By Malin Nilssen
I enter the Drama Barn to the smell of smoke and the sound of a female rapper producing a chill ambience. As I round the corner I feel as though I have walked into a student flat after everyone has left a party. This set the tone well for the cacophony of emotions and outbursts that were to follow in four people’s drunken, late-night talks.
After a while, the play starts to feel like an extended sketch. I do not mean this in a negative way: it’s like someone took a great sketch and gave it more depth, life and meaning. The play is well-written and was executed brilliantly. There are so many elements to the story which capture you, making you crave more, yet move back and forth between the situations, creating a suspense that gives the play life.
The actors bring you into the sphere of their emotions, with loud reverberating voices, superb mannerisms and a wonderful sense of timing. The father, Jim, is played by young Patrick Walker, but has such good mannerisms that by the time he’s been onstage for fifteen minutes, you only see a middle-aged man. His daughter, Jess, an embarrassed annoyed character, is excellently played by Abby Coppard, emanating a real sense of frustration. In general, the actors bring the emotions of their characters to the fore, and the combination of them all sparks through the room.
The play touches on a lot of important topics and shows well how difficult they can be to understand, accept and handle. There is a generational gap that is well portrayed, which includes humour, confusion and relatability. The world is too complex for all generations for different reasons, adding existentialism to the plot – existentialism brought on by the complexity of the world and the simplicity of being shallow.
The Acid Test is a play about late-night conversations between insecure, drunk young women and a relatively conservative but surprising father who has a tricky relationship with his daughter, which features a lot of well-performed cringiness and awkwardness in a mix of humorous, emotional, deep and light-hearted musings. The Drama Barn convincingly turned into a London flat, with excellent use of lighting, decorations, smells and sounds. This play captivates your senses, leaving you feeling satisfied yet pensive at its end.