2:2, by Dilek Latif

Tuesday, 31 August, 2010

University of the Dark

London Festival Fringe:  The Lost Theatre, 24th-26th August, 19.30 (1.40)

2:2 is a new play by first time writer/director Dilek Latif.

Four close university friends, Kerry (Elizabeth Campbell), Sean (Oliver Hurst), Dee (Lauren-Jean Reeves) and Guy (Tom Squires) go into the law department to get their final degree results together.  They have laughed, cried, partied and lived together for three years, and they set off to meet what they see as a pivotal moment together.  When they are just metres away from their destination, they are diverted by their favourite tutor, Richard (Stephen Malyon), who invites them for a glass of celebratory champagne in his office.  As the mood changes from congenial to strained, the girls try to leave only to find that they are all locked in with an increasingly unstable Richard.  It transpires that one of the four has taken something from Richard and he is intent on eliciting a confession.  In the process he sets the four friends against each other, bringing out their secret longings and jealousies and using them to unsettle the group.  Driven by his own dark past, Richard plays a game that gets more and more frightening.

The student foursome each represent classic ‘types’:  Guy (Tom Squires) is a burly jock who likes the ladies, Sean (Oliver Hurst) is the sensitive boffin, Kerry (Elizabeth Campbell) is the spoilt posh girl while Dee (Lauren-Jean Reeves) is the tom-boy with a secret crush.  Their favourite tutor, Richard (Stephen Malyon) is unrelentingly creepy.

The young team on this project obviously put a lot of enthusiasm into it. The extremely well thought out set and props really do evoke the university world, and director Dilek Latif stages the piece competently within the space.  It is unfortunate that, while there are some promising moments, as a piece it doesn’t really come off.  The concept itself is sound and offers great possibilities that may have been realised in a slicker, more exciting fashion if the show was half the length.  As it is, the characters flounder in a script that labours through the repetition of a few underlying threads towards an ending which is is pretty far-fetched.  While many of the conversations and group scenes  lack dramatic drive, the script gets a real lift whenever there is a monologue.  The actors follow suit and deliver most of their best work at these moments where they show genuine commitment to the thoughts and emotions of the characters and often raise their energy to match.

On the whole, this is a nicely staged piece with some promising moments which is a little too studenty for the demands of the fringe.

Cast Credits (alpha order):  Elizabeth Campbell – Kerry, Oliver Hurst – Sean, Stephen Malyon – Richard, Lauren-Jean Reeves – Dee, Tom Squires – Guy.

Company Credits – Writer/Director – Dilek Latif, Production Photography – Mark Taylor & Nahla Ibrahim, Lighting Designer – Mark Hensler.

(c) Jennifer Skapeti

Reviewed 25 August

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