Awakening

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Until August 27th (14:35) 

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Script: four-stars.png Stagecraft: four-stars.png Performance: five-stars    


Walking into the makeshift hut, we stumble over a figure lying face down on the floor. It is obvious that she has passed out drunk. The figure stirs as she hears a phone ringing. In fact we are witnessing the aftermath of Casey’s 26th birthday party. As ‘Awakening’ begins, she comes to and realises that she is in a garden she doesn’t recognise. In her blue top, bright yellow skirt and smudged lipstick, she tries out a few jokes and some poetic phrases that indicate to us her growing realisations about what has been happening, along with her increasing feelings of disgust with herself.

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The set is rather cleverly done, featuring a yellow frame filled with objects hanging from it. As the show goes on, Casey plucks various items from the frame to use as props, such as a phone or a lolly stick. The room grows quiet as she silently gets to her feet in the first scene and starts trying to retrace her steps from the night before, taking us with her on that journey and letting us in in every respect, with the jokes and the poetry. She searches for her lost keys and promises herself that she must go home, which she sets off for, but in her delirium she arrives at the wrong house, not knowing where she is.

Skilfully written and performed by Kirsty Osmon, this play has realistic dialogue that makes it utterly compelling as you watch the character struggle with flashbacks from the past whilst attempting to make sense of what’s happening now. We hear her London heritage as she responds to “Do you get me blood?”,which is how London youth speak these days, though she herself speaks in a more polite accent.

She relives conversations with voices on the PA, normal everyday things like playing the computer, eating pizza lying on the floor, talking through things with her boyfriend (David) whom she feels to have lost. He says “Let’s grow old together” sort of hopefully and innocently as an endearing dialogue. Also “I f##ng hate Birthdays…” and “…men love to misbehave” she angrily screams at David. Every couple can relate to this. But she misses him, and realises the remedy is to dance, so this is another instance where her props came into play as, accompanied by music from Dirty Dancing, she takes an inflatable water melon, and dances with it, holding it close then deflating it and leaving it on the floor.

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But the narrative takes a darker turn when she discovers bruises on both of her knees – ‘what the hell’, she thinks. She thinks she might be pregnant, “Did I have sex last night?” she asks herself, as so many young people do. She goes in search of a chemist for a morning after pill, taking on different characters as she leads us to focus on a story of a more and more serious nature. She despairs in her thoughts, “What have you got yourself into” she agonises.

Casey has vomit down her top and taking it off she finds two more large bruises. “I think I’ve been assaulted” she nervously declares. “My whole body hurts”, “Someone spiked my drink”. She recollects as much as she can, listing the day since stirring from her drunken slumber. Or was there another drug involved? But the thing is she’s cried wolf before and she doesn’t know if her friend will believe her. She wonders if the Police will when she decides she has to report it. Her whole body hurts. “It’s my body”, “It’s mine” as the lights darken and she storms from the stage, leaving us feeling shocked and wondering what will happen.

This show deals with raw contemporary issues in an engaging and thought provoking way. It’s well worth an hour of your time. The ending leaves you feeling shocked and wondering what will happen next.

Daniel Donnelly

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Posted on August 19, 2018, in Fringe 2018. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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