Attic needs to be reshaped in order to get across more of a narrative arc, as at the moment the story is not clear. It seems like Meriel Hinsching is unsure as to what she wishes to say in her writing. At times her choice of words are too poetic and seem to have been thrown in without real thought. Added to this are technical decisions that don’t seem to make sense with the action. The lighting on stage changes at random throughout the scenes which disconnects me further.
Despite the convoluted mess, there are some interesting moments in the script. Leonie’s monologue has text that could have an impact, if only it was delivered with some effort. I can see Phoebe Stapleton’s reasoning to play Leonie as a timid figure that is mentally unhinged, but her mouse-like energy on stage is tiresome. The fan in the theatre is louder than the action on stage, and it seems like the laughs coming from the audience are sympathetic and from the cast’s friends.
Casting played a crucial role in the play’s failure, and the two actors do not have the ability to pull off the performances required. They have little stage presence and it makes for a dull viewing experience. I am shocked to see that they have spent three years training, as there are no inspired creative ideas nor is there an engagement with one another. There seems to be no connection to the text, and this potentially raw material is performed with an amateurish quality.
I really wanted to like this piece, but I simply couldn’t. Instead of being intimate it was inaudible, and at a short forty-five minutes the play felt rushed. It is irresponsible to market Attic as a play – right now it’s more like a spider diagram of various ideas that has been joined together without much thought. There is something about it that is intriguing, but a lot of work needs to be done.
Cast: Phoebe Stapleton, Connor Harris Director: Ed Theakston Writer: Meriel Hinsching Theatre: King’s Head Dates: 25th – 26th June, 2nd – 3rd July 2017