green?.

As I say not an unpleasant experience, but I wonder if it could have been much more.

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