The Co-op presented by Make It Beautiful
Updated: Jan 28
What is it?
The Co-Op is the premier production of Make It Beautiful theatre company. It is an original play written cleverly by Felix Grainger and Gabriel Fogarty-Graveson.
What is it about?
At the start of the play we meet to eccentric characters in a broken down office who appear to be re-enacting a scene from Star Wars only to be interrupted by a third player. We quickly learn that the Co-Op is an actors' agency run by two actors who represent each other and they are looking for their third. We follow the threesome, ingeniously played by Felix Grainger, Gabriel Fogarty-Graveson and Cara Steele, as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and what secrets lay beneath their seemingly failing agency.
How did it make me feel?
Well, for anyone who is an actor this play hits incredibly close to home. Grainger and Fogarty-Graveson have managed to capture, perfectly, the life of jobbing actors and have displayed perfectly the struggles and challenges that those actors face on a daily basis, whether they are in an audition room or not.
There is a sort of manic energy that goes into this show that really helps to elevate the stakes. Because of this, the audience is able to really feel for our characters and wish for their success.
I think one of the biggest mysteries and heart-breaking moments is when Steele's character phones her dad-twice. She never gets the chance to speak to him and we never find out exactly what she wanted to speak to him about, but the subtext is there - she's struggling, she's on her last limb, this could be the end of her acting dreams, and she just needs to speak to her father.
Another stand out aspect is the acting within the acting of the play. Several times we see Fogarty-Graveson and Steele's characters act out movie scenes that are quite dramatic and over the top. This element is both entertaining and saddening. We can see how passionate they are about performing and it's undeniably sad that they are just stuck in a small run down office performing for each other.
In this play, I felt seen and understood, as I dare say many in the theatre and film business would. The writing team are very clever to pay homage to the industry instead of bashing it; it is done is a tasteful and creative way that is to be admired.
One can only wish for another run of this production soon and I send the best of luck to this new theatre company who are doing their part and making work for themselves and others. It's fantastic.
The Co-op is playing at The White Bear Theatre until the 25th January 2020.
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