Mannequins

Staged by ReACTion Youth Theatre, Mannequins was intended to explore the relationship between surveillance and the London Riots. Unfortunately, it fell short of any meaningful connection with either of these themes, or with the audience. These issues, and the small part they had in the play was admirable and intriguing; however the script seemed to let the cast down.

The dialogue often seemed rambling and repetitive, with the same phrases, spoken by mannequins about humans, such as ‘They don’t understand’, ‘They get to leave everyday and we are left here’, repeated over and over again without further expansion or understanding.

The dialogue often seemed rambling and repetitive, with the same phrases, spoken by mannequins about humans, such as ‘They don’t understand’, ‘They get to leave everyday and we are left here’, repeated over and over again without further expansion or understanding. The use of multimedia was a good way to remind the audience about the reporting on and reaction to the riots but this was never followed up in the performance. The actors also left long pauses between much of their dialogue, leading the audience to occasionally wonder if they had forgotten their lines. The theme of the riots never seemed totally in union with the storyline about mannequins wishing to get their friend back and having to engage with humans in order to do this. If the metaphor between these two was indented to not be completely obvious, then the script needed to be more concise and able to explore the mannequins imprisonment, leading naturally to an understanding about the riots.

The small amount of humour in the show didn’t manage to amuse any of the audience, even though a few members were titillated by the gruesome climax of the show which was evidently meant to be poignant and not at all funny. It is disappointing that the show didn’t fulfil its potential as, from the beginning when we were greeted by well-costumed, motionless mannequins, the suspense was heightened. The concept of mirroring the life of mannequins with arguments about surveillance after the London Riots is an commendable one and at points the show came close to really doing this. But generally, it fell just short of the mark.

Reviews by Alaina Briggs

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★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

The mannequins are forced to spend their days being glared at, but when their family is torn apart they must do everything they can to make people listen to them. Inspired by the relationship between surveillance culture and the London riots, 'Mannequins' is a brand new devised play.

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