Will Eno’s Oh, The Humanity and Other Good Intentions is the centre piece of Northern Stage’s current ‘Festival of Humanity’, a fortnight of events described by the theatre as ‘the most interesting conversations you’ll ever be part of’.
Made up of five short plays, this is stripped back drama that is all about rich dialogue and big ideas.
Simply but slickly staged, director Erica Whyman allows nothing to clutter the telling of these short vignettes, and thus nothing to get in the way of their impact. They are unusual, certainly, particularly the closing piece Oh The Humanity, but also funny and tragic and truthful.
John Kirk, Tony Bell and Lucy Ellinson impress in all of the pieces; Ellinson in particular (who appears in four of the five) seems to morph into completely different people during the brief set changes.
How it works as a whole I left not entirely convinced, but as five shorts they are entertaining and thought provoking, and I imagine recognisable to all of us in the audience – in our different ways – about our fears and hopes.