DramaSoc returned with the award-winning The Flick to open the 2015-2016 academic year last night. There were some very interesting and dynamic moments in this performance for which the cast and production team should be praised for, especially with the plot’s aim in drawing interest and depth towards the mundane. However, despite the talent that went into this production, the adaptation itself did not instil much excitement.
The Flick tells the tale of three characters: Avery (Christopher Casbon), Sam (Alex McLintock) and Rose (Kate Lansdale), who work in an old cinema in Massachusetts. Over the course of the play, rather than a conventional plot development the audience learns more about the characters by watching them grow. In this way, the style of the work is very naturalistic, but perhaps too much so. There didn’t seem to be quite enough interest in the day to day lives of these characters to hold interest all the way through. That being said, there was an interesting theme that ran continuously between fantasy and reality, and the links to the cinema were well constructed. The script was witty and there were some lovely, comical moments in it, which the actors delivered confidently. However, the characters weren’t able to develop their depth as much as the story required; there wasn’t enough growth in the story and the actors would have made a bigger impact through more exploration. For example, we learnt very little about Rose; similarly, the story about Avery’s mother seemed to be disconnected with the rest of the plot. Perhaps the cut of the script could have been revised in a different way that would strengthen the impact of the three characters.
There were however some really strong moments during the performance. All the actors involved showed deep understanding of their role and they supported the naturalistic style of the play well. Sam’s feelings towards Rose were subtly revealed and the confession of his infatuation with her in the second act was carried out joyfully. Similarly the scene in which Rose and Avery stay to watch films together after work was captivating; the comical moments were well timed and both characters stayed engaged throughout. The representation of Avery’s mental health was also commendable, both in the writing and particularly in the performance; the scene where he is talking to his therapist on the phone was wonderfully delivered, and gave a much needed development to the character.
There were some elements to the direction which deserve applause. The space was exploited effectively and the set was simple but well-used, and constructed the image of a cinema masterfully. The positioning was well thought out and the characters were able to utilise this to support their expressions and movements. The use of the brush props a bit tedious after a while, but at the same time it successfully represented the mundanity of the characters’ work.
*The Flick is playing 9th-11th October at the Drama Barn, University of York.