Reviews
view production photos

 

HAM & HIGH

The Ignorance – The Etcetera Theatre

With a cast of six and a one room set, Fortress Productions’ premiere production is a fine vehicle for the talents if its performers-come-producers and its fledgling writers.

Full of studied performances and high stakes, the show boasts the pleasures of a good story well told.

The debut of writers Declan Hill and Stephen Hancocks reveals a distinctive wit and a strong sense of what makes a dark drama. Social ambitions gone awry fuel an intriguing plot of botched theft and confused passions. The narrative itself is full of bluff and double bluff, revolving around three mini cab drivers’ curious decision to betray each other.

It all takes place in the firm’s office one fateful afternoon. In fact it is the set – a functional synthesis of desk, couch, magazines, telephones and wall maps – that is the real strength of this well honed production. Within these parameters the most mundane of happenings becomes intriguing.

The sense of claustrophobia builds as the room itself crumbles beneath the pressure of one dying body, a gun and a knife.

The performers are also perfectly cast. Sarah Strong makes a feisty Yasmin and an amusing foil to Abbey Stirling’s aspiring underling. Stirling’s seeming desire to please is enough to ingratiate her with the audience, while Ciara Dooley is transfixing as the class conscious Annie. What really convinces, however, is the complicity shared between all on stage.

Helena Thompson


FRINGE REPORT

The Ignorance

Verdict: High energy play
London - Etcetera Theatre - Dec 04
Fortress Productions

A high energy play from new playwrights that is full of double-crosses that are entertaining.

It is an enjoyable romp. This would make a very good first play indeed and it would stand up well on the Edinburgh Fringe.

The programme mentions that the three female actors and the writers came together to produce a vehicle for the girls. It is memorable and entertaining.

(c) Hils Jago 2004
reviewed Wednesday 8 December 04


THE STAGE ONLINE

The Ignorance

The last time I recall a story based around a ladies taxi firm was in the classic 1963 film Carry On Cabby, featuring the saucy goings-on at Glamcabs. Times have changed a lot since those cosier, safer days and it would be hard to imagine a more different scenario than this gritty, black comedy based in a decidedly unglamorous female cabbie’s.

All the violence here actually happens in the office itself, the catalyst being a ham-fisted attempt to grab the company’s takings, which pans out none too successfully. Such a menacing sceanrio requires convincing nastiness, of course, and as Malcolm, Frank Scantori certainly has that, though he lunges at his first victim with all the grace of a dart player before being shot by the seemingly demure, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth Belinda, played superbly by the wide-eyed Abbey Stirling. Being dressed like the fairy on the top of a Christmas tree hardly lends credibility to her role. On the other hand Yasmin (Sarah Strong), a hooped earringed chav with real attitude and a criminal bent, looks every inch the life-embittered character she portrays.

Of course when such dirty deeds are planned, double-crossing is the name of the game and there is certainly little honour among these thieves. Thieves plural that is, for as it turns out, everyone is in on the scam one way or another and no one is to be trusted.

Least of all, company owner Annie (Ciara Dooley), a feisty blonde definitely intent on having fun, who, for all her pretensions to be a class above the low-life around her, is just as ammoral as the rest.

The dark ending is also a largely familiar one but the journey getting to that point is still certainly engaging enough.

Derek Smith
Production information

By: Declan Hill, Stephen Hancocks
Management: Fortress Productions
Director: Dan Skili