REVIEW: work by Sam Rumbelow devised with The Actors Ensemble Courtyard Theatre

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:31 07 September 2010

Three star rating WORK is not about working at all but about building and breaking stereotypes of working Londoners. The piece was devised by a group of young, upcoming performers, the Actors Ensemble and uses a simple format in an effective manner. Se

Three star rating

WORK is not about working at all but about building and breaking stereotypes of working Londoners.

The piece was devised by a group of young, upcoming performers, the Actors Ensemble and uses a simple format in an effective manner.

Set in one day, seven characters from across the spectrum of Londoners, from the pompous architect to the timid Bulgarian immigrant cleaner, unravel their chaotic lives.

The first act sets out each character in short, disjointed scenes, causing the audience to make quick first impressions, the arrogant City boy on his cigarette break, the pompous lingerie seller strutting around in stilettos, the quirky pregnant hippy dancing around the office when no one is looking.

These impressions are just as quickly shattered in the second act, with much longer scenes giving more insight into their attitudes and backgrounds.

John Nayagam excels as Anoop, a successful workaholic architect who comes across as pompous and cold-hearted in the first act with his one-way conversations over dinner with his wife.

But, in a particularly powerful scene in the second half, Anoop's internal struggle is revealed as he attempts to control and discipline his foreign cleaner, performed immaculately by Amy Steel, whilst coming to terms with the real reason he is so unhappy.

It is obvious throughout that the piece has been devised through improvisation work, and perhaps lacks the precision and unity of a more rehearsed performance.

However, it is clear that each actor has worked relentlessly in understanding their own character and how they would behave.

Julian Rivett, who plays the irritating City boy, performs brilliantly in the second half as his character is seen completely differently in a contrasting environment, sitting at home with his older sister, played by Stacha Hicks.

Director, Sam Rumbelow has created a powerful piece for the ensemble's first full production but could have allowed the characters to evolve even more as the audience was left with a few too many unanswered questions.

Until October 26.

Robyn Rosen

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