Lydia Housley reviews
I Think We Are Alone
I Think We Are Alone focuses on six characters, all at interlocking and overlapping moments in their lives. Two sisters, Clare and Ange, have not talked in eight years due to events that happened in their childhood. Josie, an overprotective mother, fails to come to terms with the death of her Father, focusing instead on what she thinks is best for her son Manny. Graham, a cab driver, mourns his wife and tries to fight the feeling of loneliness it brings.
Sally Abbot's writing is very accessible, and in equal parts humorous and meaningful, often reminding the audience that despite the subject matter of loneliness, death and loss, there is still humour in our everyday lives which should not be overlooked. Chizzy Akudolu (Josie) greatly contributes to the humour of the piece, skilfully balanced with moments of thoughtfulness and creating a figure we can all recognise our own mothers in. I did feel that the structure of monologue after monologue in places was somewhat overwhelming and tedious in places, so much so that when the dialogue scenes came, they felt like a breath of fresh air. Polly Frame (Clare) and Charlotte Bate (Ange) should be particularly commended on this point - despite spending almost the entire length of the play separate, their scenes together were electric.
A real highlight of this production is the set design (Morgan Large) and its stunning integration with lighting design (Paul Keogan). The core set consists of four large walls on wheels, each with a frosted perspex covering and LED lights in the base. These ‘walls’ are moved around the space to create a whole manner of different settings in a heartbeat, with the aid of Ella Wahlstrom’s often subtle but hugely effective sound design. The integration of these three elements are the real stand out factor; all contributions furthered the story telling and are never used without purpose or merely for aesthetics.
Going into this show and knowing the standard of work produced by Frantic Assembly, I had high expectations - which were met, but not exceeded. This is nonetheless, a different kind of show for Frantic Assembly, one which feels far more calm, thoughtful and reflective than some of their earlier work with its fast paced movement sequences. This is by no means a negative; the use of lifting and the Frantic style of physical theatre that we are used to are sparse, making it all the more effective when employed. The result is a piece which will likely resonate with many and one which is a testament to Frantic Assembly's ability to tell powerful stories with the simplest of means.
I Think We Are Alone runs at the King's Theatre until 22 February 2020.