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Published on Friday, 19 August 2011

4 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
3-29 Aug, 11:10am-12:30pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

Largely based on interviews arranged by The Human Trafficking Foundation, and directed by Complicite Associate Catherine Alexander, Sold is a dynamic piece of theatre that explores the myriad forms of human trafficking.

Opening with a slick multimedia montage on the subject of the history of slavery, the piece never shies away from being informative and issue-driven. Political plays must walk a difficult line between education and art, but Sold navigates it expertly – skilfully grounding the factual content in well-rounded and believable characters.

The large and accomplished ensemble cast play a vast number of characters between them, and the interwoven stories are without exception engaging and well-told. All recent graduates of the Central School of Speech and Drama, the company is packed with young talent.

Seamlessly integrating some impressive multimedia and physical theatre, the piece utilises various techniques to tell the many stories. The episodic structure might not be to everyone’s taste, and there is a possibility that some may find it too information-heavy.  But the fast pace and constant switching between tales leaves the audience little opportunity to tire of the sometimes-harrowing subject matter, and the well-executed comic moments prevents the piece from becoming overly didactic.

Human trafficking has been a popular subject in theatre recently, making comparisons between such shows almost unavoidable. But Sold’s use of intercut scenes telling a collection of stories, coupled with the accomplished integration of a number of art forms, is sure to make it stand out.

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