As we walked into the auditorium to find our seats, there was a screen at the back of the stage which had information on about Dr. Salvador Allende Gossin, who became president of Chile in 1970. This was useful, as it helped to place our minds to where they needed to be.
The play started with some videos showing Chile in 1973, and something to do with the killing of the president. I write vaguely as it was rather unclear as to what we were watching. Initially I thought it didn’t matter if I didn’t understand it, as it would make sense later, but unfortunately that never happened, and it would have been beneficial to have had subtitles to support the videos, especially as they appeared fairly-often throughout.
Towards the end of the first video came some music which flowed nicely from screen to stage. Francisco R Carrasco was playing under a spotlight, and it seemed to set the mood. His playing was spotless, and remained so throughout.
Unfortunately, once the actual scenes started, this is where things started to go downhill. Some of the acting was awkward to watch, and mostly felt unnatural. It came across that some of the cast weren’t fully sure on their lines, and stumbled a few times on delivery.
It was hard to establish any character relationships, apart from father and son played by Paul Max Alder and Curtis Watt. The rest of the characters were hard to place in relation to each other, and you found yourself feeling confused as to who was who and what was happening most of the time. So much so, that an audience member had her phone out to get a light source, so that she could look at her programme, to probably gain some sort of insight to be able to follow the story.
Scene changes were messy and stagnant, and often we were left with a black, silent stage waiting for the next scene to eventually arrive. At one point the light had come up when the stage hand was setting something down, and for a moment it seemed like she was part of the play.
There were certain scenes in the play which were supposed to be hard hitting, yet didn’t deliver. One instance seen a solider being ordered to shoot a child, and the struggle the soldier had in doing so. That sort of scene could be incredibly powerful, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and you were left emotionless and quite frankly, bored.
There were times when some characters went into monologues, and although somewhat interesting at first, they then went on for too long, and you found yourself willing the scene to end.
I do think this play had potential, but in my opinion, it was not yet ready to be performed. It felt as though the whole thing needed to become a lot tighter first, and perhaps edited to a shorter version.
I believe if you already have a knowledge of Chile’s past, then this play could probably resonate better with you than it did me, but I do think if it’s going to be played to audiences who probably don’t have that background knowledge, then more needs to be done to make the story clearer for everyone.
Regrettably, I would not recommend this play.
Reviewer: Sara Woodruff
Reviewed: 6th July 2017
North West End Rating: ★