Power, Bike Shed Theatre, Tuesday 29th May to Friday 16th June
By Jenna Richards
We’ve all be in that frustrating ‘computer says no’ situation – where we are dictated to by a bureaucrat who appears to relish the hold they have over our predicament.
Power, showing at the Bike Shed Theatre until Friday 16 June, speaks to every person who feels they have been pushed and pulled around by the faceless, unaccountable people who are running increasingly complex organisations.
Billed as a farce the play is about the effect of privatisation on all aspects of our lives and the managerialism that goes with the marketisation of essential services.
The play, written by Devon playwright William Santon, directed by Martin Harvey and produced by Fourstage Theatre, sees Gavin Dredge attending the offices of Intelligent Wellbeing Solutions to find out why his mother’s vital medication has been stopped and, more importantly, who took the life changing decision. But not only can’t the managers and staff find his file, they think he’s an anarchist or worse, a fraudster.
With just four actors playing seven characters the show must be exhausting for them. But the cast never missed a beat and the individual personalities of each character were both evident and believable. The character transitions were fantastically executed, with simple, on stage, costume changes marking the arrival of each character.
The excellently laid out set created three distinct spaces and the brilliant use of ‘doors’ allowed the action to move from one office into another.
Watching Gavin’s frustration and anger unravel as the increasingly farcical situation unfolded I felt that every person in the audience must be able to relate to his irritation at his ‘powerless’ situation on some level. But few of us would go to Gavin’s lengths to get answers – maybe we should!
I thoroughly enjoyed the production. Although found difficult to follow at times. I felt that perhaps the play would have benefited from a little less dialogue and still got its point across.
That said, it is a thought provoking look at the changes being made to heath and other provisions.
Power is an interesting comment on modern society and well worth a trip to the theatre.