This jump-cutting adaptation of Shelagh Stephenson’s drama following two generations of domestic abuse is a decent attempt at a school-level production.
An impressive debut
As the production attempts to answer our initial questions about the complex family construct, continuity errors unfortunately create more questions. An eclectic array of contemporary suits, vibrant 80s knits and drab 60s attire leaves the show lost in its own confusion. It is difficult to invest in a performance which centres around shifts in time when each scene features retro elements and modern components. Despite the lack of clarity, the dialogue is fast-paced and emotive, and vintage tracks boost energy when the delivery gets bogged down.
Powerful instances from the young MGA Academy actors sees moments of harrowing truth. A microphone is used innovatively in multi-roling, which is taken on with vigour by principal characters, who show versatility and resourcefulness. Though Scottish accents creep through the northern dialect of the play, it is a convincing effort by the performers to tackle such chilling subject matter.
Though a lack of dramaturgical imagination is prevalent, potent occurrences of innovation add elements of theatrical impulse to anticipated scenes. Slow-motion dancing breaks up the intense dialogue and physical writhing on the constant bed prop elevates sections to unsettling experiences.
There is nothing to particularly dislike about Five Kinds of Silence, but nothing to inspire either. It is an impressive debut, especially considering the twisted psychological depths to the story. However, it would benefit from some variation in structure and style, to lift it from a school production to a professional novelty.