Flat Pack is a coming-of-age story. It’s about getting laid, making it and growing up. Billed as a black comedy, I would say it’s actually a drama with some funny bits. It’s not laugh a minute: the style is realism, not sitcom.
As a new work it does have elements that could be further developed
Poppy (Emily Jane McNeill) is about to return home from London to deal with a few things. She shares a flat with her best friend Felix (Harry Haynes). Felix is an ambitious young artist, still with his high school sweetheart Lucie (Jessica Brindle) who lives back home and works as a waitress but visits regularly, envying his London lifestyle. But all is not as it’s cracked up to be.
When Poppy and her gay best friend Josh (Alasdair Hankinson) have a conversation about her virginity, I was surprised as her casual attitude to dating seemed at odds with this – although what unravels later does make this scene interesting to look back on.
The company, Ink Dolls, was formed by McNeill and director Charlotte McGuinness, students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland who have co-written Flat Pack. It succeeds in creating a strong sense of the early years out of home and the key issues fledgling adults deal with, notably sexuality, but also stepping away from their parents to become their own people.
As a new work it does have elements that could be further developed. Poppy is the central character, but it seems that Felix really should be the protagonist, as his character is going through a greater change. In one scene Poppy’s reaction to some news is given more emphasis than the response of the person who would be most affected, which suggests Poppy is the intended protagonist, but if this is the case, Poppy’s coming to terms with the situation around her ought to be strengthened.
Nonetheless, with its strong performances and good pacing, Flat Pack is a great display of emerging talent.