It is hard to collectively review these plays as they were so different in both content and style; however as they are presented as a double act I will attempt to do so.
SALMON by Constance Eldon McCaig and Eva Lily is set in a small non-descript Scottish town and follows the disturbing and tragic circumstance of a disaffected youth, as he comes to terms with the guilt of the death of a friend, through a drug addled haze.
While I thought Josh Smith as the protagonist was a strong and emotive actor, I found it hard to decipher some of the script through his Scottish brogue and it made it quite inaccessible until your ear got used to the thickness of his accent.
I felt the piece had some interesting concepts, with the zoomorphism of those closest to him adding a surreal element (you were not sure what was real and what was not with the references to both extreme drug use and the understandable grief he was experiencing alongside this). What did not work for me was the actors repeatedly picking up each other’s sentences with a different narrative running concurrently, sometimes all four of them, as it was extremely hard to follow any one script thread and some of the actors were louder than others meaning the whole effect was disjointed and dizzying. Overall there were strong performances, Josh in particular, I found the piece disturbing and hard to follow.
The second play MOM BOB I found eminently more watchable; a one woman narrative performed by the writer Jane Hancock herself, was a moving and very engaging story of the pain and emotion experienced by a young woman giving up her baby for adoption through circumstance; then reconnecting with the child as a teenager years later. I think the writing was personable and very human and garnered a lot of empathy from the audience. I would like to see more of Jane Hancock‘s work.
Overall I found the evening artistically diverse and entertaining and I applaud this new young production company for showcasing new writing by female writers which is so often underrrated and overlooked. I gather they are headed for Edinburgh this summer and I wish them well.
Reviewed by Nicole Faraday
FOLLOW WEST END WILMA