Written by Ali Taylor
Unity Theatre
12th April 2013

Reviewed by Joe Coventry

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 Off The Ground Theatre 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.

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