First Draft

First Draft tries to explore some interesting territory, but gets weighed down in its own symbolism and confused opinions. A two-hander, using both movement and physical theatre as well as short scenes, mime and soundscapes, it is a hit-and-miss affair which doesn’t hold the attention for the 45 minute running time.

Interspersed into this though are a range of seemingly random vignettes and short scenes with characters that essentially serve as mouthpieces for the writer’s musings.

The main set-up is that of two unnamed women, living in a bunker-like colony under the earth post-apocalypse. Details of the incident which drove humanity underground are scant, and one of the women’s jobs is to catalogue all of the remaining memories into a ‘depository of human thought’. Her companion wants to escape outside and see the real sun and sky. The two performers - Charlotte Baseley and Louise Callaghan - do a good job with this narrative, and their awkward flirting and misunderstandings are touching and amusing. They cleverly convey the idea of the irrelevance of time down below, and the discomfort of being kept alive by machines but not really living.

Interspersed into this though are a range of seemingly random vignettes and short scenes with characters that essentially serve as mouthpieces for the writer’s musings about war being bad, politicians being jumped-up gun salesmen, and other such predictable ideals. These might be interesting if they weren’t so clunky, but alas, set-ups are as dull as a date between a peace-loving idealist and a pragmatist ex-soldier (he’s Eastern European, so y’know, obviously into war). Baseley and Callaghan do the best they can with these, but only come into their own in the movement-led sequences. Both performers are obviously skilled in this area, and are precise and graceful in lovely snippets of physical theatre.

As our Eastern-European soldier says; “can’t see you why people can’t listen to you?” - a note that could have helped here, as the silent scenes alone might have communicated more than Coleen MacPherson’s messy self-indulgent script. 

Reviews by Jen Payne

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★★
Camden People's Theatre

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★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

First Draft brings us into a fast-paced world where two actors play twelve characters jostling us with the vital questions of our time: is war inevitable? Have we lost hope for humanity?

Physical Theatre, a satirical and touching statement against apathy, First Draft is an award-winning play that makes it’s London debut at The Camden Fringe.

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