Off Cut Roots at Theatre503
In response to what audiences felt theatre lacks, Off Cut Roots explores sexuality, adultery and murder in two original and creative one-act plays that will keep you in suspense while laughing throughout, at Theatre503 in South London.
Luisa Hinchliff brings to life the universal issues that confront us in two lost and opposing characters in E. Moffett’s Sophie in Wonderland. Samantha Béart and Elaine Harry in this two-woman show are entrancing as you struggle to solve the mystery of their relationship before it’s revealed.
Béart is crass and convincing as Sophie, and the blunt and unfiltered fashion in which she expresses her opinions is crude and comedic but reveals a complexity and depth that can’t go unnoticed. Although she fumbles her lines quite noticeably here and there, the slips are easily overlooked given the overall strength of her performance.
Harry epitomises the frustration of wifehood as Fiona, particularly while she argues with her husband over the phone, debating the health of their daughter and his inability to manage the household while she’s away. Her reserved mannerisms and naïveté appear sincere and natural as she explores foreign territory in an attempt to tackle the loneliness and predictability she feels with life − the mark of a real talent. The pair’s chemistry is subtle and strange in a very intentional way that instantly creates intrigue from the moment they are onstage together. The bold and racy first half leaves you in deep thought.
Jessica Radcliffe’s execution of More Dead Girls by Troodie Mootz could not be a more creative and clever representation of the psyche and the process necessary to overcome writer’s block. Tom Blyth as Phelan is engaging and enigmatic as the group dynamic is established. His anxiety and fretfulness over the progress of his script encourages you to root for him. His initial maltreatment of women is shocking, yet draws you in as you’re consistently questioning what you see.
Alice Brown, Ewa Jenson and Charlotte Sutherland are hilarious as the “dead girls”, and their individual performances complement one another charmingly. The lively and comfortable way in which they discuss the objectification of women in media is profound and accurate while still maintaining the intrigue and dark undertones of this black comedy.
The blocking throughout the short piece is continually changing, keeping the scene visually interesting and appealing, while Blondie’s One Way or Another expressively accompanies free-flowing thought followed by madness − a wild ride!
Off Cut Roots is at Theatre503 until 10th August 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.