On The Tracks is one of the many productions at Unity Theatre featured as part of DaDaFest, a festival aiming to make theatre more accessible for all. Lucy Hayward writes this particular play and as a registered severely sight impaired she has written it in a way to make it accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences without them having to rely on headphones or being incredibly close to the stage.
The play is simply a conversation between Robert and Ted, two men working the night shift on the railway. Their conversation reveals several dark truths about Ted’s life.
Neil Jacks plays Robert and he very much carries the show. He does a good job at keeping the show moving as best he can and he manages to show a great variation in his acting ability. James Parsons does a terrific job in the role of Ted, a quiet and broken elderly man, struggling with the process of grieving. The two performers portray their well written complex characters extremely well.
The play’s set design is very simple and set in a traverse setting. Jacks’ touch tour of the set before it began showed the level of detail that can be seen in such a simple set.
Although the play does tackle with some difficult issues very well, it does also begin to feel quite long. Not a lot happens in the play which makes it seem quite slow paced and the tone of the play remains very similar throughout. Most of the play has quite a sombre tone with moments of anger and great intensity. A little comedy would not have gone amiss during earlier moments of the play however.
On The Tracks demonstrates Hayward’s great skill in writing brilliant characters and that is to be admired. It is not often you see such fully fleshed characters on stage. Just more variety in pace and tone would have improved the play significantly.
Reviewer: Jacob Bush
Reviewed: 21st November 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★