A lift at full capacity is not what anyone could call comfortable at the best of times, and less inviting still is the idea of being trapped in said lift with no promise of escape and no real choice in companions. Of the nine characters trapped on-stage at Bedlam, we find a pair of bickering OAPs, two infatuated lovers, a lad's lad full of banter, a pompous professor, a silver-tongued Scot and her hypochondriac friend, and finally a bemused Spaniard, cheerfully looking on. Throughout the next hour, their interactions range from the banal to the wildly inappropriate as the characters collide in ever-increasing desperation.
The Lift is a great taste of new writing from Bedlam Theatre.
As our story opens, all nine are on their way somewhere, anywhere, from an unidentified building somewhere in town. All are stopped in their tracks and spend the next hour reeling between deliciously awkward moments punctuated by nervous humming, and scenes of disordered shouting. It was in these situations that the comedy was lost a little, as it proved nigh-on impossible to pick up on two or more arguments held in tandem in such a small space.
Of course, the setting itself demands that the majority of the action take place in about four square metres of stage, and this creates a challenge for director and actors alike. With excellent pace and comic timing, each vibrant character took the attention away from the constraints of the lift and towards its passengers. From an interesting concept, however, we don’t travel any further than the characters themselves. The storyline doesn’t really take us anywhere, and the humour only occasionally hints at originality. Some excellent performances do shine through- Nikola Mučkajev's hung-over BNOC is particularly odious, and is constantly shot down by Kelsey Griffin’s caustic one-liners, all of which made hers probably the only character with whom any of us would actually want to be stuck in a lift. A particular highlight was the mysterious Pablo, who at times would break into impassioned monologues in fluent Spanish, leaving his fellow passengers dumbfounded and the audience in reels of laughter. A swift comedy of misunderstandings, poor matches and fart jokes, The Lift is a great taste of new writing from Bedlam Theatre.