What Goes on in Front of Closed Doors

What Goes on in Front of Closed Doors is an examination of homelessness and the situations which lead to it which matches the pace of how those problems develop. The show goes from real, but fun, to extremely harrowing within a fraction of a second, to such a degree that you’re almost given whiplash. But if you can adjust your neck quick enough to catch yourself, you’ll treat yourself to a fantastic, deeply moving exploration of one woman’s long and difficult fall.

Lets you feel the whirlwind lifestyle of someone who has truly lost everything in a way that few things do.

Molly Brentwood’s story begins as one of a girl who’s uncomfortable with how hairy her arms are. She dreams of attending music school, and has the grades to do so when her mother suddenly dies, leaving Molly without any support network. The rest of the show examines the after-effects, as the combination of mental health problems and a lack of consistent work send Molly further down and onto the streets. To address such a serious issue with such a real tone requires an impressive performance, and Emma Bentley provides that in spades. She moves from the reserved quiet of an insecure teenager to showing the signs and the truth of a lifestyle that drains everything from you within the hour, and does it without showing any hint of artifice. It takes a lot to make you constantly sympathise with and understand someone who is actively destroying their life, but Bentley does this easily.

The other extraordinary parts of this show are the production values and the tech. The most notable, and the coolest part, are the cameras and monitors placed around the room. These stare down on the audience when they first enter, but are used to zoom in on objects of importance, show us another angle of a scene, or show us outside, important scenes or visuals. The lighting and sound are similarly fantastic, hitting the exact moments when they need to be hit, and supporting every scene beneath them. The props and set are also brilliant, showing us what a transient, placeless life looks like using suitcases and dark, dilapidated looking structures. These all combine to create an uncomfortable, weird atmosphere, that creeps in at times and somehow manages to feel normalised at others. At points the narrative flows almost too fast, and doesn’t give the audience the time to digest some scenes, but this is as much a positive as it is a negative. It lets you feel the whirlwind lifestyle of someone who has truly lost everything in a way that few things do. And that should be commended. 

Reviews by Miles Hurley


[BLANK] by Alice Birch and NYTP

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The Blurb

Molly is unpacking the in/consequential moments of her life. The un/usual, in/significant, un/interesting moments. But these un/remarkable moments brought about an un/remarkable change in Molly's life. At just nineteen years old, following the death of her mother, with deteriorating mental health, and no network of support, Molly finds herself homeless. From the team behind the 2015 Edinburgh success, To She or Not to She, joue le genre return to the Festival Fringe, working with Calum Finlay (National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida Theatre).

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