By Alice Butler
Bailey Theatre Company and Green Door Theatre Company have teamed up once again to put on their freshers play and it does not disappoint. ‘Pick Ups’ by Alex Broun is made up of a variety of different sketch-like scenes which shed light on the struggles of modern dating. Directed by Megan Ratcliffe, the show maintains a high energy throughout and is overall very enjoyable. The venue (a quad in the heart of St Chads college) was used very well and the atmosphere it created added to the charm of the production.
The cast works well together, and it is interesting to see them bounce off each other in differing scenes. There are occasional pacing issues due to the conversational structure of the script which demand very fast and perfectly timed dialogue. However, after the first couple of scenes the cast get into the rhythm of the show and do pick up the pace. Stand-outs include: Antoine Cothier, who captures the audience’s attention whenever on-stage; Haseeb Asad, who is able to switch from physical comedy to naturalism with perfect ease; Olivia Adderley who keeps the longer scenes engaging; Peter Houston whose still, dry comedy is a welcome break from some flamboyant scenes and Hala Heenan whose confidence on the stage shines throughout.
The lighting design and sound are quite basic throughout and there are a couple of pauses at the end of scenes before the blackout which holds the pace of the show. However, when the lighting is used in an effective way, it adds well to the comedic value of the play. The use of two white spotlights are used to show the inner thoughts of a couple meeting for the first time. The lighting here is timed perfectly by technician Benjamin Etheridge. The use of sound also adds to comedy with the recurring use of the ‘Wii theme’ to mark a certain character’s presence.
Certain additions to the script are effective such as Durham centred jokes and the end was particularly inventive. All of the actors come on out of character to give support to a character who was having particular trouble on the dating scene. This was well executed and created a high energy finish.
Overall the play achieves what it set out to be. It is not the type of theatre which establishes in-depth characters and themes, but it enables the audience to relax, sit back and enjoy. The whole production from start to finish is engaging and one not to miss if you’re looking for some light-hearted fun and entertaining theatre.
Bailey Theatre Company and Green Door Theatre Company’s ‘Pick Ups’ is playing 23rd-24th November, 7:30pm in Chad’s Quad/Leech Hall.