Arts Reviews

‘Misorientation’ @ NNT Quarantine Season

Charlotte Smith

Written and directed by Alice Walker, this online play at the Nottingham New Theatre tackles the under-discussed issues that arise when childhood friends grow up, move away and broaden their horizons.

The play starts with first year university student Cassie’s (Tara Phillips) coming out and the differing and sometimes ignorant reactions of her school friends, her best friend Sam (Georgia Barnwell) in particular. The play then charts the events that follow through conversations between the group of friends, highlighting the importance of this moment to Cassie and how the reactions of others can make coming out so much more difficult for those who identify as LGBTQ+.

Walker, producer Skylar Turnbull-Hurd and the rest of the team have worked hard to highlight the prejudices still apparent around these issues by utilising their excellent cast of characters and perspectives

Walker takes on heavy-hitting subjects in this play including homophobia, biphobia, sexual assault and victim blaming, which are handled with delicacy and care. Walker, producer Skylar Turnbull-Hurd and the rest of the team have worked hard to highlight the prejudices still apparent around these issues by utilising their excellent cast of characters and perspectives. The actors showcase a range of reactions to Cassie’s news from Charlie’s (Charlie Basley – well cast!) support to Jo (Abie Whitehead) and Harry’s (Nadia Ealfi) ignorance.

The actors clearly worked well together, especially Phillips and Barnwell. The interaction between the two of them after a traumatising situation for Cassie was one of my highlights of the piece with both actors communicating their feelings and frustrations to us and to each other even through separate screens. The scene rightly highlights the awful feelings of guilt which our society puts on assault victims, and Phillips really makes you feel for Cassie as she tries to understand what has happened. Barnwell, whose character perhaps changes the most throughout the play, also portrays her characters range of emotions expertly.

The script flows easily throughout and this combined with the work of all of the actors makes the show natural and believable. Clearly much character work has been done to give each character defined and differing personalities and interests. A positive of a video call structure like this one is that you feel like you are in the zoom call with them all, and are then further drawn into the story. This prompts your own strong reactions to the conversations being had and I definitely wanted to speak up like I really was part of the call.

The show flows so seamlessly thanks to editor Rose Edgeworth, who wove the play between video calls and the more traditionally filmed scenes. The first note I took was ‘cool graphics’ as the title sequence is fabulous and fits beautifully with the work of poster designer Ace Edwards and Cecilia Alexander’s publicity material. Likewise, sound designer Em Rule expertly handled the many, many issues which we all know arise with zoom calls, with the sound of only one scene between three of the actors being slightly unnatural.

A positive of a video call structure like this one is that you feel like you are in the zoom call with them all, and are then further drawn into the story

To sum up, ‘Misorientation’ is a fabulous show, highlighting the prevalence of both ignorance and friendship at an age when we all discover much about ourselves and who we want to be. As Walker rightly writes ‘Nobody deserves an opinion on your life, except you’. However, I would still strongly encourage you to tune into ‘Misorientation’ at the Nottingham New Theatre tonight.

Charlotte Smith

Featured image courtesy of The Nottingham New Theatre via Facebook. No changes made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @misorientation.nnt via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.

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