Review: I.E.D

4*
Theatre N16
(This production has now closed).

Martin Mcnamara’s historical play ‘I.E.D’ follows the loss of composure of Army Notification officer, Captain Agnes Bennett and Private Iain Maginnis. It skillfully explores bereavement and ‘the enormous emotional toll’ of war. Mcnamara’s social comments are brilliantly embedded in sharp quips and witty exchanges.

I.E.D is director Rebecca Lyons’ first full length production. Her economical directorial style suggests elements of depravity and compliments the desolation of the play’s characters. Saffron Beck’s performance as Agnes is crucial as it is enchanting. She effortlessly conveys the turmoil and restriction of Bennett with tense posture and abrupt tone. A depiction that gave life to a multifaceted and repressed character.

The intimacy created by black box theatre reiterated the invasive nature of war. Having the audience surround the actors further enhanced the claustrophobic nature of bereavement. The small stage space was saturated with props which further complimented the theme of distraction.

The naturalistic style was punctuated by abstract monologues that broke the 4th wall to speak directly to audience members. Jordon Fyffe’s hauntingly unnerving monologue left an audience member stunned and noticably engaged. His performance as Pvt. Maginnis was inspiring. The range of tone and pitch in his voice effectively communicated the frustrations at the loss of self control within this character

The coming undone of characters was in correlation with their increasingly disheveled uniforms. The use of poppies, worn by actors, also signified the cyclical nature of loss and was very affective.

Lighting was used in a symbolic way throughout the piece. Clinical white light enhanced the dramatic yet unemotional monologues of Bennett. Maginnis’ emotive and passionate monologues were delivered under ambient red lights. This served to create a passionate mood and homoerotic atmosphere. The monologue stylistically illustrated the unlawful treatment of homosexual soldiers in army

Unfortunately the lengthy blackouts affected the pace of transitions. This was however helped by songs such as ‘Booty Call’ by All Saints which further exposed Bennett’s pursuit of ‘unemotional casual encounters’.

I.E.D was an insightful and thoroughly enjoyable production

IED

© L.Lashley 2017

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