One in a Million
October 13th – 17th 2015
£12 (inc. a play, a pie and a pint)
The name stuck out for me, as I glanced through the theatre listings because it reminded me of a Guns and Roses song. Cathy Forde explores a chance meeting between Gerry, a local handyman and Susan, a Malawi women who was brought up knowing of Marys Meals which originated by two Dalmally brothers who set up the education system of free school meals in return for attendance at school in Africa.
Expecting a grand space with lush sets and heavy costumes I couldn’t have been more inaccurate about my first visit to this venue. After walking down two flights of stairs below ground level, Traverse 2 allows us into a very small intimate environment. Seating no more than a hundred there was no room between the stage and the seats. Cathy Forde is a well-established writer of children’s books.
The Traverse theatre is dedicated to what they term ‘New Writing’. It is a modern play with Forde using simplicity as a tool for directing the acting. The stage is sparse and the lighting minimal. Comfortable humour aroused some responses from the audience with some great comedy moments. As the plot progressed the meanings of earlier dialogue becomes apparent keeping the audience engaged throughout right up the final serious scene.
There is a willingness to deal with emotions such as awkwardness, included in the main and smaller conversations. The plays two heroes, Susan played by Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter and Gerry played by Alan McHugh are its only characters. There is a genuine feeling of mutual respect and support between the protagonists. Gary and Susan’s continued use of storytelling gives the play another level where facts and details are important so that there is no confusion or false conclusion made both by the actors and the audience.
The sorrowful moments are offered as stories of what can happen when people suffering poverty try to kickback against the inevitability of their situation. Dialogue using humour and a little comedy helps us back into the underlying meaning of the play. Susan talks about her Art and how it helped her to convey her innermost feelings and how it helped her cope with very difficult hardships out with her control. Gerry thinks Art should only be done well and doesn’t understand conceptual Art. This subtly powerful yet gentle play gives credence to the relevance and kindness of human nature. FOUR STARS
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly