Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Temp/Casual - Spent Ambition, 24/7 Festival Manchester

Writer: Steve Timms
Director: Ben Power
Reviewer: Clare Howdon

Temp/Casual is the new offering by 24 7 veteran Steve Timms and it is currently playing as part of this years’ festival. This engaging, funny and heartfelt piece follows the lives of a group of University Graduates and how their bright eyed dreams and aspirations slowly start to fade away as they enter the soul-destroying and mundane existence of 9-5 work.

Actress turned office temp Susan and failed stand-up Comedian Adam find solace in each others’ arms as they seek any distraction from their day to day lives and struggling DJ Stick also faces the added challenge of dealing with his father’s slow and painful death. The only character who has achieved relative success in his career is the Poet Laureate for the ‘Loose Women’ generation; Martin, but even he remains lost and unfulfilled, realising that no job can ever really bring true satisfaction or happiness.

This piece deals with a lot of issues very relevant to our generation and it could have the potential to become a very depressing production. However thanks to the freshness and humour of Steve Timms writing combined with the energy and confidence of the 7-strong cast, the result is a very entertaining and thought provoking hour of theatre.

Kate Newton, Marlon Solomon and Leon Jan all deliver strong performances as the plays love-torn trio and Karl Dobby is particularly effective as Stick, managing to balance the comic and tragic elements of his character effortlessly. Isobel McArthur brings a subtlety and sincerity to the part of the naive and optimistic Amy and both Julie Chapman-Lavelle and David Corden offer a master-class in character acting and versatility as they successfully tackle an array of contrasting characters.

Ben Power’s slick direction and the effective use of a simple yet multi-functional set design combined with a rousing sound score and multi-media elements also add to this highly accessible production. This is a great start to the 24 7 festival; check out ‘Temp Casual’ before it finishes this Saturday.
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