Silent Meat presented by Blue Touch Paper Productions
What is it? Silent Meat is the weaving of four stories into a wide-lense look at millennial love and loss.
What is it all about?
Running at a lengthy 1hr and 15minutes Silent Meat takes four stories that span the streets of Vauxhall, the clubs of Isreal and the murder hotels of the US.
How did it make me feel?
Silent Meat seems to be a show at the start of it’s journey. There are moments of real pain and beauty in this expansive script by David Levesley. The story of a couple who meet in the street is instantly captivating and only become more and more heartbreaking despite sharing the stage with so many others. Levesley is obviously much more comfortable writing male characters. The narrative of a mother who wants to kill herself with the help of her son after suffering a terminal illness has real legs but is faced with stoic acceptance and little nuance. It is also a big ask of Raagni Sharma to play someone presumably at least 40 years her senior. Sharma does well to bring moments of humour to the postcard dialogue Levesley has given her. The holiday-romance turned domestic bliss is also under written, large bombshells are dropped on the audience without having any time to connect with the characters. Zoe Templeman-Young is believable as the frustrated, vlogging girlfriend but again the women in this show are criminally underwritten, and she only seems to care about cracking her emotionally unavailable partner, played lacklusterly by Hassan Maarfi. The star of the show is undoubtedly Alex Roberts. His character is fully fleshed out and emotionally whole and Roberts absolutely has the acting chops to carry that. He is instantly likeable and funny and maintains a casual and engaging style whilst navigating some tough emotional narrative arks.
Direction from Katherine Farmer is a little confused. The decision to have all the actors on stage, visibly reacting to the onstage action before getting up and participating is reminiscent of a primary school nativity. The shakey sound design is also manned on stage by drag queen Vivian Bam Bam. This is never really explained, a part from the fact there is a drag queen in the final scene (at no other point has a non-integral character been played by an actor so this is inconsistent) and Vivian Bam Bam herself seemed very uncomfortable, making her entrance at the end a difficult watch.
Silent Meat has great potential and is at an exciting stage of its development. More time needs to be spent on the under developed female characters, unrealistic casting and confusing directorial style.
Silent Meat is playing in the Cage, VAULT Festival, until the 18th March 2020.
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