Por Favor

Set against the backdrop of a school production of West Side Story, this is the story of Mr Taylor, a teacher in charge of putting on the production. It also features Jodie, a troubled pupil at the school, who nevertheless turns out to be the most naturally gifted actress that Mr Taylor (Jeff) has ever worked with.

The character of Jodie is played flawlessly

The story is set over a number of months, as we hear their individual stories and what changes for both of them when their lives collide. It seems that most of the teaching staff have already written Jodie off, and they do their utmost to discourage Jeff from casting her in the play. He stands up for his belief that she will make the best Maria, and casts her despite them. Jodie has never aspired to do anything beyond become a nail technician, and accompanies her best friend to the auditions without any ambition for herself. However she discovers that she comes alive when acting, and as Jeff says, 'she just gets it'. He becomes her mentor, and she loses all her friends who perceive her to be doing something 'poncy'. She even loses her boyfriend, and realises that ultimately he was not interested in who she is as a person. This is a tender development to her character arc, her realisation that she is a person worth being interested in.

Each of the scene changes are accompanied by music from West Side Story and it helps if you know the piece. We watch as she does indeed ‘get it’, we watch her wobble and we watch her succeed. Mr Taylor becomes the mentor we all wish we had on our side growing up, and we wish Jodie to succeed and go on to a future at drama school with the chance of fulfilling a potential nobody even knew she had.

The character of Jodie is played flawlessly. She is utterly believable and gives an astonishing performance. The change when she becomes Maria in West Side Story is jaw-droppingly good. Perhaps suffering from the comparison, Jeff is not as believable and seems to drop in and out of character. There are some odd directional choices, and some needless box moving which becomes a little distracting. It also felt a little like a rehearsal rather than a performance in some places. The story itself, if it had focussed on the dynamics of the relationship between these two key characters, would have been plenty and fascinating to watch. Despite a well written script, the writer also threw some other issues in there which would have been worth a separate performance as they have significant gravitas of their own. The ending, however real, was disappointing and sudden and leaves little satisfaction as you leave still wondering what happened. However, seeing the actress perform the part of Jodie is a shining light in the piece.

Reviews by Susanne Crosby

The Place Theatre, Bradgate Road

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MEET: Brighton Spiegeltent

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Jodie has no idea why she’s keeping her best mate Tasha company at an audition for the school production. Jeff is just looking for a female lead that will offer something a little different from the usual suspects. When two lives collide everything changes and both embark on a thrilling journey that concludes at an unexpected destination. Por Favor explores the power of the arts to transform and disrupt lives in almost equal measure. A tale of cage fighting boyfriends, fresh air, disapproving headteachers and milkshake.

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