In Colour

Different Light Theatre Company
Unity Theatre, 25 - 26 May

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

In its short time span of 50 minutes, In Colour, produced by the Different Light theatre company, cleverly touches upon a number of various themes, including lost dreams, unrequited love, the sex industry, and domestic and sexual violence.

The central character is Karen, impressively acted by Rebecca Illsley - I particularly liked her use of mime at various parts of the story - who is scratching a living working in a cafe, but who wants to escape from this drudgery, and fulfill her hopes of becoming a ballet dancer.

During this opening scene, there is an amusing segment when you hear the sound of the crowded cafe heard off stage, but whenever Karen turns round a cardboard mount on the table, perhaps symbolising an open/shut notice, the sound is abruptly cut off and on.

But bitter disappointment and rejection awaits her, after she humiliatingly fails a dance audition.

She then ends up performing as a lap dancer, and during this period she loses her identity and sense of self worth, notably when a pimp-like character describes to her the working conditions involved in eking a living in this sordid work environment.

The only person who appears to have any love for her is a character described as 'The Boy' (Nicholas Ingram), who makes a living performing as a busker. He regularly plays the acoustic guitar throughout the play, including the song of relection on time past by Otis Redding 'Living on the Dock of the Bay'.

Despite his overtures to her, both musically and verbally, Karen spurns his desires. In a poignant moment in the play, both sit back to back to each other talking about each of their lives, but lacking any empathy or insight for each other's dilemmas.

The only other character involved in In Colour is the shadowy and menacing presence of 'The Stranger' (David Washbrook). He initially meets Karen in the cafe, and after suggesting she should work as a lap dancer,after apparently they became partners, he later slaps her, knocks her to the ground and then sexually abuses her.

All three characters end up as lost souls, with little direction or purpose in their lives - a symbol of modern day living, where true love is very difficult to find.