As Yet Undecided

As Yet Undecided is an intriguing piece of ‘nonfiction’ with a cast of characters including Doubt, Time and Procrastination. Join Jessica Walker, our abandoned solo performer, in this experimental, work-in-progress piece. She’s an actor/director left to carry the mantle of a full-run Fringe show after losing the lead actor.

An enjoyable performance, and with a bit of rehearsal it will improve greatly.

The show follows Walker as she, having just discovered the loss of her performer, faces the various trials associated with putting together a show in one month. Dressed in dungarees and a white shirt, Walker looks like a stage manager who has been accidently pushed onstage, and is not particularly comfortable there; striding around the stage with a slowly building anxiousness that stirs up painful, empathetic memories. We’ve all been there, or in a similar enough situation that Walkers panic is catching. Walker’s performance is solid, and great fun, if under rehearsed. Although comfortable playing ‘herself’, it is difficult to detect when Walker changes into one of the various other characters into the piece. This delay reduces the enjoyment of the piece and added further confusion to an already convoluted plot, which is a real shame because certain other characters are a real highlight, particularly the Travel Agent, once their identity is revealed.

Walker throws everything at the wall and sees what sticks. She begins the show chatting with her personification of Doubt, a health & safety manager. Procrastination becomes a friend that just wants to watch Netflix, and Time is the always-calm jogger. These are good ideas that, with rehearsal and refining, could become fascinating characters in their own. From here, the plot jumps to manipulated Shakespeare (Lear and Richard III both crop up, bizarrely shoehorned into the piece), which felt unexplained, and as though it was added in to take up time. Unfortunately, the storyline continues to splinter: we finish up with storytelling grandmothers, references and clichés. Openly acknowledging that there are problems with the structure of the piece doesn’t make those problems go away, it just ‘makes them meta’.

Part improvisation and part script, the core of As Yet Undecided is continually in flux. Walker is continually evolving the piece, exploring possibilities over the course of the Fringe run. The performance I saw was all new material. Walker’s Twitter feed seems to be the best place to find information about what kind of performance you may get night-to-night. Unfortunately, during the performance I saw, all the sound was broken and the lighting, though it started in sync, became less and less relevant to what was going on onstage as the show progressed.

Yes, you can tell that this show was assembled hastily in two weeks without a director. It was more a series of aimless, unrehearsed vignettes. However, it was still an enjoyable performance, and with a bit of rehearsal it will improve greatly.  

Reviews by M Johnson

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The Blurb

One month before they are expected to start their Fringe show, one company loses their main actor. Now one woman must try and save the show. Come along and see how that went… because as they say, the show must go on! Loosely based on a true story. Written, created and rehearsed in the space of a month by actor/director Jessica Walker. Her debut show explores the challenges of putting on a one woman show in an evening of wacky characters, attempts at physical theatre and even a bit of mime!

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