There’s a lot going on in the world at the moment, isn’t there? So many stories needing to be told, so many national myths being rewritten, so much is constantly changing that any attempt to make a coherent artistic response feels futile. Mother and daughter duo, Stephanie Mueller and Josie Dale-Jones, know this to be all-too-true but rather than letting themselves get overwhelmed and paralysed by choice they use this as the starting point for their new show UNCONDITIONAL with some mixed results.
The pair succeed in capturing the confusion of the modern age
The pair blend fact and fiction in a playfully postmodern and self-aware style, frequently breaking the fourth wall and slipping in and out of character to comment on their attempts to make this show in the first place. Mueller and Dale-Jones are excellent character actors, easily evoking a variety of vibrant and believable characters before switching back to their storytelling personas. There’s something special about watching an actual mother and daughter performing together, the same shared gestures and subtle similarities add comforting warmth to a show that could easily be depressing and one-note given the subject matter but mercifully the duo avoid that trap.
While the pair succeed in capturing the confusion of the modern age, they end up tangled in the web of narratives they’ve spun, bringing in such a myriad of ideas, characters, plots and subplots that none of them succeed in making much of an impact. Ultimately the pair are a joy to watch as storytellers but unfortunately UNCONDITIONAL left me cold.