Review by: Paul Towers, 17 February 2017
The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute
A Good Vibe Theatre Company production
Upstairs @ The Western, 17th February 2017
“savage indictment of art for art’s sake.”
Upstairs at The Western kicked off its offerings of drama this season under the new management with Neil LaBute’s savage indictment of art for art’s sake, here ably staged by this new Derby based A Good Vibe Theatre Company. This production has been entered in the National Student Drama Festival in April as part of Hull’s City of Culture events.
On a bare stage set only with five examples of art from the last 150 years nerdy, socially awkward Adam plucks up the courage to ask gregarious Evelyn on a date fully expecting her to turn him down. He can’t believe his luck when this vibrant, sophisticated, beautiful woman says yes. This sets in motion a series of events that will reveal temptress Evelyn to be the arch manipulative she-devil every man fears.
Adam is played by Jordan May as a plumpish, boring outsider who struggles to get a girlfriend while Chelsea Forde as the controlling Evelyn is a bright, sparky and soul-less devil-incarnate.
Alongside these eminently capable actors are Sarah Hartshorn as Jenny and Dalu Moyo as Philip, her boyfriend. This couple, Adams long time friends, are drawn inexorably into Evelyn’s web of deceit and treachery as she divides the friendship group to rule Adam
It is no coincidence that Adam and Evelyn are so named as LaBute draws on the temptation of Adam by Eve to illustrate his downfall as he is metaphorically lead around by his manhood and moulded into what Evelyn thinks society deems to be near perfect.
LaBute has created an intense and disturbing study in the misuse of power within a relationship
The cast dealt very well with a couple of scenery malfunctions and were not put off their stride. Cleverly choreographed scene changes made the most of Upstairs’ intimate stage and good lighting was use to good effect.
Should you get a chance to see this production grab a ticket. You will be entertained and disturbed in equal measure