Directed by Lee Clotworthy, Imaginarium Young Actors present Class, a story of school politics, popularity and the personalities people have in front of others and behind the screens which are ever present in our lives today.
Playing out over a lunch hour, the class council are holding the election for their new President. They are all hungry and want to get out of there, but there seems to be no end to the campaigning. Chloe (Hannah Aspinall), the sister of existing President, Abbie (Bethany Redgrove), is promising fun and the continuation of the old order. Oli (Aidan Maj), on the other hand, is offering many drastic changes; but how is he pulling it all off?
In a room full of young people constantly looking at their mobile phones, it quickly becomes clear that everyone has their own agenda and no-one can be trusted. With one thing being said on the screen and something quite different being said out loud, will progress win the day or will Chloe preserve the status quo?
The play opens with a short interpretative dance during which the illusion of a school is cleverly created with choreographed movement of desks and chairs.
We quickly see the campaigning spirits of Oli and Chloe. Oli has a fawning character and kisses up to everyone. Anything they ask for is promised without hesitation and he is all smiles and winks.
Chloe and Abbie are from a well off family while the other characters are from poorer backgrounds, particularly the straight talking Jason (Francis Brack). The clash between different social classes and the opinion that life is easier for people from richer backgrounds is a very strong theme in this production.
Lighting is cleverly used to represent use of mobile phones. The narration of messages the characters are sending provide an interesting insight into the thoughts and feelings of the characters as well as the various underhand dealings.
This is a two night show at the Unity and consideration of vocal projection should be given during tomorrow’s performance. There were some occasions when some actors could not be heard, particularly when others were moving around on the stage.
This is an interesting show which explores themes of social class and gender issues. The theme of politics is particularly interesting at the moment and some of the behaviour of the candidates very much reflects the current political climate.
As the inevitable chaos descends and name-calling and backstabbing take the front seat, shouts that the council are supposed to be sensible and not behaving like a bunch of kids gets a particularly big laugh as it is tragically relevant today.
The performances of the unfeeling and snobbish Abbie and Jason’s mature and frank attitude are particularly strong. The chemistry between all of the actors is excellent and the atmosphere of a school is created through the connections the actors have to each other. The character Sol (Zachary Lowe-McAlley) is also brilliant in his comical performance which provided a lot of light relief in a play which explored some very serious issues.
Class is being performed at the Unity again on 29th March 2019. Tickets are available here https://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/basket/867-class-19.html
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 28th March 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★