Hot Off The Press

Hope Street Theatre
Written and Directed by Mark Murphy
Unity Theatre (8th-9th June 2007)

Reviewed by Helen Grey

Let me start by saying that I love abstract theatre. I enjoy the challenge of trying to work out what’s going on and the discussions that can arise from the process. I don’t have to completely understand a piece of theatre to understand it - but it generally helps.

At the beginning of the rehearsal process writer and director Mark Murphy presented the company with news stories, and it was these news stories that became the basis of the story that was presented in the Unity. Apparently 'this random selection of incidents and accidents forms the backbone of an invented story that revealed itself by the end of the rehearsal process.'

Well I’m glad they knew what was going on because I was completely confused. I can tell you the plot had something to do with a lonely heart ad and women, but that’s about it. There were lots of blackouts and frozen in position actors that after a while made me think I might have some kind of fit. In praise of the cast they were all very talented, but I just couldn’t connect with them as I didn’t understand who they were or what they were doing.

Hot Off The Press had a lot of physical theatre in it, which again was very good. I just got the feeling the play was being a bit more abstract than it needed to be and if it had been a touch clearer the audience wouldn’t have left with confused looks on their faces. As I was leaving the theatre an astute gentleman said: “If it had been…different, I would have got it.”

I tend to agree.

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