Bruises is an ambitious piece, seeking to cast a non-judgmental eye on the highly divisive topic of sex work. There is so much to admire in this play, which I believe makes a valuable contribution to a deeply sensitive dialogue. As a piece of moral philosophy, Bruises excels, unpicking questions of identity as its characters stare into the existential void. Yet the play is occasionally undermined by a lack of subtlety. Themes, metaphors and character traits are too often made explicit, making a piece that delights in the complexities of human interaction less satisfying than it should.
The Backward Fall is a thoughtful and touching play. It handles the effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s with great sensitivity, and I feel enriched for having seen it. A few unsubtle touches, coupled with a rushed conclusion, prevent the story from achieving its full potential – however the intelligent script and excellent performances certainly make this worth a watch.
Personals, a comedy musical about finding love through lonely hearts columns, was first performed in 1985, and technology has rendered it an unintentional period piece. I feared that the ubiquity of dating websites and applications might make the production rather old fashioned, but my doubts were misplaced. Ain’t No Other Productions’ heartfelt and joyous revival demonstrated just what an unsung gem Personals is. I found myself captivated as their rendition explored the timelessly bewildering process of attempting to form intimate connections with strangers, highlighting the vulnerability of its characters to both hilarious and poignant effect.