Written by Ali Taylor
12th April 2013
The frisson of anticipation in this compact space was a good indicator
of audience expectation. This venue is ideally suited to showcasing emerging
young talent and tonight was no exception. The full-house in the upstairs
Unity Two for this seventy minute one act play by Ali Taylor justified
the £10/£8 ticket prices for this production.
There was not much to focus on at first; three players with three chairs
on a blank stage and a smoke blowing machine around which the cleverly
lit and edgy sound tracked action evolved.
It's Friday night and the trio of hoodied scallies are going through
the motions at Mac'y D's, the format so well practiced that every chip
has a part to play. This evening though the routine will be shattered
forever as an explosion rocks a Birkenhead suburb when the lads are downing
impressive quantities of beer at a local pub. This takes a serious hit,
the aftershock of which will indelibly impact on the mates fortunes.
The braggadocio of Finch (Ralph Griffiths), Potts (Ben Bridson), and
Baron (Tom Martin) will prove their ultimate undoing as the community
searches for a scapegoat. Increasingly paranoid about a mysterious man
in black dogging them, they become prime suspects in their own right.
With more luck than guile they evade the encircling net thanks to their
daytime personas; T A Cadet, Under 12's shoe attendant in a sports shop
or a love-lorn liaison with a getaway college seeker.
Along the way they get some great laughs despite the darkness engulfing
them, taking turns to represent other characters present in the action
- police officers, bouncers, mothers, girlfriends and army personnel amongst
them. When the denouement arrives it is not the likely suspect who does
the deed, a nice twist.
Dan Meigh's direction was slick as were the performances. The mainly
young audience was ahead of me on some of the humour and specifics of
the odd downtown locales haunted by the gang as the dysfunctional nature
of modern day Britain strongly came over in the drama.
Off The Ground were warmly applauded by the appreciative crowd and retired
to the bar at the end to recuperate.