REVIEW: POSSIBILITIES (Theatre Utopia) ★★★★
This performance is the second production by the Misprint Theatre which comprises Katherine Carlton and Jamal Chong, both of whom are credited with sharing the writing of the Possibilities script as well as starring in the play. Jamal is also credited with actually owning the Theatre Utopia building.
This is a short play lasting less than an hour, with a cast of two. It tells the story of the couple between break up and originally meeting and between love and friendship. The story occurs in reverse chronological order meaning you know the effect is before before you are aware of the cause. Each scene lasts three or four minutes and the scenes are delineated by a whooshing sound and a temporary dip in the lighting.
There are no scene changes just the whoosh, the dip in the light and the actors rearranging the occasional chair.
It is somewhat surprising that the reverse chronology actually manages to explain the break up of their relationship quite well. One slight criticism is that you do tend to find your self considering whether the chronology actually works and whether it makes sense within that moment of time. Or maybe that is just me.
It is a story everyone can relate to. It is both interesting and funny, sad and wry. The script is nicely written, and is a credit to Katherine and Jamal’s creativity.
Katherine Carlton is a fine writer and a good actor who’s character is called upon to be rather shrill at times, during the play. This means that her part rather lacks any warm empathy with the audience. Katherine is a very experienced actress considering her youth. She is probably best known for two films, Mr.Wilson (2013) and No Benefits (2014). Jamal Chong has been in a number of the Croydon Youth Theatre Orchestra productions including West Side Story and The Kids Are Not Alright. He is a fine, much praised, confident actor and plays the guitar rather well too.
The theatre is located adjacent to a very nice cafe and bar and is said to be the last independent theatre left in Croydon. It’s avowed aim is to encourage new writing and theatrical work which is a laudable aim.
I would urge anyone local to support this rare and precious utility. Pay it a visit, even if only for a coffee and a snack. You will not be disappointed.
Reviewed by Graham Archer