Gathering Jack

By J.J.Bond, directed by Mikyla Duran
Presented by Burjesta Theatre
15th February 2012 at The Casa, Hope Street

Reviewed by Sarah Ryan

Burjesta Theatre has a number of worthy aims, firstly to provide local audiences with ‘original and dynamic work’ and secondly to encourage people to ‘get involved’ with acting by running weekly workshops each Wednesday at the Casa on Hope street. They form a part of a welcome explosion of home grown theatre groups who perform in a variety of interesting venues and for this they should be applauded.

‘Gathering Jack’ is their first in house production which attempts to present an ambitious story loosely based on the idea of a serial killer, a kind of ‘gentlemanly Victorian killer’. The play opens quite effectively with Anthony Gormley’s statues shrouded in darkness on Crosby beach and features other local landmarks as the setting for our serial killer. There were some interesting touches, such as basing the action around a homeless centre which was in the business of transforming people’s lives and also unwittingly offered them up as victims!

However the pace was a little uneven and lacked suspense, with the identity of the killer revealed quite early on. I felt that the writing lacked credibility as characters were not really developed and not always believable. For example I can’t think of many young work experience employees who would work late at a deserted homeless centre on the evening of Valentine’s day! The ending rapidly descended into melodrama which again just didn’t ring true as the scenario was a little far-fetched, but could have worked if only more attention had been paid to character development. Some of the performances were really effective and generated genuine sympathy when they met their untimely deaths, and I do appreciate that a number of the cast are amateurs and have limited acting experience, so did their best with a demanding subject matter.

The audience were generous in their support and with a more effective script I feel that Burjesta Theatre can only go from strength to strength.

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Comment left by dazza on 23rd March, 2012 at 11:59
Iwent to see the play on the opening night with a group of friends and really enjoyed it. And I'm sure everyone who attended enjoyed it. There was laughter, screams and a roving applasue at the end and in between the breaks. Burjesta Theatre had gone out of their way to make the audience feel at home and comfortable by setting out the tables and a curry was included in the price making the casa, not the most comfortable venues, more bearable). The play was great pantatmine, and was in no way intended as a series theatre piece. This I think is what this reiew has missed.