A&E @ theSpace @ Venue45
Though not quite so undeliberate as to be deemed an accident, A&E could possibly do with an emergency rewrite
In a festival teeming with NHS-centred shows produced by theatremakers who have conducted a wealth of varied research and carried a clear reason for the existence of their work, the overall direction of A&E from Queen Mary Theatre Company, is highly questionable. The show was devised with junior doctors, but this somehow gives it no particular sense of clarity, substance, or authenticity. A series of typical scenes that take place in different areas of a hospital’s accident and emergency department, and most scenes are uncomfortable for everyone in the room, owing to the fact that they are intended to be comical but repeatedly miss the mark; meanwhile, the ensemble’s awareness of this is sharp.
The purpose of more than a few scenes was staggeringly undefined, and although it may seem uncharitable to expect a show not built around a traditional narrative format to give each scene an explicit purpose, it is no good to be too distracted by one’s own confusion to focus on what is taking place on stage. Despite playing to a full house, energy levels were noticeably inconsistent across the board, as was acting ability. There is certainly some talent on display, however self-conscious, but the scenes where we get this relief are few and far between. Congratulations are owed to whoever is responsible for the clever song-writing around which one early scene revolves. It is only a shame that the same amount of care was not taken in the script.
The concept is promising, but the piece is ailing in its execution. The good news is that there is potential for it to be saved, but that may take National Health Service levels of commitment to pull off.
A&E, theSpace @ Venue45, until 24 Aug, 5pm, £8.00 (£6.00)
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