New Diorama Theatre – ND2
Reviewed – 10th November 2017
“a gripping, black comedy with a talented cast”
The tenth anniversary showing of Mike Bartlett’s Contractions takes place in ND2, New Diorama Theatre’s rehearsal rooms complex on the former trading floor of J P Morgan. Offices, desks and computers are everywhere to be seen; you are truly in the heart of this 9-5 world, where the play is set.
In a series of increasingly tense meetings between ‘The Manager’ (Fifi Garfield) and employee Emma (Abigail Poulton), we witness Emma’s individuality crumbling at the hands of an anonymous corporation. As her boss begins to wreak havoc on her personal life, she is forced to commit unspeakable and slightly unrealistic acts, all in order to improve her sales figures.
The set is functional, alongside office equipment props, PowerPoint projections are used; absent characters on the wall and whiteboard illustrations remind us of the bleak situation Emma is in.
I loved the evolution of Poulton’s character; from eager, young, impressive office worker to something much darker. Coupled with Garfield’s portrayal of the scary and heartless monster of a manager, the pairing were a joy to watch.
Co-produced with Deafinitely Theatre, the performance is signed as well as spoken. It’s a gripping, black comedy with a talented cast and certainly is theatre for everyone.
Reviewed by Ciara Loana
Photography by Becky Bailey
is at ND2 until 29th November