Festive Season

Set over the duration of one Christmas Eve, Festive Season is an abstract exploration of familial responsibility and the loss of loved ones. Two brothers engage in petty squabbles and await their elderly, ailing mother's arrival that evening. Their mother is not the only one to turn up, though. She arrives flanked by two sharp-suited mystery figures referred to only as One and Two, who reveal themselves to have designs on her fate.The script is interesting and heartfelt and there is an fascinating depth to the characters; the finely tuned dynamic between the two brothers is particularly impressive. In terms of performance, the company's youth is undoubtedly an inhibitor, particularly when set such tasks as playing a senile woman, who often becomes an irritating vehicle for humour rather than an emotional portrait of someone on the edge of mental degradation. Nevertheless, they still manage to do very well and, on the most part, provide impressive sincerity in their performance.My only criticism of the script is that it starts out in a very abstract fashion, but never properly capitalises on it, leaving the resulting narrative quirky rather than surreal. This can get confusing at times and detracts from the more important plot points. The concept is very interesting but can become muddled, especially in its quasi-realistic setting.The biggest problem (and one that can be easily rectified) is the scene changes, they are far too long, loud and done in half-light. The actors do not retain their characters through them either, so suspension of disbelief becomes that little bit harder for the audience. Unfortunately this undoes the tension built in the preceding scene and jilts the flow of the piece as a whole.Festive Season is, at its heart, funny and moving. This young troupe show great potential and, if they choose to carry on as a company, will undoubtedly do well in the future.

Reviews by Stephanie Bartlett

The Blurb

‘Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’. ‘Festive Season’ depicts a vicious sibling rivalry stoked by a domineering mother and a conspicuously absent father. Can outsiders fix the problem and at what cost?