Bump @ Three Minute Theatre, Manchester, 19 Jul
A church is the unlikely setting for an awkward reunion between two old school acquaintances in Bump, a new play from Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Young Writers graduate Laura Kate Barrow.
At the opening, an initially cool and distant Louise – a strong, dignified portrayal by Sarah Keating – wryly comments that “I was not a pleasant child.” Yet, as she warms up, she becomes the most likeable aspect of the play. In comparison to Louise’s stoic nature, Matt, played by Thomas Casson, brims with boundless energy. Both are faced with big decisions to make during Bump’s hour-long length.
Bump spends too much time pondering the lack of connection between the two characters beyond their shared education. Louise doesn’t want Matt there, while he doesn’t know how to connect with her. It takes a long time for us to realise why they’re in the church, leading to some prolonged silent periods on stage as Matt awkwardly mimes while trying to come up with conversation topics – perhaps these long pauses are a brave decision, but neither actor looks entirely comfortable with them.
The resolution, which comes out of nowhere, is neither entirely satisfying nor believable, given how odd a pairing this couple make – and it is perhaps too convenient and neat a solution to their problems. Keating and Casson’s chemistry, however, manages to elevate this moment to become almost convincing.
In Bump, Barrow has created an intriguing premise that, although flawed, shows potential for development. Her voice is becoming a confident one, characterised by some warm dialogue, which makes Bump an ultimately rewarding watch.