A multi-media theatre project is very difficult to pull off. Theatre is hard enough, adding film into the mix is an ambitious move. Sadly for Brush the gamble doesn’t pay off. It’s a shame as the script has moments of real power and honesty and the actors are not afraid to do it justice; the production has potential, but ultimately it lacks the structure required to pull it all together.
Brush revolves around two struggling artists, Matt and Swanny, who are attempting to make it in the art world. The play explores their relationships with Amy, Matt’s ex girlfriend, who has recently moved away. We never see Amy on stage but witness her interacting with them both through a series of mini-films. Due to the amount of time the characters spend remonstrating about their loss, Amy is, without being present, a central character in the play. However we hardly see her speak or interact with the characters for long enough for us to invest in her relationships. The films are relatively silent and although we see relationships form (along with some rather unnecessary sex scenes) we never really get a feel for her actual character. On stage we simply see the grief after the relationship has ended and it is rather hard to care about this loss. We are not given any time emotionally invest in the characters emotionally before we are plunged into a series of monologues surrounding the problems that they face. They are beautifully delivered, but it would have been preferable for the relationship to have been seen on stage before lamenting its loss.
Danny Mellor gives a fantastic performance as Matt, dominating the stage and demanding our attention throughout his, perhaps too long, monologues. As the first film stopped and the monologue began it was obvious that this company is far more comfortable on stage than on film. It was a shame, then, that we couldn’t have seen more of this.
Brush has moments of powerful writing and superb acting. Sadly, to catch this you have to sit through a lot of mediocre film. Let’s hope they stick to the stage next time.