Lines

Lines is a touching spoken word show surrounding the diverse lives of people travelling along the London underground. The characters repeat “It’s not somewhere you go to / It’s something you go through” and we’re bombarded with a flurry of movement and a cacophony of voices that cover people from every class, background and race.

It’s a testament to the ensemble that something so structured feels so natural

The ensemble works together excellently, giving us insights into their lives in rhyming verse that lends a beautifully musical quality to the overall show allowing the actors to almost tag-team their monologues, seemingly casual but tightly choreographed. It’s a testament to the ensemble that something so structured feels so natural. It’s nigh on impossible to pick out any one standout performance, as the company have created clear and distinct characters that you feel you know personally after just a few lines – after all, they’re the people we see every day but never quite manage to connect with.

When they’re not acting in the scene the actors can also be seen at the back of the stage providing live musical accompaniments, sound effects and more. This greatly helps the pacing and poetic quality of the show. Another special mention has to go to Kiaran Kesby’s lighting design, which casts multiple shadows of the company onto the back wall and evokes the sensation of being surrounded by endless hordes of people going to and fro.

The only issues with the show emerges towards the end, after they start discussing terror attacks on the tube and the characters start attempting to connect with each other in the wake of disasters. Where the company had previously embraced the fragile connections between the commuters, the final scenes are much more concerned with ensuring there are no loose ends, which somewhat defeats the original premise of the show. It’s an understandable idea but unfortunately it’s not executed well enough for it not to slightly jar with the rest of the piece. Nevertheless this remains an insightful and imaginative piece that showcases some remarkable talents.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A devised play that uses spoken word poetry to explore the nature of contemporary public transport. The London Underground handles over four million passengers per day. Half the population of our multicultural capital scurry beneath the city to travel together. Each carriage is inhabited by cross sections of society. Combinations of class, race and opinion meet in a space in which you can barely whisper. A chorus of nine will become hundreds of passengers from all walks of life. They will create the tones, mechanisms and inhabitants of the tube as they journey through the veins of the city.

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