Set against the backdrop of a city consumed by riots, our time is spent split between two pairs: the dysfunctional Challengers, husband and wife and the struggling Jones’, brother and sister. Inevitably the pairs collide but the truly engaging material comes when we focus on their separate lives.
The Challengers are Marcy (Charlotte Ellis) and John (Tom Turner). Marcy is a ladder climbing radio reporter and John is a coulrophobic police officer taking a break from life after a humiliating experience on the job. Whilst Marcy is putting up with crumby assignments in order to get ahead, John is at home sampling the delights of the internet.
The Jones’ have similar commitment conflicts but their issues run deeper and are more immediate concerns. The family Chicken store business is at risk and it’s at a time when the family need to pull together. Finley’s (Jack Maurice) solution is to knuckle down and work hard, whilst Angel’s solution is to get wrapped up in her phone, her new boyfriend, just anything that isn’t the business.
Dome Rowe’s script is clear, snappy and presents valid arguments and realistic, human characters you know or at the very least care about. Whilst some of the Challenger’s dialogue feels a little contrived, both Ellis and Turner play for the stakes of their characters and entirely convince as two characters on very different paths.
Both Jack Maurice and Katy Sobey are at the heart of the play as the brother and sister team up against it. Their relationship is dynamic, tempestuous but ultimately robust and is driven by the strong bond that comes with such solid foundations. Rowe carves a charming and multi-faceted journey for both actors and they take full advantage of the license given.
Director Hannah Drake makes the most of the script, weaving physical action with some of the more dialogue heavy scenes with great skill. Natalie Remington’s set takes us out of the theatre and places us firmly in the action with a very busy but never over whelming set that suits the action perfectly.
Whilst Product Displacement doesn’t necessarily add new arguments to the arena, it skilfully invites us into the world it portrays and is another fine example of why the South West is a hot bed of talent and places Edible Theatre firmly on the map.
PRODUCT DISPLACEMENT by Dom Rowe
Rondo Theatre, Bath