The Final Approach

The Final Approach is a one man show by Thom Jordan, exploring the daring investigation of outsider Sam into his high school’s darkest secrets. Inspired by film noir, this show has all the musk and intrigue of an American 1940’s crime drama, and had me gripped from beginning to end. We are provided with headphones, through which play the jazz, sound and voice effects which accompany the projections Jordan displayed on the screen behind him. It is an atmospheric masterpiece, truly enveloping us in the hustle and bustle of the school whilst the hum of mystery lingers in our ears. Jordan is viewable on a screen throughout, and uses viewfoils on the projector, giving it the authentic feel, whilst keeping it engaging and creative; pouring water and layering the foils to really set the scene and bring the voices in the headphones to life. The projections are only silhouettes, however, maintaining the old-timey allure of the piece.

The Final Approach demands attention, and deserves it too

Our protagonist is sleep-deprived and stashes pills in his locker, having all the elements of the typical tortured lead in a detective drama, though is really just a hyper-imaginative high school student beneath the narrative’s cover. This brings a unique and brilliant sense of comedy and the bizarre, with pretentious one-liners which would make sense in a murder mystery, but are hilarious when one considers it is merely a highschooler in love delivering them. Jordan uses the microphone to deepen his voice when speaking as his protagonist, only adding to the sense of importance and fancy he exudes. His varying accents are impressive, and add to the immersion as one can really picture each character as they enter and exit the proverbial stage. One excellent moment is when Jordan re-enacts a lesson on the eye - his voice effects, speed and the background music making us feel as if we are in a fever dream and get a glimpse into what sleep deprivation feels like.

A small drawback would be that through the voice effects and a lack of diction, the words are lost at certain points; as we are relying purely on Jordan’s speech to understand the story, this meant some details passed me by. However, this production turns what would ordinarily be the average gossip and juvenile circumstances of a high school into an exciting and intense drama, making the audience feel at the centre of a gripping, intoxicating old Hollywood movie.

The Final Approach demands attention, and deserves it too.

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Reviews by Eleanor Sumner

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sam is the campus outsider who takes on a case to expose a cheating partner but finds himself in a web of deceit, corruption and the incorrect disposal of kitchen waste. Obsessed by detective stories and film noir, Sam can't help but start digging when his long-term crush drops a case into his lap. As sleep deprivation sets in Sam struggles to hold onto reality and one supposed cheating partner leads to a seismic scandal systematically spread across campus. Using a combination of theatre, film, soundscape and radio Sam recreates the cinematic 'noirish' nightmare inside his mind.

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