Tuesday, 4 August 2020

"Monkey" by Jake Levy &
Libby Horobin
Nottingham New Theatre Youtube.
While theatre as we know it is still a distant dream, Nottingham New Theatre have been producing socially distanced online theatre. Befitting of the current situation and using the situation as a basis for the story line, this latest, written by
Jake Levy
and
Libby Horobin
uses a Zoom "pub quiz" as a way to keep that human interaction. What starts off as an online quiz, spirals into something completely unexpected.
Ava (
Eloise Dooley
), Danny (Charlie Bellwood), Sean (
Joe Butler
), Nicky (
Oliver Binns
) and Des (
Reilly Enzo Salmon
) get together for the quiz wher Nicky, the quizmaster starts to pose a set of tailored questions especially for the group. One question really gets under the skin of one of the zoomers and they leave the zoom session. The domino effect takes hold when truths come out, leaving just Des and Danny on screen.
This is where we discover that one of the pair has an addiction that looks to be spiralling, with the other showing concern for the other, but is the result tough love or does he cave in?
Filmed by Josh Spear, there are the zoom shots as well as an outdoor sequence, where we get to see some lovely scenery the University grounds offer.
The sound, at times, I was at times wrestling with, and I'll tell you why. The first time I watched this piece, I thought that it needed some further sound equalising with the Zoom sessions. And then I thought, well, no it doesn't because that is what the sound is like with this form of media and it is naturalistic with some of the distorted sound.
Watching "Monkey" is like eavesdropping on a group of friends getting together and then finding out something you were not expecting to hear, and I liked that element of the piece.
Obviously with this being a new piece of writing, I didn't know what to expect, and that is what makes seeing new pieces of theatre and writing like this a particular treat, feeding my hunger for new writing.
All five actors do not feel like they are performing for the camera and are completely natural, especially with the banter, crude jokes and references.
What I also noticed were, and I don't know how well they were intended by Director
Jake Levy
and Shadow Director
Rachel Coussins
, the silences. These can be used to wonderful effect, and were in this production, to create that slightly uneasy and embarrassed space, and I really liked that with "Monkey".
"Monkey" was well edited and, again gave a very natural feel to the 28 minute piece of online theatre, by Caetano Capurro and Charlotte Smith.
As well as co-writing "Monkey",
Libby Horobin
also produced the piece.
The ending, with its' outdoor sequence used a piece of music I didn't recognise, but sounded like it would not be out of place in some Italian spaghetti western, adding a slightly dangerous edge to the action.
One other thing I noticed was just how tidy the five "gaffs" were in the Zoom sequences. The joy of Zoom and Skype eh?
"Monkey" can be viewed on Youtube on Wednesday 5 August at 7.30 and you can reserve tickets via newtheatre.org.uk.

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