Creative theatre is often found in the most unlikely of places, but you often don’t have to travel very far to find it. The Annex Theatre is the home of Theatre Group – the University of Southampton Students’ Union’s theatre society. This intimate venue is definitely basic in terms of facilities and technical advances, but it provides a blank canvas which creativity can certainly enhance.
In a fast-moving kaleidoscope, Love and Information by Caryl Churchill features more than 20 characters who try to make sense of what they know. Originally opening at the Royal Court Theatre in September 2012, the play is a compilation of seven sections, each with a number of scenes that range from less than a minute in length to a couple of minutes long. The seven sections of the play must be done in order, but the vignettes within each section can be done in whatever order the director wishes. This allows the director ample freedom to play with the storyline along with the themes and questions (s)he wants to highlight in a particular production.
The SUSU Theatre Group present an emotive and empowering piece of theatre which is full of enthusiasm and passion. It really is refreshing to see a group of such talented aspiring actors. Emily Bradshaw is particularly strong in her various roles and a natural on stage. Supporting performers Ellie-Rose Fowler and Flora Whitmarsh eclipse the majority of the rest of the cast with their clear diction and slick performances.
The element that lets this production down is the technical. It uses very basic lighting throughout, although there is plenty of opportunity to use lighting cues to enhance the play, and scene changes require more polishing and creativity. This production would feel more at home at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and I can really see it being a success in that environment. However, the commitment and passion for performing certainly shines through from the members of the SUSU Theatre Group – they create unique theatre for our community and provide great support for each other.
Love and Information is performed at the Annex Theatre each evening until 13 May at 7:30.