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One Under
Published on Wednesday, 24 August 2011

3 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
3-14, 16-22, 24-29 Aug, 12:45pm-1:45pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.
 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Devised from the testimonies of Tube travellers, One Under offers an insight into the world of the London Underground, exploring the inner thoughts of four fellow passengers and the extraordinary and everyday moments that shape their lives.

A young mum next to her dozing husband and a stylish blonde woman silently judge each other, as an insecure American and an older man reflect on their lives. The characters are all well-developed, and performed ably by the young cast, who portray the range of ages with ease. Being essentially a series of monologues, the company work as an ensemble to illustrate certain moments physically, though some of those interludes are more successful than others. 

The script is funny and touching, with the characters slowly revealing their deepest hopes and fears – each silently and separately longing for a moment of human connection.  But the show suffers a common pitfall of devised pieces, in that it lacks a solid dramatic arc. Certain moments were impressively well-crafted – so with a tighter structure and perhaps a little trimming, it could be developed into a powerful show.

The use of space was a little clumsy at times, and the piece could benefit from some directorial input, to develop some of the weaker areas and tidy up the stage picture.

One Under is a thoughtful piece with a great deal of potential. There is obviously a lot of talent within the newly formed company PartingShot, and the show had some excellent moments. With a little development it may become something special.

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