Some Voices is a formidable interpretation of a play.
Spearhead Theatre take on this gripping show with a good amount of punch and sensitivity. Dallas has a naturally sweet demeanour and tackles the difficult challenge of playing someone suffering with schizophrenia with a great sense of humour. The abusive relationship between Laura (Rachael White) and Dave (Lewis McCutchen) is hard-hitting, however, at times could do with letting intensity build. McCutchen is truly menacing and White balances manipulated guilt and defiance well in her performance. When Ray falls in love with Laura, his endearing nature naturally wins her over and the pair share a charming and unlikely chemistry.
In the middle of this, Ray’s brother Pete (Stefan Ward) is the rock trying to hold the pieces together. Ward grapples with the conflicting weariness and concern of the character beautifully, giving a measured and moving performance. Flitting in and out of the narrative is Ives (Andy Roberton), Ray’s friend from hospital who suffers from paranoia. Robertson is excellent in portraying Ives’ feverish rants and conspiracy theories, though the character isn’t given enough stage time to fully develop. He does, however, present a terrifying reality for people living with mental illness and the destitute circumstances they can end up in - an end that Ray himself could face.
Staging is simple and effective with just three chairs and a table. However, a play with this amount of grit and naturalism could have done with more believable props. For example - without giving anything away - pretending to pour petrol rather than having water in the cannister diminishes what could have been a really powerful scene. The same goes for clearly empty and slightly bashed about beer cans.
A vast amount of the play is taken up by confrontation - Ray and Pete struggling to find a balance together, Laura physically confronted by Dave, Ives confronting his demons and, finally, Ray confronting his illness. There’s an immense amount of action; arguably too much to be condensed into one hour and fifteen minutes. Though all performances are beautifully judged, the rushed nature of the narrative leaves me wanting more pathos and more time to linger on beautiful moments.
All in all, Some Voices is a formidable interpretation of a play. It does, however, need more stage-time to fully sink your teeth into.