Review: Lobby

By Amelie Lambie-Proctor

A scandal unfolding in front of your very eyes, Freya Williams’ play Lobby is an absolute treat to watch! With enticing political drama, fantastically written characters and an abundantly talented cast, this play will keep your pulse racing! Set in the lobby of a hotel opposite Westminster, the guest demographic includes a high number of political or politically involved figures, including MPs and journalists. The play follows the interactions of the guests with the two receptionists, led by the attentive and adored Kate, played by Ellie Mather. Eventually, all passers to the lobby end up entangled with one another, leading to a shocking, unexpected ending!

The audience are invited into the lobby itself when the curtain comes up. A desk, waiting area and conference room set the scene! One aspect of this play, that forms the very foundations of what makes it so wonderful, are the superbly written characters. Detailed and thought-through, all the characters have clear personalities, making them easy to understand and form opinions on. You are not left wondering who someone is and so, are seamlessly attached to the action. From the charismatic, and rather charming, Sir Toby Howe (Nick Lemieux), to the fierce and comical Journalist (Rosaleen Tite-Ahern), every character is distinguishable, none are similar! This makes for an exciting watch as there are many contrasting opinions, echoing the politics. Williams’ powerful characters are only one of the great parts of this play!

With enticing political drama, fantastically written characters and an abundantly talented cast, this play will keep your pulse racing!

All great characters need an even better narrative and again, Williams does not let you down! The plot of Lobby is exciting, comprehensible but most importantly, it is coherent. There is smooth, linear layout, and an order of events that is logical. This makes the story plausible, and so as an audience member, you are pulled into the action and it is effortless to suspend your disbelief! With a precisely constructed, believable chronology, Lobby is a great play to lose yourself in, you cannot help but want to know how this drama will unfold.

Comical moments are a key, and brilliant part of this play! Often found in the odd line or two, but possibly more prominently, in the actors’ performance skills. The presence of Tite-Ahern’s character, the Journalist, guarantees to bring laughs. She is a natural comic and the way she uses the tone of voice is fantastic and creates some brilliantly comical elements. The character dynamic between the Journalist, the Opposition (Eleanor Sumner) and the Front bencher (Raphael Kris) also brings smiles the audience. There is clearly something going on between all three of them, however, only one amongst three knows the full details! It creates some wonderfully funny moments when all three share the stage and they all play their characters faultlessly. Another character dynamic that also brings laughter to the play is between the long serving receptionist Kate, exquisitely played by Mather, who is in the process of training a new, slightly less professional but still passionate, employee Joe (Harry Threapleton). Although the two have a rocky start, the end up a great, and perhaps the most powerful team on stage.

Detailed and thought-through, all the characters have clear personalities, making them easy to understand and form opinions on

Another highlight, was the use of sound. Beeps were played to hide the names of some characters as performers spoke them. It kept in the theme of hotel’s motto concerning discretion, making the politicians seem even more shady than they came across. It would have been nice to see some more use of sound in transitions. There is some spoken dialogue played through the speaker, however, it took the energy away that had recently been created, which meant actors had to build up that energy again at the start of most scenes, which does create some dips. However, once the electric atmosphere is restored, the scenes settled back into their usual brilliant rhythms!

Lobby, is a fantastically written play. The unfolding scandal draws the audience in and is exciting and the actions taken by the characters to fight the injustice are inspiring. It is encouraging to see passionate characters that are willing to risk what they have for the greater good. The production team and cast have created an impactful piece of theatre, that will be hard to forget!

Image credit: Carrie Cheung, Pitch Productions

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