Four Walls playfully follows the story of Sara, a girl who wakes up to her slippers farting, her mirror talking back to her and her kettle boiling at the brim. Think Alice in Wonderland meets Beauty and the Beast. The story sets itself out as affectionate and dreamlike, yet soon starts to awkwardly twist and turn leaving the audience bored. The play does not know whether it wants to be a stark surrealist commentary, a kids show or a pantomime.
Many of the jokes are puerile, often revolving around poo. This would not be an issue if such a theme was visited only a few times throughout and I can understand the purpose of catering to children with obvious jokes. However, the characters with the fecal obsession didn’t seem to have much else to say for themselves. This was undercut by confusing sections of text clearly set out to subtly make the audience think but that felt incongruous to the rest of the piece.
Some of the acting felt quite forced and was not enough to fill the space in the way it should have done. For instance, Sara’s mirror was played twice as energetically as Sara herself. At no one point did their energies match, which made the action fall flat. Much of the time the bulk of pacing in a scene came from the wrong characters, drawing focus from the plot; the two girls puppeteering slippers started to flush one another down the toilet, giggling and screaming loudly, whilst a dialogue ran right next to it. Had the staging upped the focus to the dialogue maybe this could have been averted.
The end also had me stumped. Rather than accepting a slightly simpler ending they twisted it three times over as if to try and force intelligence in the audiences' face. Though the play does have a certain amount of charm it is currently confused and needs refining.