No Strings

No Strings tells the unoriginal tale of two, middle-aged married people hooking up for one night of meaningless, pure sex, with Shona looking to get back at her cheating husband and turning to the more experienced Jamie for that satisfaction.

The recurring issue with this production is the writing.

With stilted dialogue and an odd structure, the writing was very rough around the edges. The script wore its heart on its sleeve and not in the endearing sense. No attention had been given to the possibility of subtext which heavily contradicted the motives of the characters, who wanted an uncommitted; no strings attached one night stand. Jamie in particular, who in one minute wants to preserve the anonymity with his latest lover, completely abandons his rule in the next with next to no development that justifies such a jump in his character.

To their credit, the actors tackled with the difficult dialogue to try and make it remotely natural, but even then they couldn’t save it, and there performances as a result felt badly paced and painfully artificial. Kirstin Northcote, who plays Jamie’s wife Louise, was arguably the better performer of the group, who despite all odds, managed to maintain some naturalism, but was regrettably underused across the entire production.

Scenes ended in odd places, others didn’t even feel relevant and dialogue jumped around rather abruptly without development. The relationship between Jamie and Shona never really surpassed anything beyond the sexual, and though that may have been the point, if it was this wasn’t made clear in performance.

The ending had the potential to be the most interesting part of the play, setting up a completely unexpected twist that could have thrown the legitimacy of one of the characters into question. But instead it was treated as a final, completely unnecessary gag, with what I assume was a director cameo.

The recurring issue with this production is the writing, and though in its current state there are a lot of problems, with some heavy editing and refining of the dialogue, everything else should fall into place. 

Reviews by James Moore

Upstage Centre Youth Theatre

Henry V

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

The Greatest Stories Never Told

★★★★
Paradise in Augustines

A Matter of Life and Debt

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

The Rules: Sex, Lies and Serial Killers

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

No Strings

theSpace on the Mile

Improvabunga: Funny Side Up

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Jamie and Shona meet for an illicit encounter in a soulless hotel room. Jamie wants a night of no strings sex and a brief escape from the tedium of daily life. Shona isn’t quite sure what she wants. When their paths cross, the emotional fallout is brutal and neither of them escapes unscathed. This original work by new writer Carolyn Duffin explores adult themes of love, anonymous sex and betrayal. An emotionally charged performance directed by acclaimed playwright Martin J Taylor and starring Carolyn Duffin, George Drever and Kirstin Northcote. Intended for adult viewing.