The Other Room Theatre Company at Porters Bar in Cardiff are proving, yet again, how exciting the arts scene in the city has become and how it continues to foster new talent. As part of their second season, entitled Blue Sky, they are giving the stage over to carefully selected new companies and artists in a scheme they are calling Your Room. This comprises of three weeks of scratch, or ‘work-in-progress,’ performances. The project is driven by an air of experimentation with the companies and artists using post-show Q&A sessions to receive constructive discussion and audience feedback to develop their work.
It is in this spirit that I write this piece: I am hesitant to call it a review as such. Itch by Miriam Elin Jones treats us to a very funny show of the pressurised ‘third date’ situation with Fi (Naomi Steele) and Mêl (Huw Blainey). They make no bones about what they expect from one another, it has been three dates after all!!! The fun starts when Mêl, on the verge of being in the throes of passion, gets a shock to find Fi’s unkempt unmentionables; something that he has no problem expressing an issue with.
The script is quite lively and very funny throughout. However, I wonder if all the dialogue is needed. It might be worth expressing some of the feelings of these characters with a more suggestive air. A play around with the sexual physicality that underwrites the script and the comic timing within these potential moments may prove valuable.
Behind the humour the play cleverly looks at some men’s expectations of women in specific situations: their level of personal grooming in preparation for a sexual encounter. It might be interesting if the script were to explore the flip side of this also– perhaps a second act with the positions reversed.
Both performers impressed with their high level of energy and commitment to the physical comic moments of the play. Director, Carys Jones has kept the staging simple which works very well in the space. Again, I think it would be worthwhile looking at where the physicality of the script can be stretched to create some awkward comedy moments (pregnant pauses, eye-contact between performers etc).
This ‘scratch’ performance is on its way to being something special and I would watch out to see how it develops in the future.
Itch by Miriam Elin Jones
Directed by Carys Jones
The OtherRoom, Porters, Cardiff