Review – Action at a distance

Action at a Distance

****

Zoo Southside

Until 22nd August (10:10am)

Action at a Distance tells the story of two strangers, whose paths intertwine after a meeting online. Chris (Rosa Caines) needs to make money fast and Josh (Dom Luck) seems to have a solution. If only it was that simple.

From a small American town, our cast address big moral questions. It’s the classic trolley dilemma – are some lives worth more than others? How do you choose? What about when it’s all happening somewhere out of sight and far away – does that make a difference?

Politics and morality are a big ask before midday. This play succeeds in engaging an audience before it’s second cup of tea, by introducing these huge concepts in such a human way. The value of lives, the morality of profiting from suffering, profiting from terrible deeds for good means it’s all there, but it’s not forced down our throats. What we’re presented with is, at its heart, three people in a small town in America, trying to do the best they can.

Writer Rory Horne has produced a smart and engaging script. It is paced well, twisting and turning at a gripping pace. The show is ably performed by a talented cast. Outstanding for me was the understated portrayal of Chris’s mother (Nina Cavaliero) with her persistent pessimism perfectly captured. The text itself was consistent but in itself not often exciting; the main strength was the plot. The staging was simple. There is even a printer onstage which prints without jamming – it’s bold to trust technology in this setting (!) but it’s a great touch which I’ve not seen used before.

The element of distance, a theme throughout, is smart – it’s a part of what makes the story work. We are distant, from all the news of overseas war and suffering. Where does that disconnect end?

For me there were moments which the script held too lightly – there was little visible distress considering the weight of decisions being taken. Scenes where there was external peril were introduced, an element of suggested surveillance, which was strong but never entirely resolved for me.

Overall, it was a compelling show and an impressive offering from this company, and began conversations which will continue on long into the night.

Action at a Distance is at Zoo Southside at 10:10am until 22nd August. Further details and tickets can be found here.

 

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