I feel this is worthy of a blog entry before I launch into this weeks music and comedy. I went with my husband to the Live Theatre (Newcastle Quayside) to see the preview performance of Nativities, by Zoe Cooper. Zoe graduated from Birmingham University in 2010 with an MPhil in Playwriting. She has written for Nabokov, Theatre503, and the Tristan Bates Theatre and worked with the National Theatre Studio and the RSC Studio. She came to the attention of the Live Theatre in the 2010 New Writing Festival. I know all this because a free copy of the script came with the programme,and contained all this information. In their words “Nativities is a darkly comic new play set in the world of petty office politics, designated smoking areas and the cheeky pint after work.”
I was struck by the design of the stage set when I took my seat on the balcony. Balcony seats at the Live Theatre give a great view of the stage. This is not a big venue. Small and perfectly formed. In front of us was an office, with a suspended ceiling distorted in a way that one is given an impression of a long call centre. The cast gave an impressive performance, I don’t want to say “for a preview night” but it was. All are seasoned stage actors and some are recognisable from their television work, for example Melanie Hill.
At times I was screaming inside “for goodness sake! Listen to what the other person is saying!” The story centres around things that are unsaid, unheard, ignored and hidden. The conversations are sometimes frustratingly one sided, with a character desperately trying to get something out. There were substories and subtexts in the play, villains, fools and heroines. My slow brain took a while to work out what at happened in the end, but trust me, it does make sense. I came away still playing the various parts over in my mind. Issues raised in the play did affect me, there was no helpline. I do recommend you go.
The bar and lounge areas in the theatre are very pleasant for an interval drink, order yours in advance to avoid the queues.
The play is running until the 3rd March. On Sunday 26th March at 4pm is a £PWYC (Pay what you can) performance, tickets on sale the Friday before, a maximum of 4 tickets per transaction.