The cast all offered strong performances handling the tough transitions from scenes to narrative monologues extremely well. The caustic sides of the male characters were beautifully judged and the admissions of Charlie (Patrick Scaglioni) and Cupid (Jack Tidy) certainly made me squirm somewhat. Each of the men delivered well paced and sincere monologues whilst still retaining the dark humour of some of the speeches. Scaglioni in particular gained many laughs for his long explanations of his life delivered largely out front with appropriate gestures and excellent facial variations.
Tom Bridges (Francis) must also be complimented for his powerful closing speech which was delivered with great stillness allowing the emotions to really show.
There were also confident performances from the women with Lilly (Sian Gordon) and Holly (Grace Felton) helping us to see the different sides of these men. Gordon excelled in her manipulative relationship with Bridges and managed to present herself as strong and yet incredibly vulnerable. Felton provided a complete contrast with the seemingly innocent Holly and played her opening scene particularly well using her voice very effectively.
Arts Lecture Theatre 1 is not necessarily the most obvious place for a production to be staged but for a play as intimate as Â‘FlushÂ’ the setting really works. The raked seating also means that, unlike Jane Holloway, all of the audience can actually see. There are limitations of course. Lighting is awkward (a blackout is never quite a blackout) but the technical team still managed to inject some theatricality into the piece with nice use of blue up lighting which proved to be quite atmospheric. Wings also proved a slight issue as there clearly wasnÂ’t much room backstage and entrances and exits were slightly limited because of this.
However, given the minimal size of the acting area the set was beautifully simple. As much of the action takes place around a card table (bearing out the idea that life is like a game) the lecture theatre walls were decorated with large playing cards and the backdrop on the stage featured white and red cloth with black hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds. The subtle costume features (such as the Spade on the shirt of Francis) also carried on the theme convincingly.
Audience reaction was very positive and the script provided quite a few laughs that were heartily appreciated by everyone sitting around me. It was interesting to note afterwards however, the amount of people who felt guilty for laughing at such serious subject matter which perhaps says just as much about us as an audience as it does the characters in the play.
So congratulations cast and crew of this quirky and slightly disturbing production for providing an evening of compelling viewing.