Writer: Davey Anderson
Director/Choeographer: Neil Bettles
Reviewer: Clare Boswell
The Public Reviews Rating:
The Static by ThickSkin Theatre Company was a resounding success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival receiving a string of 4 and 5 star reviews. The company have now embarked on a nationwide tour and have still managed to maintain the energy and momentum that appealed to audience members and critics alike during the summer.
It is difficult not to be fully and immediately immersed into the world of ‘The Static’. Write Davey Anderson has successfully merged a rather traditional ‘coming of age’ story with mind bending concepts and theories including cosmic ordering, teenagers with magic kinetic powers (think Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ on acid) and hallucinatory medication. Dialogue is fresh and exciting and Neil Bettle’s pacy and imaginative direction complements this trippy piece beautifully. Bettle’s choreography is also relevant, engaging and perfectly executed by the four-strong cast.
Performers have the tough job of bringing the many streams of this story together and all deliver with tangible passion and vigour. Brian Vernel plays the central role of Sparky, a young disaffected youth who the adult world are desperate to label with ADHD in an attempt to explain his rather bewildering behaviour. Vernel is entirely convincing throughout and displays a strong connection with love interest Siouxsie (performed effortlessly by Samantha Foley). Nick Rhys and Pauline Lockhart showcase their versatility skills clearly highlighting another important message of the piece; a dysfunctional mental state is by no means solely the prerogative of the young.
Thickskin also has to be commended on an excellent set design. A simple set of lockers are manipulated expertly by the cast to convey various locations and an extremely impressive multi-media and lighting design by Simon Wilkinson further heightens Thick Skin’s outstanding theatrical concept and work seamlessly with the lightning-fast dialogue and performances.
ThickSkin are certainly a company to watch. ‘The Static’ is a uniquely explosive and mesmerising production and one which is very deserving of its recent success.