There’s an old adage that theatre should inform, if not educate, and at last night’s Hidden Viewz’ production of Clingfilm, I learnt, at least, the difference between me and I, a simile and a metaphor, and the dangers of ketchup on stage – I must admit to being slightly concerned with the apostrophe after the letter Z?
Written and directed by Olugbeminiyi Bammodu, Clingfilm explores ‘the strain society put on our relationships and what adulthood really entails.’
Bammodu trained at East 15 Acting School, where he met actors Anna Thornley (Melissa), Matt Rolls (Daniel), Elliot O’Donnell (Jacob) and Oliva Caw (Rachel), all of whom make up the tight Clingfilm ensemble.
The plot synopsis explains that ‘Melissa and Daniel are university sweethearts. Years on, they are still living together, but their different lifestyles are now tearing them apart, held together by familiarity and a now fleeting love. Lawyer Melissa struggles to support her unemployed artist boyfriend Daniel in the pursuit of his passion.’ Integral to the story are Jacob, Daniel’s brother and Rachel, Melissa’s best friend.
While The Water Rats is an attractive, comfortable black-box space, I felt that it was too small and hindered the overall production, but the clearly skilled ensemble carried on manfully, despite the slightly off-putting presence of all characters being on stage throughout the production.
That having been said, Anna Thornley as Melissa, the overpaid City lawyer-type, captured the destructive nature that money gives in relationships and was convincingly malevolent in her multiple nasty, bitchy swipes – of which there were many - at her poor, struggling artist partner. When asked why they were not married, her reply was, ‘he can’t afford the ring!’ What happened to love conquering all and the joys of a simple Hula Hoop?
Elliot O’Donnell as Jacob, Daniel’s brother was physically dominant, believable and showed real passion in his portrayal of frustration at his brother’s lack of direction and his reticence in getting involved in a family crisis. His wilful destruction of his brother’s painting with ketchup was a dramatic highpoint, sadly slightly lost by the errant tomato sauce hitting the front row of the audience!
Clingfilm as a piece has tremendous promise and potential and am sure that this will not be the last time we see it produced. Bammodu explores multiple themes in Clingfilm, some of which become repetitive and may benefit from some editing. The ensemble is clearly part of the wonderful new-generation of actors who must be applauded for the undoubted dedication to their craft. Equally the support and encouragement that companies such as HiddenViewz offer in the development and production of new work must be cheered at every opportunity.
Clingfilm is part of the Camden Fringe festival
Venue: The Water Rats, Grays Inn Road
Dates: 30th July – 1st August 2018
Time: 7.00 (pm) (90mins)
Ticket prices: £10/ concessions £7.50
Venue box office: 07930399830
Fringe box office: www.camdenfringe.com