Written by Rob Evans
People Can Run
Unity Theatre (7th October 2006)
Our consumerism-contorted society is a horrific hell-on-wheels from which
people can run, but they can’t hide. That’s the inescapable
argument of Aruba, a play that has already wowed crowds in New York and
the Edinburgh Festival. Over the course of sixty thoroughly entertaining
minutes, the ‘flight’ option is thoroughly pulled to bits,
leaving the audience to wonder what other options they have.
Aruba is almost uniquely structured, with a multitude of characters being
played by three actors on an otherwise empty stage. Each performer has
their own twenty minutes of fame, as their main character steps into the
limelight with their decidedly individual story.
Mark (Ben Lewis) is a ridiculously cocky ad man, who is always under
pressure to come up with the next big catchphrase. Eventually he cracks
under the strain, and takes a psychological vacation to the unspoiled
island of Aruba. There he comes up with the ultimate postmodern slogan
– ‘It’s JUST a shoe’ – that puts a certain
brand of footwear on everyone’s feet. Well, everyone in the right
Next, we meet Darren (Kieran Fay), a personal trainer with an Australian
accent even thicker than his neck muscles. Mind you, his physique is not
what it once was (the man is thirty-five after all), so his boss/girlfriend
is trading him for a younger model. Dumped on the romance and career scrapheaps,
he gatecrashes a workers and clients party at the gym, gets way too drunk,
and ends-up joining Mark in Aruba.
The final millennial misfit is Nikki (Sophie Fletcher), a travel agency
desk. She’s constantly plagued by people doing surveys in the street
– who think her answers are boring anyway – and no one ever
listens to her at work either. So what else can a poor travel agent do,
apart from fantasise about holidaying in Aruba? Well there is one thing.
Rob Evans and People Can Run have created a dark yet breezy play that
everyone in the wild western world could relate to. The tremendously talented
trio of actors conjure-up plausible scenes of urban paranoia without the
use of props or scenery. But then we know what the scenery looks like.
It is the backdrop for our desperate and frustrated lives.