Unearthed by Folio Theatre Company
6th May at the Wimbledon Studio as part of the Illuminate Festival.
(See here for my article on the launch night of the festival and other performances)
Unearthed is a new piece of writing by Alys Metcalf which tells the story of a codicil to a will, a to-do list which 2 estranged siblings have to carry out in order to inherit their fathers estate. It is a short play (just over 1 hour) but perfectly formed and ideal for the festival setting it appeared in.
The siblings are Ben (Jeremy Lloyd) and Eliza (Lizzie Stables) and the show opens with them on their 18th birthday, 10 years prior to when the majority of the action takes place. The script is well utilised at this point to show their age and also immediately identify a brother /sister relationship full of amicable teasing. This soon changes when we next see the characters, 10 years on with a more adult vocabulary and clear hostility between them. Despite the short length of the play there is plenty of chance for character development and by the end of the play you are really routing for this relationship to work. Both Jeremy and Lizzie play these characters with conviction and there is a natural chemistry with them so you easily believe their brother/sister relationship.
Whilst the above description may make the piece sound very serious there are certainly some great moments of light relief, nearly all provided by Simon (Edward Mitchell), the family solicitor responsible for ensuring the codicil is complied with. He has perfect comedy timing in not only delivering his lines but with body language and had me laughing out loud frequently.
Alana Ramsey, playing Daisy completes this small cast. It is her part in the story that I understand the least, how a relatively young girl at the beginning of the show ends up as such a vital part of the care plan for the siblings father. Her relationship with Ben, especially in one tense scene however is played out beautifully between Alana and Jeremy.
I must also mention the set. The play opens on an imaginatively designed set of cardboard boxes and a large piece of carpet. This set remains static throughout and is used effectively with all props and additional costumes being pulled from within the boxes. This set helps the action flow smoothly from one scene to the next, enhanced by simple lighting state changes and effective use of the cast when not involved in the current scene. The time simply flew by and I was engaged throughout this production.
Where to get more info on Unearthed –
Unearthed is on tour so would recommend checking out Folio Theatres website here to see when it comes to a theatre near you but with tickets at around the £12 across the country there really is no excuse not to try to catch it! I’m also excited to see what Folio theatre company bring next – if Unearthed is their debut production then they have set the bar very high for future shows.