“Shall I tell you a story?” a girl asks. She doesn’t receive an answer. “You’ll like it”. Her audience remains convinced. She remains undeterred. “I’ll tell you anyway.”
There is talent here, and both performers have enough charm and grace to pull off a show. What they need gifted to them, in abundance, is bucket loads more confidence
Two young women, childish and petulant, bicker and fight, coming across as a mix between Enid Blyton and the characters from a Blue Remembered Hills revival. The phrasing and pacing is confusing to begin with (having both your actors fall asleep with their eyes closed for nearly a minute within the first five minutes of your show is a bold opening statement, no matter what anybody tells you), and in all honesty doesn’t become altogether clearer in the next 45 minutes. Nonetheless, there’s a lot explored in Dot. Dot. Dot. about female pre-pubescent friendships, and the opposing loyalties and cruelties that engenders.
There are some elegant gags here – both the character’s names, for instance, and it’s clear that the extended pauses between scenes are meant to be representative of the title. But it’s the pauses that also indicate a sticking point with this production. This reviewer actually adores over-long pauses, even ones where the audience are actively frustrated by the lack of action, but when such delays happen here (and they do annoy the audience, or at least make them restless), they appear to have no purpose. In the publicity, Dot. Dot. Dot. declares as inspiration Waiting For Godot, which similarly has opaque and bewildering avoidances of plot propulsion. But whereas Godot is a play frustrated by a resolution that refuses to arrive, Dot. Dot. Dot. appears to be a piece that actively runs away from story. We should underline – that in of itself isn’t necessarily bad; but the piece seems to be still a work in progress. Characters speak, or do things (like shout in each other’s faces, or pace up and down) because it’s the next thing in the script, rather than any emotional cue.
There is talent here, and both performers have enough charm and grace to pull off a show. What they need gifted to them, in abundance, is bucket loads more confidence, and the willingness to commit fully to each idea as it’s presented. It’s not clear from this production if they have an external director, but an outside eye would be able to sharpen the soft edges (or alternatively, allow the entire thing to be woozy and hazy: at the moment, the piece attempts to be both).
At one point, a girl shouts into an empty box, proving metaphor unavoidable: “Hello?” she demands. “Have you got any stories in there?” The box gives no response. There is great promise here. All the performers need to do is break out of the box.