Half Baked

It’s rare when the title of a show manages to effectively review itself. Unfortunately, this is the case for Half Baked. As the very first show from new Brighton-based theatre company Covert Accomplice, you might not expect a fully polished performance. However, everything from the writing to the performances only ever seemed to get halfway there.

The play either needs a more engaging plot, or sharper dialogue. Preferably both.

Too often it feels like the show’s form too closely mirrors its content, with the results giving off more of a student workshop vibe than that of a completed play. A prolonged scene where the characters are stoned sees the cast having more fun than the audience, especially as some of the so-called jokes were as dull as a poorly rolled joint.

In all fairness, writer and director Chance Bliss Dini seemed to want to develop characters and their interactions, rather than having a focus on a plot. However, this just resulted in a storyline that didn’t go anywhere fast, and took a long time to get there. The show would have benefitted from editing; for example an under developed storyline about domestic abuse was introduced without ever being given the time it needed to be effective.

The show was not helped by a magnificently unconvincing performance from Louis Heriz-Smith who spent much of the play looking as though he’d wandered onto the stage somewhat by accident. Bright spots existed here and there and, as a package, the play is not without merit. A general sense of ennui gave me flashbacks to misspent student days, whilst Frankie was excellent: a well-written character with an intensity convincingly played by Sam Razvi. There was a natural chemistry within the group, making for a believable bunch of friends.

It was an enjoyable evening and there were enough moments where I was briefly caught up in the story, before some clunky dialogue, forced moment or unconvincing performance broke the spell. The play either needs a more engaging plot, or sharper dialogue. Preferably both. Without which, I am once again drawn to the title for the perfect summary:Half Baked.

Reviews by Nicholas Abrams

Rialto Theatre

Half Baked

★★
The Claremont

Fried Mind Show: David Terrence

★★★
Preston Manor

Bram Stoker's Dracula

★★★★
Emporium Theatre and Cafe-Bar

Wait until Dark

★★★
Marlborough Theatre

Runts

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Captain Morgan and The Sands of Time

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

“A play about booze, rizlas, and getting your shit together.”

Worrying if you took the right degree? Worried you’re going nowhere? Disillusioned with your life? Need a beer?

If the answer is YES to any of these questions, we have the show for you!

This is Covert Accomplice‘s inaugural production of Half Baked, a show about four millennials coping with their own post-recession, post-university slump in a small town.Using scripted work, devised work, four talented improv actors, snappy, engaging dialogue and in-depth character work to create a hilarious and engaging show that everyone can relate to.